The Literacy Center was founded at the Franciscan Center on St. Helena Island, where a group of Roman Catholic sisters and some concerned citizens recognized that many local children were struggling with reading and writing. As they got to know the children better, they discovered that the children’s parents faced the very same literacy challenge. What began as an effort to better the education of these children quickly evolved into the first adult literacy program in Beaufort County.
ABC and PBS ran a campaign that shed light on the national adult illiteracy issue and created increased awareness of the problem in the Lowcountry, which led to growth of our program
The Literacy Center partnered with Beaufort County Adult Education
The Literacy Center opened its Hilton Head training center
Bluffton resident Ida Martin recognized a great need that was not being met for working families and senior citizens in the area, and so began Bluffton Self Help
Bluffton Self Help is chartered
The Literacy Center partnered with Beaufort County Adult Education to provide evening English language instruction for immigrants at Hilton Head High School
Continued influx of immigrants led to the development of English for Speakers of Other Languages program
The Literacy Center’s student enrollment grew from 159 to surpass 700 students per year
The Literacy Center received accreditation through ProLiteracy America
The Literacy Center opened main headquarters in Bluffton
Bluffton Self Help moved to a new building conveniently located in Sheridan Park, Bluffton. Over the years, the agency’s location changed and at one point was located in the former police station/jail in Old Bluffton
The Literacy Center received The School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina’s South Carolina Annual Literacy Award for its “significant impact on the lives of adults in Beaufort County.”
As the Town of Bluffton continued to grow so did the need. Bluffton Self Help opened the first Beaufort County Education & Resource Center to provide a place neighbors could access computers, support with job searching, and connect with local and government resources
Bluffton Self Help got hunger relief on the move with their Mobile Food Pantry to help break down barriers of transportation. A van provided by grants through Palmetto Electric and Belfair Community Foundation
Bluffton Self Help and The Literacy Center merged in a joint effort to dramatically expand the availability of basic education and training programs in order to meet the growing needs of the economically at-risk in Beaufort and Jasper counties. Building upon more than eight decades of combined experience serving neighbors, the merger will promote educational programming, workforce training, career readiness and access to vital resources – essential services to break the cycle of poverty and the barriers to self-sufficiency.
Bluffton Self Help launched its Path Forward Initiative announcing a five-year strategic plan including a brand refresh and capital campaign to build the first of its kind Community Resource Village.