Nonprofit celebrates 35 years of helping the Bluffton community
Members of the community gathered April 4 to celebrate the legacy of Bluffton Self Help founder Ida Martin and the 35th anniversary of the organization.
Businesses provided food and activities for the nonprofit’s anniversary, and the Martin family spoke about the impact Ida Martin had on the community and how her legacy lives on.
Martin’s impact on Bluffton was large, and in 2012 the town named April 4 in honor of her.
Assistant executive director Courtney Hampson said Ida Martin began Bluffton Self Help 35 years ago when she was 60 years old. She was at a single mother’s home, and when she opened the fridge all she found was a bottle of water, she said that was a sign that there was a need in the community.
Constance Martin-Witter speaks at the 35th anniversary of Bluffton Self Help.
Martin decided that Bluffton needed a resource for people to go and receive assistance. Hampson said the organization began in Martin’s garage and continued to grow from there.
Martin’s daughter Constance Martin-Witter said her mother’s creation of Bluffton Self Help mirrored the parable of the mustard seed. She said her mother started with a small seed, and from that she grew an organization that serves more than 1,500 community members.
Bluffton Self Help offers a range of services, from a market that’s open four days a week to literacy centers that give access to education and career tools. It has about 150 volunteers and four literacy and learning centers.
“My mom back before the ’70s had a thought; she just wanted to help a few family members that had a few things that they needed. She planted that mustard seed, she watered it and she nurtured it and it then became a shrub and it grew into the very large huge tree with extended branches and that’s where we are now.”
Bluffton Self Help also introduced an addition to the organization: the resource hub. Hampson said the hub is a place for people to come and ask for help. They will be directed to one of the many services the nonprofit offers.
The resource hub at Bluffton Self Help.
Hampson said it will allow the organization to better help those in need. Candyce Martin, Ida Martin’s granddaughter, will be the intake specialist and she will be in charge of directing people to where they can receive help.
“I love being a part of her mission and a part of what she started. I also love the fact that everywhere I go I see her and some of her essence is around,” Candyce Martin said.
Witter shared a phrase that Ida Martin loved: “If you’re not in over your head, you’re not deep enough.” She said her mother lived by that phrase and others should apply it to their lives.
“I ask you, where are you in that parable? You can find yourself; we’re all there and the question (is) are you satisfied or do you need to grow?” Witter said.
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