In June 2016, the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center (NCVC) at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) was awarded a grant in the amount of $3.6 million from the National Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) to fund treatment and related services for persons significantly impacted by the June 17, 2015 fatal shooting of nine parishioners at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. The grant project – the Mother Emanuel Community Resiliency Project – is a collaboration of nine (9) community partners with responsibilities for the delivery of an array of treatment, intervention, and support services for the identified victim groups. The grant has identified the direct victims of the June 17, 2015 tragedy to include the following groups: The Emanuel 9 Families; Survivors; Mother Emanuel congregation; along with First Responders, who had considerable exposure to the crime scene, witnesses, extended family members, and those within the community who were adversely impacted by the tragedy.
Mother Emanuel AME Church is one of the nine grant partners, and as a partner has been in receipt of funding for the establishment and operation of a resiliency center – the Mother Emanuel Empowerment Center. Like other resiliency centers that have been established in communities that have been impacted by mass tragedies, i.e. Sandy Hook, Aurora, Boston, etc., the Empowerment Center has been established to serve as a hub to connect those who have been impacted by the church shooting to an array of services that facilitate and foster healing, reconciliation, and resiliency. The Mother Emanuel Empowerment Center (MEEC) is located on the church’s campus at 106 Calhoun Street; thus, accessible to the congregation, extended family members who reside in close proximity to the church, first responders, and others. Services are not restricted to the physical building, and understanding the diverse needs of the target population, services are provided by the staff in locations that are most responsive to the individual’s needs.
On Saturday, November 4, MEEC (Mother Emanuel Empowerment Center) will be celebrating its first anniversary of program operation and serving the various victim groups that have been impacted by the tragedy, while looking forward to another year of providing a menu of supports and services to those who continue to journey through the aftermath of June 17, 2015. Services that are provided include the following: Individual counseling; Support groups for adults and adolescents/teens; Case management; Support group for Emanuel 9 family members; and Wellness sessions/programs. The Empowerment Center’s staff consists of a team of experienced clinicians and support staff, who are employed by partnering agencies – the Medical University of South Carolina and the Charleston/Dorchester Department of Mental Health, and work collaboratively with administrative staff employed by Mother Emanuel AME Church.
On Wednesday, November 8, the center will be hosting an open house for the community. Those who are interested in learning more about the program are invited to visit the center between the hours of 12 Noon – 6 PM (Wednesday, November 8). For more information regarding the Mother Emanuel Empowerment Center and available services, call 843-724-9035 or email the center at www.motheremanuelsupport.org.