Capstone Project Updates

See our Capstone Project Updates

January 2020

The showcase of Soteria at Work (SaW) products was held on Thursday, January 30, 2020 at McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture’s space. The Reclaimed group members, Upstate Class XXVIII, Fall 2019, shared their story about this project and Jerry Blassingame, Executive Director of SaW. Click here for photos from this event.

July 2019

The Riley Fellows’ project, Swamp Rabbit Express – Strengthening Communities, Nourishing Lives, was implemented by team members that participated in the Upstate Class XXVI Fall 2018.

Riley Fellows project provides free meals to more children

On Wednesday, July 31, at Travelers Rest United Methodist Church, a group of Riley Fellows will unveil a food truck for its first service to Greenville County students. With this donation, Greenville County Schools will now have two food trucks serving free, nutritionally balanced meals during the summer months.

“The generous gift of this incredible new food truck will allow us to continue to expand the reach of our Seamless Summer Feeding Program by adding mobile routes into the Berea and Travelers Rest communities. During the regular school year the new food truck will service Berea and Travelers Rest schools with pop-up lunch events, nutrition education opportunities, fresh fruit and vegetables sampling and taste testing new menu items,” said Joe Urban, Director of Greenville County Schools Food and Nutrition Services.” Greenville County Schools To Roll Out Second Food Truck, Furman NewsRiley Fellows unveil new food truck for Greenville County students, Furman News.

June 2018

Although some inmates in the custody of the South Carolina Department of Corrections couldn’t spend Fathers Day with their children, they were able to make the day a little happier for their families. A popular reading program SCDC started with mothers has now been expanded to include fathers.

Bryan Stirling, a member of the Midlands Class IX, Spring 2016 and SCDC Director stated “We started a program called A Mother’s Voice where it’s a recordable book that the parent can read to their children and record it and they can say ‘brush your teeth,’ or ‘go to bed,’ or ‘I love you’ and things of that nature.”

“When parents make decisions to commit crimes their children suffer because they’re not around,” he said. “It helps keep a connection between the parent, who is incarcerated, and the child. Because most of the folks who are incarcerated get out in under five years and it also incentivizes them to behave because you have to be disciplinary free to be part of the program,” Stirling said. Read more

January 2018

The Charleston Undertold History Map team, Lowcountry Class XI, now called the Charleston Justice Project, is aiming to create African-American history walking and driving tours that highlight many of the lesser-known facts about civil rights in the area. Read more about the group’s work in this article, Interactive map in works to tell broader story of African-American history in Charleston. The Post and Courier

September 2017

The group, Teen Achievers ChampionsUpstate Class XXIII, developed a project that will enhance and grow the already successful Teen Achievers Program by creating a sustainable annual “Greenville YMCA Teen Achievers Kick-Off Event” that both delivers a sustainable source of funding for the program (enabling its continuity) and gets the incoming participants excited about the opportunity in front of them (inspiring them to spread the word to their friends and grow the number of participants). This project was featured on Your Carolina (click here for the video) promoting the event, “Greenville YMCA Teen Achievers Kick-Off Event,” that this group organized and held on September 28, 2017. Click here to see photos from the inaugural event.

July 2017

The Midlands Class IX, Spring 2016 participants developed an amazing program called A Mother’s Voice. The group’s mission is to connect children with their incarcerated moms through the joy of reading. Their project includes providing incarcerated moms with recordable books suitable for toddlers and small children. Mothers record their own voice as they read the book and then give the book to their child/children to keep….and read it over and over “together.”

To date, there have been three recordable book distributions – two at Leath Correctional in Greenwood (Sept. 9, 2016 and March 17, 2017), one at Camille Graham Correctional in Columbia (April 2017), and one pending book distribution at the Columbia facility. The second distribution at Camille Graham was scheduled for Easter Monday with State Education Superintendent Molly Spearman in attendance. Unfortunately, she had to postpone her participation with hopes of rescheduling at a later date.

Since the Michelin start-up donation, there has been some successful fundraising, allowing the purchase of the additional 60 books in December 2016. Fifty-seven books were distributed to inmates at Camille Graham and Leath in 2016 and 67 books are available for 2017 distributions.

