By Letitia Dowling
Founder and Director
Denmark Cares was founded in response to local water quality concerns that surfaced in 2018 when negative press and other efforts were dividing the community. Now, it is so much more.
Our goal is to educate, promote unity and model collaborative efforts between citizens, government entities and public agencies. The primary focus is to identify gaps and needs of the community and determine ways to address them with support from government agencies and public entities.
I was born and reared in Denmark and graduated from Denmark public schools. I earned a degree in political science from Coastal Carolina University, lived in Washington, DC, for three years, and returned home to Denmark.
I have worked for more than 10 years as a middle school and high school teacher and principal, drop-out prevention specialist, and Director of Teacher Certification and Preparation. I have been a Senior Program Operations Manager for a national grant-making organization and am currently Manager of Strategic Initiatives for a nonprofit serving first generation and non-traditional college students.
I am a member of Victory Temple COGIC in Denmark, a church that was founded by my grandparents. I am active in my church on the local, state and national levels. I have served as an executive assistant of state youth department, assistant director of Scholastic Motivation Ministries, National Coordinator for COGIC Young Ladies.
A program to develop young ladies ages 12-18. This program was offered in February with 38 girls attending.
The focus of the program was self- esteem, self-love and sisterhood. Each participant received a t-shirt, a gift bag, a meal. The session included motivational speaker, spoken word, arts and crafts.
Easter Baskets for Kids
We provided 60 Easter baskets to kids throughout our community.
Recognize high school graduates
With support from First Baptist Church in Greenville, Denmark Lions Club and others we organized and hosted a series of activities to recognize graduating seniors of our community.
We established an Adopt-a-Senior campaign, Senior Drive Through Parade and personalized yard signs for each senior.
We realized that we had to do something when the school district was not able to uplift and support our graduates who successfully met graduation requirements despite COVID challenges.
We were able to partner with civic organizations, local and county government offices to support 35 graduates and their families.
Viking 101 Incentives
Denmark Cares worked in partnership with schools to provide incentives to high school students to attend and register for 2020-2021 school year. We were able to award 10 students with $30 gift cards for attending and completing requirements.
Our girls varsity basketball team ranked at the bottom of the list in 2019. However, last school year they surprised the league with a comeback and ranked #4 and made it to second round of playoffs.
These young ladies have displayed determination to prepare and come back stronger.
To encourage and promote persistence, grit and work ethic, Denmark Cares supported the team with funding for a trainer to provide small sessions to help them condition and work out during the summer. Because the schools and gymnasiums were closed, Denmark Cares support bought a trainer to the community six times during the summer for these young ladies.
This gave more students an opportunity to train because they did not have to travel and pay for the personal trainer.
Little Libraries for Kids
Because of COVID-19, our local and county libraries have been closed which reduced access to books and reading materials for kids. Denmark Cares in partnership with a local business, purchased books to supply 100 kids in grades Pre-K-5 with five books and fun supplies. We were able to distribute books to 80 children on 9/19 and working toward another distribution on 10/31 to grow these libraries.
Denmark Youth Leadership Council
This initiative is designed to educate and expose youth to the structures and foundations of local, county and state government. This program will work with 9-10 youth ages 14-20 to identify, plan and address community needs. The youth will elect leaders and others will serve as council. They will be taught to collaboratively problem solve, solve conflict, plan and achieve results.
Youth Engagement events and activities
We want to educate and expose youth to the structures and foundations of local, county and state government. We work with 9-10 youth ages 14-20 to identify, plan and address community needs. The youth will elect leaders and others will serve as council. They will be taught to collaboratively problem solve, solve conflict, plan and achieve results.
We have been limited this year because of Covid-19 but we have been able to move forward with activities like these:
Energy assistance for residents
Denmark Cares received notification that Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds were available for energy assistance and voluntarily opened an intake center at Victory Temple COGIC.
Because the application was only available online, we realized that citizens did not have internet or ability to complete the process. We were able to help 87 citizens in Bamberg County complete the online application process.
At least 80% of them have received assistance. The local churches assisted by spreading the word that we were assisting with applications.
Local church partners
First Baptist Church, Denmark
Denmark First Baptist supported Denmark Cares with renovating and providing a ramp for a terminally ill cancer patient. Bamberg First Baptist Church tore down and reconstructed the porch. Denmark First Baptist provided and connected the ramp.
First Baptist Church Bamberg
Bamberg First Baptist Church partnered with Denmark Cares to host “Building Bridges to Equality” on Juneteenth. This event hosted about 40 people who engaged in a discussion of how to improve race relations and unity in Bamberg County. We had guest facilitators from CBFSC, Southern Baptist Convention and a consultant from Wagner, SC.