Success Stories

Done Right

Albert Jernigan is a single father of two children, one of which has special needs. Like so many individuals in our community, Albert had trouble finding employment.  For awhile, he felt like there was nowhere for him to turn.  His days were filled with worries and frustrations. Albert then learned about United Way in Effingham […]

It Is Not The Situation That Defines You

“Blessed, relieved, happy, excited,” these are the words Deletis Spruill uses to describe her feelings upon entering her very own apartment after months of shuffling from place to place. An Army veteran and mother of five school-age children, Deletis had come to find herself in need of housing and other supportive services as she sought […]

A Network of Angels

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a network to save a family.  Just ask Wynette Russell, because she would know. After Wynette found herself and her two children without a place to live, she did what any mother would; she got creative.  Wynette kept her family together by staying with […]

The Power of One Friend

A strong mentor and role model can change a child’s life, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Coastal Empire was founded with this solution in mind. Sometime adults are afraid to mentor a child for fear that they do not have anything to offer, but all it takes is one common interest to spark […]


You are now aware that You are breathing. And that your clothes are touching your skin You just realize that there are things all around you And you are now aware of other things Like every time you swallow, you hear a tiny crackle. And your ears are a little cold You now are aware […]

Transportation: More Than Just A Ride

In times of crisis, every little expense or worry can seem like a huge weight. Eartha, a 42 year old mother of four, felt this burden after she and her children were left homeless when the family they were living with gave them one day to move out. Having nowhere else to turn, Eartha went […]


In August of 2011, Kenneth Smalls was released from prison, having spent the previous 12 years serving time for stealing $50 – a crime he says he did not commit.  In fact, so sure was he that he couldn’t be convicted of a crime for which he was not guilty, Kenneth took his chances with […]

Where There’s A Goodwill, There’s A Way

It’s been more than a decade since Nancy Hupper suffered two strokes that left her with severe impairment to her vision and cognitive abilities. Nancy was living in Florida, working in advertising sales and had just earned a degree in paralegal studies. She was happy, healthy and enjoying much success in her work life.

Boy, Interrupted

“You almost couldn’t see a baby, there were so many tubes and wires; and he was very, very swollen, you couldn’t recognize him,” recalls Nancy AuClair, mother of quadruplet boys. She is describing the scene of the youngest in the set, Connor, in the pediatric intensive care unit struggling to survive following surgery to remove a 12 cm tumor from his liver. He was barely nine months old. The scene worsens as Nancy tells of how Connor ‘coded’, or stopped breathing, several times post-surgery. “At one point, I told my husband that I’ve given him (Connor) permission to go; that it just was not fair to put him through it,” she recalls. But her husband, Chris, reminded her of something that she knew very well from experience – Connor was a fighter and had been from day one.

The Future Looks Bright

“I plan on going back to Liberia to visit someday, and eventually spend time in both places,” says 19 year-old Jared Kolleh.

Before fleeing his home in Monrovia, Liberia five years ago with his mother, Jared spent his first 14 years enduring the bloody civil war there. They struggled for survival, as the war dragged on, starting and stopping over and over. “It was pretty hard because we had to run through places where shooting was going on, trying to find food and things – we went through a lot,” he recalls.

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