The Stories of the Upstate #338-R (Eric Wood) "I grew up without a car."

                    Story #338-R comes from the host of Another Voice with Eric and Friends, Eric Wood.

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                                                                    To learn more, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #315: (Lauren Stephens) "I learned to spell by jumping rope."

             Lauren Stephens,  Salvation Army's Director of Social Ministries, shares our 315th story.

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Lauren Stephens, Greenville's Salvation Army's Director of Social Ministries told us, "For many marginalized people, there are multiple days in a week where no one even says their name and merely addressing them by their name is encouraging."  She says that showing people respect allows them how to use it in starting over.  Lauren told us that an encounter with a boy with holes in his shoes that she met in a Judson Community day camp when she was in college that committed her to a life dedicated to helping people.  

                                                                To learn more, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #291: (Patrick Michaels) "I thought I was going to be a dock worker when I grew up."

The President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina, Patrick Michaels shares our 291st story.

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So you donate some old clothes, a piece of furniture or some dishes to Goodwill and feel good about it, but do you really understand what your donation means to folks in your community?  You might think that you are helping folks who are struggling financially acquire much needed items at a price they can afford and you are, but your donations do much more than that.  According to Patrick Michaels, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina, your donations help them accomplish their real mission: providing employment and training leading to job placement for people who have a barrier to employment.  Goodwill provides job training, job placement and workforce development for folks who struggle to be gainfully employees: people with criminal backgrounds, the long term unemployed, those with few skills; veterans, elderly and those seeking better jobs.  Last year alone, Goodwill placed 11,786 people into employment and your donations made that possible.

                                                         To learn more about Goodwill, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #281: (Stephen Grant) "I was a risk taker as a teen."

            The founder of The Chris and Kelly's Hope Foundation, Stephen Grant, brings our 281st story.

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Christopher Grant was a gifted athlete and was a genuinely warm person; never met a stranger.  Kelly Grant was more reclusive and was a gifted drummer and musician.  They were just two typical American teenagers; but in the space of 5 years,  Stephen Grant lost both his sons to accidental drug overdoses.  Thirty days after Kelly died, Stephen was in a three day boot camp for his work with Northwestern Mutual.  The last thing on his mind was charity or being charitable, but one of the speakers challenged the group with this question, "What will your legacy be once your gone?"  Stephen was inspired and determined to do everything he could to help adolescents who struggle with addiction and mental illness.  He put feet to his commitment by reaching out to the Community Foundation of Greenville, who helped him start The Chris and Kelly's Hope Foundation.  The Foundation has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in 5 years, as well as raising awareness of mental illness and addiction in children and adolescents; a fitting legacy for two young men loved and missed dearly by their father, Stephen Grant. 

                                  To learn more about the Chris and Kelly's Hope Foundation, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #219: (Monroe Free) "My wife and I are total nerds; we rock at Trivial Pursuit."

Our 219th story, a GSA Business Report Q & A, comes from President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greenville, Monroe Free.

In a recent survey, Greenville discovered that the city has a 2.500 unit shortage for affordable housing, making what Habitat for Humanity Greenville does a blessing.  President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Greenville, Monroe Free explains how Habitat for Humanity combines being contractors, developers, mortgage holders and retailers to give low income families the means to overcome the obstacles of poverty through affordable housing.  Working with families who invest in their own future with "sweat equity," Habitat for Humanity helps make healthier and better lives for those in need.  

                                   To learn more about Habitat for Humanities Greenville, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #204: (Amanda Mathis) "I won $1000.00 in a national recipe contest with my recipe for Smothered Kickin Chicken."

              The Executive Director of Christmas In Action Spartanburg, Amanda Mathis shares Story #204

 A person with a background in government, public relations and social media can do a wide variety of things.  What is Amanda Mathis doing with her experience?  She's following Grandma's advice to give back to the community as the Executive Director of Christmas In Action Spartanburg, a wonderful non-profit rehabbing homes for the elderly, the disabled and veterans.  Christmas In Action Spartanburg has provided around 900 families the feeling and experience of Christmas all year long. 

                                       To learn more about Christmas In Action Spartanburg, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #193: (Sheila Merck) "I have an affinity for old cars and junk yards, thanks to my 4 brothers."

                    The coordinator and co-host of Merck Mountain Events delivers our 193rd story.

Being raised a preacher's kid, this Six Mile Native, learned the importance of helping others.  Spending more than 20 yrs in television, Sheila Merck learned how to put on a show. She combines those two as coordinator and co-host of Merck Mountain Events, using music and festivals to raise funds for Helping Hands of Clemson and the abused and neglected kids they help.

                                            To learn more about Merck Mountain Events, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #182: "In college, I was a singer in a group called Hot and Sweaty."

         The former Exec. Dir. of the American Red Cross Upstate SC, Ann Wright delivers story # 182.

Ann Wright spent 3 decades with the American Red Cross helping people through disasters before accepting the position of VP of Advancement for the Greenville Tech Foundation.  This was her last interview before leaving the American Red Cross.

                                          To learn more about the American Red Cross, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate #117: "Some of my favorite memories growing up involve bass fishing."

    The Executive Director of the Center for Developmental Services, Dana McConnell brings us Story #117

                                   To learn more about the Center for Development Services, click here.