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United Way of the Midlands receives nearly $158,000 from Richland County Government to fund Resiliency Team pilot program at Watkins-Nance Elementary School

Columbia, S.C. (November 13, 2019) – United Way of the Midlands, through funding of nearly $158,000 from Richland County Government, will launch a second Resiliency Team as part of its Resilient Richland initiative at Richland School District One’s Watkins-Nance Elementary School.

“With our first Resiliency Team in place, we’re excited to extend the social and emotional support the team is providing to another local elementary school,” said Sara Fawcett, United Way of the Midlands President and CEO. “Our partnership with Richland One has been long standing and we look forward to continuing our work with Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon and Principal Dr. Linda Norton. We are incredibly grateful for Richland County Government’s support and belief in the power of building resiliency.”

United Way of the Midlands currently supports Richland One’s families and students by providing access to dental care through WellPartners Dental Clinic, establishing the Midlands Reading Consortium (MRC) in 10 of the district’s elementary schools, supporting summer reading camp programs for third graders, affordable afternoon childcare through the Boys and Girls Club and providing emergency financial assistance for struggling families.

“Our students already have a strong foundation at Watkins-Nance with caring teachers, administrators, parents and a community dedicated to their academic success as well as their emotional and social well-being,” said Richland One Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon. “This Resiliency Team will provide them with additional support, resources and skills to make them stronger as they grow and learn and pursue their goals.”

United Way has partnered with Communities In Schools to assist in the hiring of the Resiliency Team members.

“We are fortunate to have a relationship with United Way of the Midlands, Richland One and Richland County to build lasting relationships across communities and help address the critical needs of youth”, said Tanika Epps, Communities In Schools of the Midlands CEO. “The way we see it, every individual student achievement adds up to the kind of change that supports schools and strengthens communities. We are excited to support Watkins-Nance Elementary and help children overcome personal obstacles that keep them from success.”

Resilient Richland aims to by reduce the stigma of trauma and equip individuals and organizations with information and skills to build resilience among children and youth who experience traumatic incidents, referred to as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), during childhood and teen years. These include physical, verbal, sexual abuse, and physical or emotional neglect.

Based on research provided by Children’s Trust of South Carolina, 67 percent of people living in Richland County – approximately 212,000 adults – have experienced at least one ACE and 14 percent have experienced four or more. People who experience four or more ACEs are vulnerable to poor health outcomes as adults including heart disease, stroke, cancer, COPD, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and suicide.

The Resiliency Team includes a behavior interventionist and a social worker. The interventionist will be based at the school and be available to provide immediate support to children exhibiting disruptive behavior and ideally prevent disciplinary responses that can re-traumatize the child while at school. A social worker will be based in the community to provide case management and connect families to resources in the community based on specific needs.

The funding received will provide a resiliency team at Watkins-Nance for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. An event will be held Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 10 a.m. at Watkins-Nance Elementary School located at 2525 Barnhamville Road, Columbia, SC 29204 to introduce the Resiliency Team to the community. News media and local community members are encouraged to attend.

In addition to the support from Richland County Government, Resilient Richland has also received support from Children’s Trust of South Carolina, Nord Family Foundation and Sisters of Charity Foundation.

To learn more about Resilient Richland, visit


About United Way of the Midlands

United Way of the Midlands is the most collaborative, efficient and accountable model for investing in the improvement of the Midlands community. With 65 Community Impact Partners, United Way works to identify and respond to the critical human service needs of Calhoun, Fairfield, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland counties. Funds are raised through workplace campaigns, grant writing and individual donations and are directed to fight for causes including childhood literacy, economic mobility and dental and eye care for those without resources. For more information, please visit

About Communities In Schools

Communities In Schools of the Midlands is a part of the nation’s largest and most effective dropout prevention organization, dedicated to doing whatever it takes to help students succeed in school and achieve in life. The program provides supports to seven schools within Lexington and Richland Counties and the South Carolina Juvenile Justice Department serving nearly 2,500 young people and families each year. Based directly inside of schools throughout the Midlands, Communities In Schools of the Midlands connects students and their families to basic and critical educational and community-based resources, tailored to each student’s specific needs. Learn more about Communities In Schools of the Midlands at

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