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Join Us for Virtual Update on the North Columbia Youth Empowerment Initiative

Join us virtually as we enter the next phase of COMPASS in Columbia

Serve & Connect and the North Columbia Youth Empowerment Initiative. along with the Columbia Police Department, Richland County Sheriff’s Department, and the City of Columbia Mayor’s Office will share progress in North Columbia through the COMPASS program.The community-based initiative promotes community safety, community resiliency, and collective well-being.

Join us on our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for a virtual panel on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 4:30 p.m. as community leaders and neighborhood residents share steps of promoting peace in the North Columbia are.
Speakers include:

  • Chief Skip Holbrook, City of Colubia Police Department
  • Sheriff Leon Lott, Richland County Sherrif’s Office
  • Mayor Steve Benjamin, City of Columba

North Columbia Youth Empowerment Initiative panelists include:

  • LT. Robert Calby, City of Columbia Police Department
  • Summer Miller, Student, Eau Claire High School
  • Omari Fox, Lead Community Organizer, Serve & Connect
  • Asia Smalls, Charlette’s Girls
  • Quinn Hayes, Harvest Hope Food Bank

For nearly two years, Serve & Connect has facilitated more than 50 organizational and individual partners focused on bringing about positive change through sustainable police-community partnerships in North Columbia. The evidence-informed work conducted in the 29203 zip code has lead to an expansion of similar programs in Kershaw, Newberry, Fairfield and Orangeburg counties. In 2019, the COMPASS program was selected by the U.S. Department of Justice as one of 14 innovative practices for communitybased crime reduction.

“We are extremely proud of the leadership demonstrated within the North Columbia community,” shares Kassy Alia Ray, founder and CEO of Serve & Connect. “They have come together and worked hand in hand with our police partners to address numerous community needs.”

Omari Fox, Serve & Connect’s lead community organizer, shares about the issues most recently tackled during the pandemic. “Earlier this year, as COVID cases began to rise and radically change the lives of so many, we were able to organize a team of community partners including local businesses, community leaders and law enforcement to ensure residents had access to emergency items. We were able to obtain more than 6,000 masks, deliver over 3,500 meals, and put books, toys and games in the hands of children. The past six months have been challenging but this community has risen to the challenge in more ways than one.”

The COMPASS program is built on four phases. The first phase focuses on trust-building and community engagement. Then, community mobilization and mapping out needs to assets. The partners then work together to implement community-generated plans with a final focus on sustainability and resiliency within the community.

Serve & Connect is currently in phase three of the COMPASS program in North Columbia.