We believe that personal connections are vital. And, that is especially true for children who are struggling in school. That is why Restoration Project Foundation is partnering with multiple organizations in South Carolina to support effective child mentorship programs.
When life at home is difficult, positive interaction with another adult through mentorship can help boost a child’s engagement in school. Our organization matches children with mentor programs that are already successful in strengthening the confidence of children and helping to improve their performance in the classroom.
Restoration Project Foundation provides resource and organizational support for mentorship programs in South Carolina. Three of these partner programs are:

Proverbs Mentoring Organization in Pendleton, South Carolina.

This program is run by Don Peppers, who works to teach children leadership skills, community involvement, entrepreneurship, work ethic, academic performance and teamwork. The organization incorporates Christian teachings as a foundation for positive decision making.

John Harris Basketball in Summerville and Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

This program is a basketball program, but it teaches much more than skill sets on the court. Coach Harris teaches discipline, hard work, and concentration. His program seeks to provide kids with friendship, emotional support and personal guidance to help them be successful in every aspect of life.

Original Design in Columbia, South Carolina.

This mentorship program is run by former Gamecocks football player Jay Urich. He uses faith, football and health education to empower youth in all aspects of life.
Our mission at Restoration Project Foundation is to renew hope through education, restore confidence through providing resources and redeem the future through mentor relationships that help all children and youth in our communities thrive. If you want to join us and support our mission, there is now a “Donate” button on our website. Or, if you are ready to get involved, you can click the “Become a Mentor” button to get started!

January is National Mentoring Month! During this month, programs across the United States celebrate the power of mentorship. They also use this month to recruit mentors, advance legislation and work toward positive change for youth.
At Restoration Project Foundation, we seek to get every young person in South Carolina connected with a mentor that can help improve their lives. That is because we believe that mentoring works! Young people who are connected with an adult mentor are:

Each of the programs supported by the Restoration Project Foundation has a different approach to mentorship. A different way to keep children engaged as they learn life lessons. John Harris Basketball teaches both basketball and life skills to kids in Mount Pleasant and Summerville, South Carolina.

Coach John Harris is passionate about basketball, helping kids, and his faith. Whatever the skill level of the child, he wants to help them get to the next level. Because the game of basketball is always evolving, Coach Harris is serious about staying current in the world of basketball. He believes that rigorous training is a must. The training program includes improvement skills such as speed, agility, shooting, passing, dribbling, offensive and defensive moves, angles plus strength and conditioning.

But, John Harris Basketball is not just about developing great players. Through basketball, the program is also mentoring kids and helping them grow in life. Through this program, kids learn discipline, skill mastery, and leadership. Through his mastery of basketball, John Harris is also a strong positive force in many kids' lives.

One of his colleagues, Jay Hernandez, a coach for the Charlotte Hornets says Coach Harris, “Is one of the most committed coaches to improving not only basketball players, but people. His positive energy is contagious and the way he shares his knowledge keeps players engaged. Simply put, John Harris will make you better!”

There are three ways that kids can get involved at John Harris Basketball. The Academy integrates group training and 2v2 and 3v3 basketball games. Group Training allows players to hone in on specific skills in a small group environment twice a week. Private lessons are also available on request. Camps are intensive training programs during school holidays and the summer.

If you want to help Coach Harris develop the skills and character of young basketball players near Charleston, South Carolina, you can!

Give to Restoration Project Foundation, a proud supporting partner for John Harris Basketball.

Proverbs Mentoring Organization is one of several South Carolina mentorship programs Restoration Project Foundation supports. This program focuses on mentorship of 6th - 12th grade students. The program director Don Peppers seeks to enhance youth leadership in his community through mentorship.

Don is the embodiment of what it means to be a mentor. He lives out his belief in the next generation by giving his time, talent and treasure to ensure that the youth in his local community are given every chance to be successful in life!
- Matt Bailey, Executive Director of Restoration Project Foundation.
There are several ways that South Carolina students can be involved in programs at Proverbs, including Camp Proverbs, Camp Essence, Coach Pep’s Prep Academy and Extra M.I.L.E.

