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Published on April 17th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Mayor Steve Benjamin Announced SWELP Fundraising Campaign

Pictured above from left: J.T. McLawhorn, President and CEO of the Columbia Urban League; Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin; Santora Byrd, former SWELP participant and freshman of Spring Valley High School; and Smith Allison Baker, Sr., Columbia Assistant City Manager.

Mayor Steve Benjamin announced the Summer Work Experience Leadership Program (SWELP) fundraising campaign at City Hall.

“We’re looking to increase SWELP jobs from 250 to 1000 this summer,” said Mayor Benjamin. “We have to keep making deposits into the bank for our youth.”

The campaign will start this week and citizens will be able to contribute by checking off the amount they wish to donate on an information insert that will be included with their water bill. Their donation will automatically be added to their monthly bill.

“Studies show that giving teens work experience is an investment for our future,” said J.T. McLawhorn, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of the Columbia Urban League, Inc.

For more than 15 years, SWELP has been providing employment opportunities to teens. Santora Byrd, a freshman at Spring Valley High School, shared her SWELP experience and how she looks forward to working with the program again this summer.

“My job last summer helped me with communications skills and learning how to work with others,” said SWELP participant Santora Byrd. “I plan on working with the SWELP program as long as I can.”

Applications will be available on the first week of May and can be picked up at the Columbia Urban League, Inc, City parks and the Columbia Police Department. All applications must be postmarked no later than May 31, 2015.

SWELP is an evidence-based career development program for youth ages 14-19. SWELP provides you with valuable work experience that helps foster responsibility, a strong work ethic and self-esteem. The purpose of this program is to provide primarily disadvantaged you with summer work experience and service learning in an effort for them to gain the necessary fundamental skills they will need to ensure future employment opportunities.

For more information about SWELP, contact the Columbia Urban League at (803) 799-8150.


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