In addition to the Michelin funds, Bryan Stirling raised $2,000 from Delta Dental; $1,000 was donated by the Forest Acres Rotary Club; funds were received from Karen Moton, of IM Services Recreation; and $500 was received from church groups. The donations and funding are overseen by the Department of Corrections.

February 2017

A group project, Project Discovery, was developed during the Upstate Class XX, Fall 2015. To read about the progression of their project and how partnership shows students opportunities in Spartanburg read the article featured in Greg Tolbert, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club, will be partnering with Broome, Spartanburg High, and soon with Dorman and impact hundreds of students’ lives. The plan is to continue to line up business partnerships and visits.

December 2016

A connection between women who are incarcerated and their child/children. This project was the brainchild of A Mother’s Voice2016 Spring Midland Class IX. Children are the ones that suffer when a parent is incarcerated and absent from their life. A Mother’s Voice provides incarcerated Mom’s with recordable books suitable for toddlers and small children. Moms record their own voice as they read the book and then give the book to their child/children to keep….and hear over and over “together.” The State

November 2016

Greenville deputies, businesses and local charities ask for coats. The group, C3 (Community, Coats and Cops), that participated in Upstate Class XX Fall 2015 are continuing their project as cold weather descends upon Greenville.

October 2016

A Spring 2016 Midlands group from Class IX developed the Mother’s Voice project with support from the S.C. Department of Corrections. The project provides recordable children’s books for women at the state’s two female prisons, the Camille Graham Correctional Institute in Columbia and the Leath Correctional Institute in Greenwood. The purpose of the project is to connect incarcerated women with their children through stories recorded in the inmate mother’s own voice. Read more about how this project has progressed.

August 2016

Midlands Class IX Spring 2016, Spokes and Wheels: Connecting the Dots Project Update: A “graduation” ceremony from our Spokes and Wheels project took place on Monday, August 1, 2016 at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands. The kids were recognized for completing the program and each shared a few things they learned from the experience. For photos from graduation day, click here.  Read More

Home for Stall High’s homeless students big step closer to being built! This project was initiated by the 2016 ConnectionsSC group Charleston: A Warrior H.O.M.E. (Helping Others Mirror Excellence). Read more

March 2016

The Upstate Class XVIII, Fall 2014 developed a project called Melanges that would bring an awareness of diversity to the Anderson County school district students. This year, the program has grown to include some schools in all five of the Anderson County school districts as a way to expose more students to diversity, an important concept for people of all ages to understand. Independent Mail; also view with video.

August 2015

“Dreamnight at the Aquarium” was the brainchild of the South Carolina Aquarium and DLI group, Dreaming with the Fishes, Lowcountry Fall class 2014. As our group of eleven members came together, we were looking for an opportunity that would touch unserved groups in the community but also had the possibility of being sustainable. Being made up of folks from the Charleston area, but also individuals from Orangeburg and Beaufort, our challenge was to find a project that spoke to group members from different communities and also was possible for as many members of our group to participate in. To read more about this project, click here; for photos, click here; and to see the t-shirt that was created, click here.

April 2015

The cops and the kids: Can community outreach transform policing? The Lowcountry Class II group, Mozaik.  Post and Courier

Camp Hope, designed by The Lowcountry Class II group Mozaik, has developed into 3 areas – Camp Hope, Friday Night Lights and the Turning Leaf project.  Click here to view the video for more information about the projects and to hear how these projects have made a positive impact on many lives in the Charleston area.

March 2015

Team Melanges visits Whitehall Elementary-A Global Communication School. Click here to view a video that was created to recognize the strengths that we gain as a community when we embrace and celebrate diversity

Members of Team Melanges, Upstate Class XVIII, have provided an update on their community action project, DIVERSITY AWARENESS WEEK, Anderson School District Five, March 23-27, 2015. For information about their upcoming event, click here; to view their flyer, click here. For photos of the event, click here. For the Diversity Awareness website, click here.

February 2015

Team MARVEL, Upstate Class XVII Spring 2014, completed their community action project, the DLI Youth program, on Saturday February 28. The program, conducted with students from Bridges to a Brighter Future and Upward Bound, was facilitated by Juan Johnson and co-facilitated by Team MARVEL. Through the commitment and hard work of Team MARVEL, it was an excellent program, the level of engagement of the students was top notch and the students provided feedback that will help make the next program of this type even more successful. Congratulations to Team MARVEL! For photos from this event, click here.