Camp Proverbs and Camp Essence

These camps are two week summer camps for 6th-12th grade students. Camp Proverbs is a boys camp and Camp Essence is for girls. There are sessions to teach growth in community service, academics, athletics, religion, and entrepreneurship. There is also a week of travel, so that the participants are able to gain experiences outside their own community.

Coach Pep’s Prep Academy

This program is an online public education option based on the Camp Proverbs Mentoring Program and instruction from the South Carolina Preparatory Academy, an online charter school. This is a partnership facilitated by the Restoration Project Foundation.

Extra M.I.L.E. (Meaningful Interactive Learning Experiences)

A limited number of students can apply for funding for an extracurricular activity. Students can qualify if the family cannot afford to support the student’s interest. These experiences can include instrument lessons, swimming, coding, reading, robotics, etc.
Don Peppers, program director of Proverbs is an active member of the Pendleton community. He is the essence of mentorship that inspires the Restoration Project Foundation. His commitment to youth in the Pendleton area is wide and deep. He is currently the Athletic Director at Anderson Christian School, head coach of the Anderson Cavaliers, along with his leadership at the Proverbs Mentoring Organization.
If you are interested in supporting quality mentoring organizations such as Proverbs, you can! Support the Restoration Project Foundation, a supporting partner of Proverbs and other mentorship programs across the state of South Carolina.

The youth of a country are its future assets. Therefore, the fact that countless children, teenagers, and young adults are dropping out of schools and colleges or getting involved in risky behavior is rather alarming. But, with the right mentorship programs, it's possible to bring in a change in the life of the at-risk youth. This, in turn, can help strengthen the future of the country as well as of the world.
As per one survey, around one-third of America’s youth claimed to have never had any adult mentor while they were growing up - and this includes not only professional mentors but any other adult who could have played a similar role. In the absence of the latter, structured youth mentoring can help bring positive outcomes for at-risk kids and teenagers.
Click here to learn more about Mentorship Programs in South Carolina.

What Are Mentoring Programs For The Youth?

Mentoring programs, simply speaking, help connect qualified mentors with young people who need their guidance. The main goal of such programs is to provide a role model to the mentees who can impact their lives positively by providing them with emotional and academic support.
The mentees consist of the youth who are perceived to be at risk, i.e., who are more vulnerable to dropping out of school, substance abuse, poor academic results, etc. A mentoring relationship fills in the absence of a supportive adult in their lives, encouraging an overall positive development.
Restoration Project Foundation’s mission is to renew hope through education, restore confidence through providing resources and redeem the future through mentor relationships that can help all children and youth in our communities thrive.

How Does It Work?

Youth mentoring programs need to be well-planned and structured to be effective. The first step here is to recruit suitable mentors who have the required knowledge and skills to guide young people or train them. Secondly, to ensure a healthy and fruitful mentoring relationship, the process of matching mentors and mentees is based on common interests or backgrounds.
Youth mentorship programs that have clearly-defined expectations and goals have been found to have greater chances of success. In addition, the mentoring relationships are constantly monitored and supported through constructive advice, training, and problem-solving. The outcomes on the at-risk mentees are evaluated, and the programs are modified depending on their individual needs.

Benefits Of Mentoring For Kids And Teenagers

Youth mentoring relationships are based on mutual trust and are effective in helping kids, teenagers, and young adults reach their full potential. Some of its key benefits include the following:


The positive effects of youth mentoring programs have been widely accepted worldwide, with numerous studies also further establishing its effectiveness. For example, according to a survey, around 76% of students with a mentor intend to pursue higher education. In contrast, the figures are much lower (56%) for those who don't have a mentor.
Education is the key to a brighter future for today’s youth, and the Restoration Project Foundation endeavors to help enhance their academic abilities through proven mentoring programs. Our goal is to connect disadvantaged children with the right mentor who can help their overall development.

Restoration Project Foundation supports outstanding mentorship programs across the state of South Carolina. One of these programs is the New Hope Leadership Academy in West Columbia. This program is comprehensive, offering athletics at the high school and collegiate level, education through a virtual charter school, and of course, a full mentorship program.


