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 firstname.lastname@example.org.