May 2014

On Sunday, May 18, Mobi-Rec made an appearance for a Playstreet Event on Burns Street and the Juanita Butler Community Center grounds. Also featured was a Kids’ Fun Run, Kona Ice, City of Greenville Fire Truck, Monster Mural, Bounce House, a Magician, games, activities and MORE!  This was a great way to enjoy time with neighbors and for children to ride their bikes, play games and have FUN! Mobi-Rec was the vision of The Mobilizers (Fall 2012, Upstate Class XIV). Click here to see the advertising flyer.

Autism Academy and Edventure Children’s Museum celebrate autism awareness month with interactive art display. Read more about this Midlands Class VI Spring 2013 group project, Ask4HD.

April 2014

Community team completes garden tool library. Read about the results of The Upstate Class XVI Fall 2013 group project, Tool Cultivators.  TRtribune

August 2013

Members of Fusion, Midlands Class II, Spring 2009, met with the High School students and City Year Corps members in Summerton, S.C. at Wassau Park and refurbished the grounds. Read more

July 2013

“We give each new mom a book for her newborn so that she and the family can begin reading to the baby right away,” said Stephanie Crider, director of Her Place and Newborn Nursery at Regional Medical Center. This program was the result of the Midlands Class V group project, Baby Seeds Program, and supported with a gift of $3,000 from Regional Medical Center Foundation.

Read more about its success!

Nine team members of The Mobilizers (Fall 2012, Upstate Class XIV) along with the City of Greenville unveiled Mobi-Rec (mobile recreation vehicle) in a ceremony on Main Street. The “Mobi-Rec” unit, filled with sports and play equipment, is ready to provide play sessions, mobile camps and other special events, For photos from the ceremony click here.

Read more about the unveiling The Greenville NewsThe Greenville Journal

Flash Animation

June 2013

Diversity Leaders Initiative group, The Mobilizers (Fall 2012, Upstate Class XIV), are creating a “mobile recreation vehicle” in partnership with the City of Greenville Parks and Recreation. Read more

March 2012

Over the Horizon group members (Lowcountry, Class VI) aimed to teach the importance of cultural diversity through an abstract way: understanding biodiversity. Taking students from two culturally diverse high schools, Wando and Burke High School, group members led these students on an exploration of Bulls Island, a wildlife refuge of Cape Romain. Through an excursion into the wild, these students learned how the interdependence of plant and animal life could relate to the interdependence of the diverse cultures and heritages of the Lowcountry. Read more about this project . . .

September 2011

To read the report on the second phase of the Upstate Class IX project, DLI-ted to Bike, and its successes, click here.

December 2010

The Upstate Class IX DLI-ted to Bike group members graduated its first group of “Sterling Spinners” at the Sterling Recreation Center on Thursday December 9th. The graduation ceremony, hosted by the Sterling Recreation Center and in partnership with the Building Dreams Program (Clemson University) and the Greenville Spinners, featured a keynote address from Bryant Young, founder of Amputee in Action. Mr. Young spoke about his personal journey through cycling after an accident that left him with an amputated left leg. He addressed the students with the message that whatever the obstacle or challenge, adopting a motto of “I Can” will open new doors and provide great life opportunities.

The group graduated nine students, who were presented with their bikes and certificates of completition for the program. The group plans to continue riding together with the Greenville Spinners group throughout 2011.

With the graduation of its first group of cyclists from the Sterling Center, program director Rev. Dr. David Taylor announced the continuation of this project with a second group of “Sterling Spinners” to begin in the new year. For photos, click here

October 2010

The Upstate Class IX group, DLI-ted to Bikeclick here for the October update on the Sterling Spinners

September 2010

The Upstate Class IX group, DLI-ted to Bike:  click here for the September update on the Sterling Spinners.

July 2010

The Upstate Class IX group, DLI-ted to Bike, designed their project to help fifteen at-risk middle schoolers to get into the flow of “bike-friendly” Greenville. The middle schoolers will be from the Sterling Community, a neighborhood that is in transition. The DLI project will help provide these students with a more intimate overview of biking, better nutrition habits; and explain how to avoid poor eating and how a lack of exercise can lead to heath problems such as obesity, diabetes and a shortened life span.