New Hope Leadership Academy combines Mentoring, Advising, Leadership, Education and Scholarship (M.A.L.E.S.) to help students advance both athletically and academically. NHLA mentors guide students, working to teach character traits such as responsibility, discipline, respect, professionalism, and job skills. The goals of the mentorship program are to increase High School retention and graduation, promote collegiate enrollment, and provide guidance as students make big life decisions.


NHLA has a successful high-school-level football team. They were the 2021 Palmetto Athletic Association Division 1 Champions. Students who are in public school, private school, homeschool, and virtual school can participate in this team.

NHLA also offers the Gladiators Sports Academy. This program is designed to teach elementary to high school students the fundamentals of their sport and grow their skill set. The Sports Academy combines skill training with mentorship to help students advance and compete at the next level.

There are also collegiate athletic programs in Football, Basketball and Track and Field. This is for students enrolled in college that want to continue to play their sport while they work on a degree.

Virtual School

NHLA is also a virtual school, partnering with the South Carolina Preparatory Academy to provide a comprehensive education that leads to a High School Diploma. SC Prep is a tuition-free virtual school for South Carolina residents. This program can help students who are struggling in their current school, want a different type of education, or want to pursue other goals while they work on their diplomas.

If you are interested in supporting thriving mentorship programs in South Carolina like the New Hope Leadership Academy, click here to donate to the Restoration Project Foundation!

Restoration Project Foundation (RPF) is thrilled to introduce Spotlight, a monthly feature dedicated to shining a light on our organization’s leaders and mentor partners doing incredible work in communities across the state of South Carolina. For our inaugural April Spotlight, we are pleased to highlight Restoration Project Foundation Executive Director Matt Bailey, a true servant leader who strives to live his life “in a way that is about helping develop other people and give back to them.”

Matt Baily - Making a Difference

An experienced non-profit executive devoted to making a difference in the lives of kids, Matt joined RPF in July 2021. Our organization takes a unique approach to fostering mentor-mentee relationships by partnering with existing mentorship programs to provide guidance, support, and resources so each site can fulfill its individual mission based on the unique needs of the local community. As Executive Director, Matt works directly with our nine mentor partners to ensure that RPF is providing the financial support, relational connections, volunteers, and donations they need so they can focus directly on the kids. “I love to help and to serve, and in this role, I really get to do both and be that connection point for our mentor partners,” said Matt.


Matt first experienced the positive power of mentorship in college, where an older friend took him under his wing. “He made sure I showed up for class and practice on time, and taught me to be consistent in the things I said and did.” The relationship showed him the importance of helping others to succeed, and inspired him to seek out opportunities to give back and serve as a mentor. “We can be a river, or we can be a reservoir,” he recently said. “A river is where things flow through you, it is life-giving, moving, full of fresh water and life. A reservoir has mosquitos, it is moldy, with the water just sitting there, becoming stagnant. I think the more we are receiving and giving out and things are flowing through us, the healthier things are. I think we get into trouble when we just try to collect and hold on to things, not giving good back out into the world.”
Supporting our mentor partners provides ample opportunities for Matt to give good back out into the world and inspire a new generation of young mentors. These organizations provide a structured environment where kids are able to be carefree and act like kids, while having the security of trusted adults who provide boundaries and direction. Matt describes them as “safe spaces for kids,” and places where “they don’t have to put on a certain persona, they don’t have to pretend, they can just truly be who they are and accepted for who they are. They have adults around them to encourage them, to keep them on the right path, and to have the hard conversations when needed.”


Just as his college mentor taught him the importance of being consistent in words and actions, Matt focuses on consistency as one of the most important factors for success. The more consistent mentors can be, the deeper the impact the relationship can have on a mentee.  “Sometimes it is like the kids have the weight of the world on them, and they are often left to fend for themselves in a lot of ways. Having the opportunity to build trust and know that the mentors are always going to be there for them can be life-changing,” said Matt.


