The South Carolina School Boards Association presented Bon Secours St. Francis Health System with the Champions for Public EducationAward during a special ceremony on Tuesday, October 22.
This award is given to community residents, organizations or businesses/industries whose support and contributions have significantly benefited public schools. Bon Secours was nominated by the Greenville County Schools Board of Trustees for its contributions.
"The partnership between Bon Secours and the school district serves as a model for other school districts in our state," says Tony Folk, president of the South Carolina School Boards Association. "You give your time, dedication and resources to ensure that Greenville County public school students are prepared for their next steps as graduates."
In 2017, Bon Secours proposed Project SEARCH to the Greenville County school district. Originally established by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in 1996, Project SEARCH has since been replicated at more than 300 sites nationwide.
The program focuses on serving young adults with a variety of intellectual and developmental disabilities. This business-led program means students learn relevant, marketable skills while immersed in the business. Those businesses are active partners and participate without subsidies.
"It not only aligned with their strategic education plan initiatives around Graduation Plus, but also set a standard and expectation of what inclusion of special needs students should look like in their education system and community," says Tony.
In the first year of the program, seven students from five Greenville high schools completed internships in various departments at Bon Secours. In year two, the program grew to nine students and ten students are currently enrolled in the Project SEARCH program.
According to Traci Hogan, the district's Assistant Superintendent for Special Education services, "the multiple opportunities for hands-on training and job specific skills is invaluable to our students and life-changing for these young people and their families. This partnership allows us to work as a community to train and support our students in the most unique way and ensure they are prepared for competitive employment."
At Bon Secours, we are committed to advancing the overall well-being of our community. Learn more about the history of our ministry.