Women at Leath Correctional Support Children at GGC

Leath toysJune 8, 2016 - Children visiting the Greenwood Genetic Center (GGC) are receiving comfort by way of a new partnership between GGC and Leath Correctional Institution in Greenwood.

Women participating in Leath's Character Arts Program (CAP) learn to crochet and have created a variety of items that are donated to local nonprofit organizations. Toy animals made by women in the program are donated to GGC where they are given to children to comfort them during blood draws or just to ease fears about their visit. When a child chooses their unique handmade toy, they are also issued an 'adoption certificate' to make it official.

To date the program has provided over two dozen of their creations to the GGC clinic.

"The Character Arts Program seeks to teach female inmates positive ways to work through problems in their daily lives," said Heather Green, Case Manager at Leath Correctional Institution. "The inmates in the CAP Program are dedicated to giving back to the community and to help bring comfort to those in need. They understand what it is to be scared, afraid and alone and they seek to bring comfort to those in need."

Participation in the program is a privilege that each inmate must earn by demonstrating positive behaviors and the desire for self-improvement.

"We are very grateful for the donation of these handcrafted toys to our clinic," said Fran Annese, GGC's Clinic Coordinator. "Going to the doctor and having blood drawn is tough for most anyone, but it can be especially hard on a very young child or a child with developmental delays who doesn't understand why it's necessary."

The collaboration was initiated by Sharlene Greene of the GGC Foundation Board of Trustees who has also taught classes at Leath. "I have seen first-hand the pride that goes into the toys made by the inmates, and I know the care and compassion that is given to every patient seen at the GGC," said Greene. "I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to bring these groups together; truly a win-win situation for all concerned."

Because of Greene's passion for both organizations, she shared the idea with women in her Cateechee-Palladian Study Club. The women provided donations of money and supplies to the Leath Character Craft Program for the GGC project.

"Our club is committed to supporting the greater Greenwood community," said program chair of the club, Marge Ball. "Through this project we are encouraging activities that bring pride and satisfaction to women in difficult circumstances, while benefitting children and families facing a stressful medical situation."

The GGC also seeks community support to help this collaboration continue. If you'd like to contribute worsted yarn or polyfill for this project, please contact GGC at (864)941-8100 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Photo: Toys donated by Leath are on display in the GGC clinic waiting room.

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