Matt’s advice to people interested in mentoring? “Jump in and get involved! You can always start with a smaller commitment, like making a meal for the kids each week or helping out at an event, then grow into a larger mentorship role.” RPF’s mentor partner sites pair new volunteers with seasoned mentors who can provide the guidance and support new mentors need as they grow and transition into the role of a primary mentor. If you are interested in getting involved, RPF will work with you directly to connect with a mentor site near you. To learn more about how you can get involved, please email us at mbailey@restorationprojectfoundation.org.

One trusted adult can make a world of difference in a student’s life. In 2015, Restoration Project Foundation (RPF) co-founders Craig Wooten and James Galyean made it their mission to create an organization dedicated to connecting every child in South Carolina with a mentor who could inspire them to develop their talents, achieve academic success, and reach their full potential. “So many kids are left to fend for themselves and don’t have the support and structure they need to grow and succeed,” said Craig, who now serves as RPF’s Chief Executive Officer. “We wanted to build something that would reach as many kids as possible, and knew that the best way to do that would be to partner with mentor organizations already doing great work in their communities.”

Seven years strong, RPF’s unique approach has proven to be a resounding success. We partner directly with local mentorship organizations to connect dedicated mentors with students and provide the critical resources required for success. As we start to fully understand the educational, physical, and emotional toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on our kids, we recognize that now, more than ever, they need the academic structure, support, and solid advice a trusted adult can provide. South Carolina has many incredible mentorship programs designed to assess and address the unique needs of the kids in their communities, and like the kids, they require additional support and resources to fulfill their missions. RPF provides these organizations with guidance, financial assistance, and volunteers so they can focus directly on supporting the kids.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster recognizes the value of our unique approach, awarding Restoration Project Foundation a generous $2 million grant from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020. The grant enables RPF to provide expanded resources and organizational support to nine outstanding mentor programs across Anderson, Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and Rock Hill. These programs currently support 385 children and young adults that engage in a total of more than 4,000 hours of mentoring per month.

In addition to serving kids, the partnerships provide unique opportunities for mentor leaders across the state to collaborate, discuss best practices, share exciting news, and support each other’s programs. Mentor partners also have an excellent source of support in RPF Executive Director Matt Bailey, who works directly with them to ensure that RPF is providing the resources, guidance, and support each site needs to fulfill its individual mission based on the needs of the local community. “I’m honored to fill the role of mentor to the mentors,” said Matt. “My goal is to be a source of encouragement and to help them grow their organizations so they can make a difference in the lives of even more kids.”

For Craig and James, RPF’s success is just the beginning. “Knowing that there is an adult they can talk to, who chooses to be there every day to help them and guide them, can be life-changing for these kids,” said James, “and we’re not going to stop growing until we can bring that opportunity to every child in South Carolina who needs it.”

Opportunities to support RPF’s mission are limitless! From volunteering your time at a mentor partner site to making a donation to spreading the word about the great work RPF is doing, you can make a substantial impact on the lives of kids in South Carolina. To learn more about how you can get involved, please email us at mbailey@restorationprojectfoundation.org.

Restoration Project Foundation (RPF) is thrilled to present Spotlight, our monthly feature dedicated to shining a light on our organization’s leaders and mentor partners doing incredible work in communities across the State of South Carolina. For our May Spotlight, we are pleased to highlight Proverbs Mentoring Organization, RPF’s first dedicated Mentor Partner. Founded by Don Peppers in 2004, Proverbs has grown from a two-week summer camp to a comprehensive mentoring program serving the youth of Upstate South Carolina. “Don is a trusted mentor, educator, and coach,” said RPF CEO Craig Wooten, “and we are thrilled to be supporting the great work Proverbs is doing in the community.”

“When I started Camp Proverbs in Pendelton in 2004, it was an act of love,” Don explained. “I wasn’t trying to get into the non-profit world, I just wanted to offer a camp that would benefit the community.” Eighteen years strong and counting, Camp Proverbs has expanded to include Camp Essence for young women, the Extra M.I.L.E. after-school experience, Coach Pep’s Prep Academy, and the Proverbs Youth Mentor Certification Program. The programs were formally incorporated into Proverbs Mentoring Organization four years ago, with the mission to enhance youth leadership skills by mentoring through community, academics, athletics, religion, and entrepreneurship.