The group raised $5,100 for this project. Sponsors include BMW, Holiday Sunshine Fund, Michelin, N.A., Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., Spartanburg Regional, William Griffith, Pamela Jamarik, Rachel McCullough Matthews, Daniel Sanders.

For photos, click here; for more information about DLI-ted to Bike’s project, click here.

Upstate Class IX group, the Bookworms, in an effort to encourage parent-child bonding and heighten community awareness of the importance of reading to and by young children, partnered with Ready 4 Reading ( to develop a network of partners and sustainability plan for the Ready 4 Reading’s Bookshelf Program.  For more information about this project, click here.

This Press Release and photos (1)(2) document the first Ready 4 Reading Book Nook in a child care center in Greenville County.  The project was done by BB&T through a contact made by DLI member Holly Manuel, who was a leader in our Bookworms Project.

February 2010

The Upstate Class VI  group, The Council, brought to fruition their vision of bringing Challenge Day to Greenville High School. Challenge Day is a unique experience through which students and community leaders become more meaningfully engaged in making campus life safer, creating a positive learning environment and establishing better communications among students and their teachers. It achieves its goals through a daylong sequence of powerful, high-energy exercises and reflections in which participants talk about their values and aspirations, while setting new goals that will shape their campus life.

This event took place February 8 – 10, 2010.  It was an incredible success!  The group raised $12,500 for this project.  Sponsors include Clemson University, CH2M Lockwood Greene, Greenville Community Foundation, Michelin, N.A.,  Milliken and Spartanburg Regional.  For more information about The Council’s project, click here.

November 2009

The Midlands Class II group, Fusion, developed the idea of bringing young people together in a service environment, led by the youth corps of City Year, to build leadership skills, relationships and community among high school seniors of different backgrounds in public and private schools in Clarendon County. Clemson’s Education Friendly Communities program will give this initiative a longer life, and continue to lead programs in Summerton that will keep these young leaders united. Ben Boozer of Clemson is leading that effort.

The group has raised nearly $5,000 for this project. Sponsors include First Citizens, Bank of Clarendon, Dr. Rose Wilder, Representative Cathy Harvin, and Tony Cooper.

Enjoy photos from the United Summerton experience; for more about Fusion’s project, click here; for an update from Amy Love, a member of the Fusion group, click here.

The Upstate Class VIII group, Sojourners, developed a Youth Diversity Leaders Initiative (YDLI) that focused on providing an understanding of diversity and the issues in our society, case study discussions, and conversing about the experiences of the DLI class participants.  The event took place at Furman University’s Younts Conference Center of November 21, 2009.  Juan Johnson facilitated the program.  For photos, click here; for more about the Sojourners’ project, click here.

The group raised $3,550 for this project. Sponsors include The United Methodist Church Greenville District, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., the City of Greenville, Greenville Health System University Medical Center, Michelin, N.A., and Spartanburg Regional.

August 2008

The Lowcountry Class II group, Mozaik, set their sights on providing an educational and fun summer program for many of the region’s at-risk, or high-potential youth. Particular emphasis was placed on children between ages 7-12 living in the poorer peninsula communities around Charleston. For more about Mozaik’s project, click here; for photos, click here.

Read more about the success of this program.

May 2008

The Midlands Class I group, The Barrier Breakers, initiated a recognition ceremony for high school students in the Midlands who have done something especially noteworthy to break barriers among diverse groups in their schools or communities. For more about The Barrier Breakers project, click here.

Read more about the project and its results.

December 2004

The Upstate Class II group, Inclusion Infusion, recognized a need to honor “organizations, programs, and individuals for their contributions in promoting international diversity in the Upstate.” To accomplish this mission, the Infusion Inclusion team organized the International Diversity Leadership Recognition Dinner, which was a “regional evening dinner event to recognize and celebrate good deeds and community service by Upstate individuals and organizations who are leaders in the field of promoting international diversity.”  There work continues annually with the Upstate Diversity Leadership Awards Dinner. For more about Inclusion Infusion’s project, click here.

Read more about the annual Upstate Diversity Leadership Awards Dinner.