How to Apply
South Carolina STRONG is a two-year minimum residential educational community.
Eligibility: No hard and fast criteria exist other than a strong motivation to change one’s lifestyle, an ability to interact in an active fast paced environment, and reasonably good health. Because our work ethic is strong and much of our learning about getting along with others occurs in vocational training, residents must be in good enough health to fully participate. We are not able to take sex offenders or “dual diagnosis” applicants because we believe they need professional counseling and we don’t offer any. We are not able to accept people who require psychological medication.
Area Served: South Carolina
Fees: None. Donations are welcome.
Residents working within the environment to care for all our needs receive no salary, and in consideration for which they receive their housing, clothing, education, entertainment and all services at no cost. Three months prior to graduation, residents get jobs outside the SC STRONG complex. We set aside 50% of each paycheck to cushion the cost of the return to the community at large, and 50% goes to SC STRONG to cover room, board, clothing, etc.
Criminal Justice System Referrals: SC STRONG accepts referrals from every aspect of the court system ranging from diversion and alternative sentencing, through probation and parole. We cooperate with all agencies of the criminal justice system and their representatives in terms of record keeping and accountability for residents referred by the Courts. We assume responsibility for notifying such agencies when court-referred residents leave SC STRONG under conditions that violate the terms of their parole/probation. About 75% of our residents come through the criminal justice system.
Intake Procedure: If you are interested in becoming a resident of SC STRONG you may write to us from jail or come to our building 24 hours a day and wait for an interview. Prospective residents should not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol for the interview. If you are, we’ll ask you to sit and wait till you’re coherent to do a real interview. We consider the interview the first step in becoming a part of our community. Since we charge no fee, the only thing that matters to us is to be there for people who really want to change. The only thing prospective residents have to offer us is their word. We take that word very seriously. When the person commits to staying two years, we want that commitment to mean something. NO LIES will be tolerated in the interview. If the person lies “to get in”, and we discover the lie, the person will be asked to leave. We really want to start on a new note, where the interview is the first step to a new life of honesty and decency and integrity.
Don’t bring any personal possessions (including watches, rings, etc.). Clothing and everything you need will be provided.
Other: Residents range in age from 18 to 68. Rules for acceptance and participation in the program are the same for everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation or handicap. Unfortunately, we have more applicants than we have spaces, and we have to turn some people down because of lack of room. If we do accept you, we know it can be hard work to truly change, but we are there with you, believing you can do it, and we want you to know the process, like life, can be hard, but can be lots of fun too.