Restoration Project Foundation CEO Craig Wooten has been actively involved with Proverbs for years, and when the opportunity for a partnership between the two organizations arose, Craig and Don immediately recognized the positive impact it would have on the community. RPF provides guidance, financial assistance, and volunteers so Proverbs can focus directly on the important work of supporting the kids, which it does with incredible dedication and success through the following programs:

Camp Proverbs & Camp Essence

Camp Proverbs and Camp Essence are two-week summer camps and mentoring programs for young men and young women in 6th – 12th grade. Mentees spend a week in sessions that help them grow in the areas of community service, academics, athletics, religion, and entrepreneurship. They also travel for a week to experience camping outside of their communities and attend a variety of events throughout the year. Most recently, mentees from both camps attended the Clemson University Men of Color National Summit and the Clemson University Women’s Roundtable.

The Extra M.I.L.E.

The Extra M.I.L.E. (Meaningful Interactive Learning Experiences) is a year-round initiative for promoting extracurricular activities for students in need of extra support. Five to ten students a year can apply for funding for an extracurricular activity that is beyond the financial reach of their family. These activities include various musical instrument lessons, swimming, tennis, computer coding, robotics, reading programs, STEM camps, and more.

Coach Pep’s Prep Academy

Based on the Camp Proverbs Mentoring Program and facilitated by the Restoration Project Foundation, Coach Pep’s Prep Academy (CPPA) is a year-round daily program that combines mentoring with academic instruction provided by the South Carolina Preparatory Academy, an online classical education charter school. Mentors engage with teachers, parents, and caregivers to ensure that students maintain their educational progress, while additional programming focuses on athletics, community service, and other skills development aimed at motivating students to succeed. CPPA is currently only open to young men, but the young women of Camp Essence have taken notice of the benefits it provides and have expressed serious interest in growing the program to include all students.

Proverbs Youth Mentor Certification

Proverbs Youth Mentor Certification is a training program designed to develop and empower mentors who work with youth in any capacity, including teachers and coaches. More than 30 people have successfully completed the course and all have gone on to become mentors at Proverbs and beyond.

Proverbs’ positive impacts on the community are immediately evident, with past mentees who are now high school seniors, college students, and professionals coming forward to serve as mentors. For Don, this is only the beginning of a life-long endeavor. “Mentoring and coaching is my niche, and I’m grateful that I’ve been able to build trust and relationships with the families in my community,” he said. “We’ve been doing this for 18 years, but we’re just getting started.”

Interested in supporting Proverbs Mentoring Organization? Volunteers are welcome, particularly for Camp Proverbs and Camp Essence which will be operating at full throttle this year after two years of COVID-19-limited enrollment. Donations of recreational items, games, sports equipment, arts & crafts materials, water, Gatorade, and snacks are hugely helpful, as are donations provided to help underwrite all Proverbs programs. To learn more about how you can get involved, follow Proverbs on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mentoring4life or email pdon3944@gmail.com. To connect with another mentor partner site near you, please email us at mbailey@restorationprojectfoundation.org.

This month, the Restoration Project Foundation Spotlight is on New Hope Leadership Academy (NHLA), a comprehensive academic and athletic mentoring organization dedicated to providing the quality education and essential life skills at-risk students need for success. Headquartered in Columbia, SC, and rapidly expanding to meet the needs of mentees in surrounding areas, New Hope is thriving under the leadership of Executive Director and Head Coach Demond Logan. “New Hope Leadership Academy is a great example of how effective RPF’s unique approach of partnering with existing mentorship programs can really be for the communities they serve,” said RPF CEO Craig Wooten, “and we are proud to support their great work in Columbia and beyond.”

