Give Your Age &
Give Something Back

Money. Unfortunately, it makes the world go round. And right now, the world’s at a standstill. We know it’s hard on you; it’s hard on us. But it’s even worse for somebody else. Maybe that widow down the block, the one that always waves when you drive by. Or that kid that always seems to bag your groceries, the one who just can’t seem to remember to put the bread on top. We all need a helping hand at some point in our lives. This week we spotlight six folks who are dedicated to assisting those in need — from the Meals on Wheels staffer to the student taking time out of his day to teach others to read. You can read their stories over the next few pages. And after you’re done, you might feel inclined to donate a little bit of money to the organizations we profiled. Simply write a check to the Charleston City Paper Community Fund and send it to the Coastal Community Foundation, 90 Mary St., Charleston, S.C. 29403.

And remember: a little goes a long way.

Habitat for Humanity’s Nikki Seibert builds affordable, energy-efficient homes

A Green Hammer

Nikki Seibert was halfway home when the skies opened. Unfortunately, she was on a bicycle, with a trash can strapped to the frame with duct tape, filled with 32 three-ring binders. Half an hour later, the 25-year-old walked into her first U.S. Green Building Council class on LEED-certified homes (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Sopping wet, she looked around and realized she was likely the youngest person in the room. Then she introduced herself and began to teach.

Martha Kelly and the staff at East Cooper Meals on Wheels nurture the community

Support and Nourishment

In this time of economic downturn, many seniors across the country find it increasingly difficult to manage their money. Many often have to choose between paying bills or buying food. Many are on fixed incomes or suffer from physical ailments or disabilities as well. For East Cooper Meals on Wheels, tough times like these only inspire determination, creativity, and support.

Kathy Gehr teaches better living through writing

The Write Stuff

You wouldn’t think the act of simply putting pen to paper would be good for counteracting the emotional burdens of living in poverty. But it does, according to Kathy Gehr, a writing teacher and chair of the English department at Burke High School.

Keith Merrill and the Surfrider Foundation target cigarette butts and dog poop

Life’s a Beach

Keith Merrill is a 54-year-old orthopedic surgeon who lives in West Ashley and owns rental property on Folly Beach; that’s not the kind of bio you might expect from a life-long surfer who just four years ago became involved with the Surfrider Foundation. But, as they say, don’t judge a book by its cover. And as Merrill says, “You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give.”

Keywi Terry takes time away from school to help others improve their reading skills

A Good Read

It’s Monday, a busy day for Keywi Terry. After a Sunday spent poring over microbiology and probability and statistics texts for his Trident Technical College studies, he’s now helping other people with math at the T.C. Drayton Center on Meeting Street. He barely has time to grab a cup of coffee as he tutors three different students, each with their own problems.

Julia Matthews teaches an autistic child actor on the set of Dear John

The Star Treatment

Julia Matthews always knew she was meant to make a difference in this world, but she never knew how much of an impact she could make until she started working with autistic kids. Now her work with the nonprofit Carolina Autism takes her all over Charleston, into the homes of families with autistic children, and even onto movie sets.

How you can be a part of Philanthropy Week

Give a Little Bit

Recently, Capital One Financial Co. conducted a national survey of charitable giving practices by adults living in the U.S. According to their findings, more than 80 percent of the people surveyed have become more concerned about their finances, leading half to either reduce giving or to stop altogether.

Some local agencies in need of your help

Give a Little Bit

Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic, Lowcountry Food Bank, Lowcountry Housing Trust, Lowcountry Orphan Relief, School’s Out!