|There’s no place like home.
Dorothy’s famous line from The Wizard of Oz is supposed to suggest a longing to be where love, comfort and safety overflow. But for too many children, home is where pain, abuse and fear live.
That’s where volunteers like Elizabeth Saulter enter the scene, playing a critical role in the lives of children who hunger for positive attention from a loving adult. Saulter, who works in customer service training delivery, has volunteered at Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter for about 10 years. She is a member of the Junior Woman’s Club of Columbia, which founded the shelter in 1977.
“The children at Palmetto Place come from difficult situations—from physical abuse to sexual abuse to neglect,” Saulter said. “It’s a temporary shelter, so some go into foster care or a permanent children’s home, or they are placed with family members. Some stay at Palmetto Place for months at a time. They range in age from infants to 17.”
Saulter is among a limited pool of volunteers who spend time directly with the children and know the exact location of Palmetto Place, a five-bedroom shelter that can house 16 children. In addition to taking children on outings about five times a year and visiting with them at the shelter, she helps plan special events to raise money to take care of them.
Every minute she spends volunteering with Palmetto Place gives her a sense of peace knowing that she has made a difference in the life of a child. She said she appreciates SCANA’s value of community, which allows her to participate in such a meaningful cause.
“When they give you a hug because you spent time with them—when the little ones hold their arms out for you—there’s no feeling like it in the world,” Saulter said. “They are so appreciative of anything you do. We’re just there to love them and care for them and let them know that there are people who will treat them better than they have been treated at home.”
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