Coach Logan is a career educator with twenty-six years of experience, primarily in the field of special education where extra mentoring plays a huge role in student success. The more he worked with students who were struggling socially or getting in trouble in class, the more he recognized the need for a comprehensive mentoring program specifically built to address the needs of at-risk students, “My biggest focus has always been on making sure they understand life skills and survival skills so they can be successful now and when they get out of school,” explained Coach Logan, “and that is how New Hope Leadership Academy came about.”

NHLA originally began as an athletic mentoring program with an extra twist. “We knew that athletics would get more kids involved,” explained Coach Logan, “and when getting them. involved with sports activities, we taught them that there were things they needed to do to be able to participate and play, including mentoring sessions every second and fourth Saturday and a community service program every month.” This approach was a success, and NHLA has expanded to include Virtual School, Leadership Academy, and New Hope Collegiate. “We want to make sure our kids have the skills and tools to be successful,” said Coach Logan, “so we focus on getting them involved, mentoring them in life and job skills, and giving them the opportunity to learn and experience a variety of new things that will benefit them now and in the future.” Restoration Project Foundation partners with New Hope, providing guidance, financial assistance, and volunteers so Coach Logan and his team can focus directly on the important work of supporting students.

New Hope’s core principles of mentoring, athletics, advisement, leadership, education, and scholarship provide the foundation for all of its programs. The organization’s primary goal is to provide the personalized structure and support struggling students need to complete their
high school diplomas and gain acceptance to the higher education institution or career opportunity that is the best fit for them. New Hope has partnered with The South Carolina Preparatory Academy, is a free online classical public charter school serving students in middle and high school across South Carolina. This partnership allows NHLA to provide a combination of personalized virtual academics and daily mentoring that they have found is particularly effective in helping students achieve their diplomas. NHLA also welcomes athletes who may not need assistance in the classroom, but who benefit from the organization’s focus on discipline, respect, and responsibility as they pursue athletics in high school and beyond. New Hope Collegiate is a two-year program for high school athletes who wish to continue playing sports while attending classes at Midland Technical College.

Exposure to new places, ideas, and opportunities is another core element of NHLA’s mentoring approach. “You never know what you want to do until you see something different,” said Coach Logan, “so we focus on traveling to different parts of the state for athletic events and college visits.” This is the first chance most of NHLA’s mentees have to spend time on a college campus, and the experience can be life-changing. “I took a young man, my track guy, to visit two colleges in Columbia known for their track programs,” said Coach Logan. “He’d never been on a campus before, but after the visits, he knew that college is where he wanted to go and the work he would have to do to get there.” Bringing kids together through athletics who have nothing in common and teaching them how to get along with each other, is another excellent way to provide exposure. “It is rough at first – you have to play together, work together, and travel together,” said Coach Logan, “but by the middle of the year, they are all in contact with each other, communicating, and looking out for each other.” Learning to navigate interpersonal relationships is vitally important, and Coach Logan focuses on lifting each other up. “We’re going to be one, not look at anybody differently, and treat everybody the same. We want everybody to understand how to get along, work with each other, help each other, and understand that everybody lives a little differently from each other.”

Word of New Hope’s positive impacts on students and the community have spread, resulting in an increased demand for the services NHLA offers. In addition to expanding programming within Columbia, several satellite locations have recently opened to serve students in the rural areas surrounding the city. Run by former New Hope athletes who have returned to serve as mentors, these locations perfectly represent Coach Logan’s desire to bring mentoring where it is needed. The most important component of this expansion is finding volunteers to serve as mentors. “The more places we are, the more activities we do, and the more volunteers we have, the more kids we can serve,” said Coach Logan. “You don’t have to come to everything, but anything you can do, please come and volunteer. We’d love to have you!”

Interested in supporting New Hope Leadership Academy? Volunteers are very welcome, particularly for athletics and community service events. Donations of recreational items, sporting equipment, water, Gatorade, and snacks are hugely helpful, as are donations provided to help underwrite all NHLA programs. To learn more about how you can get involved, visit https://www.nhlagladiators.com. To connect with another mentor partner site near you, please email us at mbailey@restorationprojectfoundation.org.