CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Climbing, swinging and going down the slide is a pleasure of childhood for many children. But not all kids have the luxury of a safe place to play.
Thanks to contributions from South Carolina Electric & Gas and one local Charleston youth, the young residents of One80 Place homeless shelter will now have a playground to call their own.
On Tuesday morning, One80 Place officially unveiled the new SCE&G Family Center Playground at its housing facility on Walnut Street in downtown Charleston. Complete with multiple slides and a climbing wall, the outdoor space represents a sense of normalcy for kids who live there, according to One80 Place CEO Stacey Denaux.
"Today is a big day for children in our community who are experiencing homelessness," Denaux said. "Today signifies a sense of normal and it lets them know our community cares."
One80 Place is one of the largest providers of services to homeless people in the state, serving more than 180 men, women and children each night. In addition to its shelter, the center also offers job training to help shelter guests get back on their feet. But prior to today's playground opening, there was no outdoor space or playground areas for the children who live there.
The playground was built through the donations from SCE&G, and employee volunteers from gas and electric operations as well as the call center helped prep the site during a special workday held late July. Employees also attended Tuesday's opening ceremony, adding finishing touches to the playground which Keller Kissam, president of retail operations at SCE&G, called a "labor of love."
"It's a great day for SCE&G," Keller said, adding the company was excited to give back to the neighborhood. "One80 Place is an outstanding partner for the services they provide in this community, and the only thing that was missing was a playground."
Local student Abbey Butts also contributed approximately $1,800 toward the playground's building. Butts, who attends First Baptist School of Charleston, raised the funds as part of a school project to give back to the community. A One80 Place volunteer herself, Butts was inspired to help after seeing the old backyard space—"kind of a desert," Butts said.
Now that the area has been transformed, she hoped the kids would be excited about their new playground.
"It's really impressive," Butts added. "It's awesome."