The VECTOR Foundation is a non-profit
organization whose mission is to help develop and fund innovative programs
at the SC Department of Juvenile Justice. The Foundation provides quality,
consistent volunteer services to meet an abundance of needs. Our ultimate
goal is to significantly reduce the rate at which young people return to DJJ
after leaving the Juvenile Justice System.
Working closely with DJJ Administrators and staff to
achieve common goals, VECTOR Members strive to provide quality training,
rehabilitation and educational opportunities to these children from all over
South Carolina who are in great need of assistance in bettering themselves.
Each year VECTOR funds and staffs programs that have seen many young lives
changed for the better.
As passionate as we are about its purpose, it is not
possible for those of us involved in VECTOR to fund all of this work. We
need help from volunteers and from donors – including donors of supplies -
to achieve all that VECTOR aims to accomplish in lives of these troubled
young people. We each have a lot on our plate – but so do these youths.
Each of them is at-risk for remaining part of the Juvenile Justice system if
we are not able to find the means to change their lives.
For example, the Young Craftsman/Young Craftswoman program
reaches about 100 young offenders each year. With the guidance of their
volunteer mentors, these youths improve their reading and math skills while
building Adirondack chairs, the sale of which contributes to restitution
funds. These young people are both learning to cooperate with others and to
take pride in their personal achievements. While they build chairs they are
also developing up skills that will be invaluable to them after they leave
Programs supported by VECTOR improve lives in a variety of
ways: they learn sewing skills while producing items useful on the Broad
River Road Campus and they learn to refurbish computers provided to children
in foster care while gaining skills that are useful in the work world.
VECTOR provides numerous opportunities for therapy to troubled teens,
including sponsoring the first-of-its-kind Scouting troop “behind the
fence”. Finally, from the beginning we have provided scholarships for
youths who complete their time at DJJ and want to continue their education
by attending colleges or universities in the state.
VECTOR’s efforts are targeted to
addressing the four discouragements common to young people who wind up in
Discouragement of Alienation – We recruit mentors who replace the gangs and
false friends used to fill the void left by inconsistent or missing family
Discouragement of Failure – We provide chances for these children to become
involved in new activities, gain new skills and become successful.
Discouragement of Irresponsibility – Our volunteers create a base of
on-going interaction that allows these young people to develop a sense of
secure autonomy and a personal responsibility we hope will follow them once
they return home.
Discouragement of Selfishness – VECTOR mentors and volunteers nourish
the natural desire of children to help and care
for others so that they develop a sense of their own value to their
Our efforts extend beyond the direct
support of these children to the adults who work with these children behind
the fence and in their home communities. In 2005 VECTOR began by offering a
scholarship for a DJJ Corrections Officer going back to school to learn more
about their profession. This year we added a couple of scholarships which
opens the support to include DJJ staff in communities around the state.
hope that you will be able to support our efforts and this wonderful
organization. Please contact us for more information about VECTOR programs
and the children they benefit. You may send contributions to VECTOR
Foundation at the address below.
thank you in advance for your generosity in supporting our work.
Programs Supported by VECTOR Foundation and its Volunteers
Young Craftsmen and Young Craftswomen
These programs reach about 100 young offenders each
year. With the guidance of volunteer mentors, participating youths can
improve their reading and math skills while building Adirondack chairs. The
chairs are then sold to provide restitution funds and funds to replenish
supplies for more chairs. Young Craftsmen/Craftswomen are learning both to
cooperate with others and to take pride in their personal achievements.
While they build chairs they are also developing up skills that will be
invaluable to them after they leave DJJ.
This VECTOR-sponsored program refurbishes donated computers which are
provided free to children in the foster-care system, to former DJJ youth who
are college bound and to create computer labs within the DJJ system.
Participation in the Computer Buddies program is by application and
interview only and participants are treated as they will likely be treated
within any employment situation they may face in the future. They are
taught useable computer-related and business skills, are given real and
meaningful projects to complete and are held accountable for attendance and
VECTOR provided two commercial-grade sewing machines for use at DJJ. Girls
and boys alike learn practical skills that allow them to create items useful
to everyone at DJJ (gym bags, totes, curtains and clothing) while gaining
personally useful skills (reading patterns, attention to detail, planning
and patience) for the future.
A new program has been introduced to the DJJ population: tile-making. A
talented tile artist is leading a group of young people through the tile
making process from which come decorative and useful tiles. The
independence and achievement experienced by program participants carries
over into their behavior and school work.
VECTOR Foundation funding helps DJJ bring therapeutic horses and riding
instructors to the Broad River Road Campus. For young people facing
emotional or mental challenges, the discipline, companionship, and routine
of the partnership between horse and rider helps promote self-esteem,
patience, and confidence. Virtually all participants, with or without
special challenges, find that horseback riding fosters independence, and
provides mental, physical, and emotional rewards.
Reintegration Support for Young Offenders
SC DJJ received a grant from the US department of Justice to develop a
program that creates a reintegration team consisting of staff from state
agencies who have traditionally provided services independently from each
other and community volunteers who are trained to provide youth and family
mentoring. This team is created to plan for aftercare from the moment a
young person is placed into the DJJ system and works to ensure that both the
child and the family are cared for. VECTOR volunteers are members of the
reintegration team and the Foundation helps provide furnishings and fixtures
when housing has been acquired so that young people in need have the ability
to successfully live independently.
Support for Students going to Higher Education
The Foundation has traditionally offered scholarship support to young people
leaving the DJJ community and pursuing their post-secondary education.
VECTOR has also provided funds for books and supplies.
Scholarships for Advanced Studies for DJJ Staff
In 2005 VECTOR offered its first scholarship
for Juvenile Corrections Officers at DJJ pursuing four-year degrees and
advanced degrees in counseling and youth-related social services. In 2006
VECTOR expanded the program to include social workers and community staff
within DJJ. The Foundation offers up to three competitive scholarships that
will reimburse recipients for education expenses of $1,000.