The Agape Family Life Center opened in 2007 with the mission of nurturing wellness — educational wellness, physical and mental wellness, family wellness — in South Carolina’s poorest county.
The Center first opened its 22,000-square-foot fitness center in 2007 with the goal of providing a single location for individuals to improve their physical fitness, achieve their goals and dreams, and become mentally and emotionally healthy.
It has become much more than a place to work out.
“We are in the business of improving and changing the lives of families in Jasper County,” said board member Dr. Ponchitta Young. “Our focus is meeting the needs of families, but we’re also meeting the needs of the community. We look at it from a holistic approach.”
The center offers recreational activities, space for sports like skating, volleyball, tennis and basketball, and a multi-purpose gym. It serves as the base for multiple community activities including a GED preparation course, food distribution services for families in need, and a substance abuse support group with weekly meetings and counseling sessions. The center can also be rented by individuals, businesses and organizations for a range of events and programs.
Agape’s food pantry fills a tremendous need in the community, as evidenced by the fact that some folks start lining up at 6 a.m. — some four hours before the food truck is scheduled to arrive — to ensure they’re able to feed their families. Up to 400-500 families per week benefit from the nutritional offerings provided by Agape’s food pantry.
The Center’s educational offerings benefit children and adults alike through academic services for students as well as a high school equivalency program for adults that will see two participants receive their diplomas this summer.
Agape also offers after-school care and summer camps that help keep young people on the right path and allow parents to work to support their families.
Earlier this year, Agape launched its 2020 Debt Free campaign with the target of paying off the remaining loan for the community center by February 2020 at the latest, and they need your support to reach that goal in the next nine months. Paying off the building loan would free up resources to launch new and expanded programs to aid families, children and senior citizens in one of the most under-served regions of South Carolina.
The Agape Family Life Center is committed to improving and changing the lives of families in Jasper County, where nearly 20 percent of residents live in poverty.
“There’s a greater need for children and also for senior citizens,” Young said. “Having the building paid off would give us an opportunity to do so many more things.”