We are not our story

Social Impact Events allow us to get to know the families we serve intimately & throughout these events we are welcomed into their stories and lives. What is always so amazing to me is how resilient these little kids are and how they do not let their stories hold them back.

Over the past year I’ve pondered this and have taken a hard look at how I have identified with my story for so long and how freeing it is to finally leave the past in the past and begin living for the present. This takes practice not perfection, one day at a time.

My favorite poet writes:

“Our ability to find something to love, and to love again for the first time, depends greatly on how we resolve and integrate where we’ve been before. A great model for us exists in the chambered nautilus, and exquisite shell creature that lives along the ocean floor. The Nautilus is a deep sea form of life that inches like a soft man and a hardshell finding his prayers along the bottom. Over time it builds a spiral shell, but always lives in the newest chamber.

The other chambers, they say, contain a gas or liquid that helps the Nautilus control is buoyancy. Even here, a new lesson in how to use the past: live in the most recent chamber and use the others to stay afloat.

Can we, in this way, build strong chambers for our traumas: not living there, but breaking our past down till it is fluid enough to lose most of its weight? Can we internalize where we’ve been enough to know that we are no longer living there? When we can, life will seem lighter."

It is not by accident that the Nautilus turns it slow digestion of the bottom into a body that can float. It tells us that only time can put the past in perspective, and only when the past is behind us, and not before us, we can be open enough and empty enough to truly feel what is about to happen. Only by living in the fresh chamber of the heart can we love again and again for the first time. “

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting with Matt Hampton, a local writer who is an incredible soul. He and I took a walk. We talked a lot about not being our story and not being our past but moving forward with the truth that the past has happened but we no longer need to be defined by our stories. Hope you enjoy the read. Thanks Matt!

Hot off the Press (Release): Supporting our friends at Doors to Dream

We are so thrilled for our cool comrades at Doors to Dream, and honored to have had a hand in helping them plan their first “after school” project. We can’t wait to see how they grow this program, endowing Charleston and beyond with a fresh, eager crop of humanitarians. But first, a look back on what they achieved at kick-off:

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Doors to Dream Builds Next Gen Philanthropic Spirit at Local High School  

Charleston, SC (May 23, 2019) – Providing the vehicle that transports the will to serve into substantive action, Doors to Dream is mobilizing some of the youngest philanthropists in the Holy City. Too often stuck between a reputation of blind self-interest and an absence of resources to effect real change, today’s youth wish to address the former with “I want to help,” but the latter leaves them with “I don’t know how.” Doors to Dream aims to free them from the stereotype, and fortify them for life-changing service.

At an inaugural event toward that mission, the non-profit recently partnered with Charleston County’s Burke High School to galvanize a group of 10th graders for a compassionate cause: replenishing the supply of toys for the patients of MUSC Children’s Hospital. In the weeks leading up to the event, Burke faculty identified six student leaders for the project, and from there planning for a toy drive, fundraiser car wash, and class-wide assembly was under way. With their sponsoring teachers and the Doors to Dream executive team available for consult, the sophomore team took charge of every aspect of the initiative, from obtaining MUSC’s Child Life management’s “wish list” of toys, to staffing and marketing the car wash, to conceptualizing and coordinating the culminating rally.

That final event took place on May 8 in the auditorium of Burke High, and incorporated the school’s entire 10th grade class. Following brief presentations from the student leadership team and Doors to Dream Executive Director Carey Dunn, the class was divided into eight color-coded teams and armed with competition guidelines. In a relay race-style format, each team was to organize their share of the $2,000 worth of donated puzzles, Legos, crafts supplies, magna tiles, and other toys into bins prepared for delivery to the children’s hospital. Every single student was engaged with a conspicuous and critical role, from caller to runner to quality control, and at the sound of the gong they were off. Team Silver ultimately took the bragging rights, but every teen walked away with the sweet swagger of having furthered a meaningful cause. And as they watched their student leaders load the school bus with the bins of goodies and drive off toward a most deserving point of delivery, they were all moved with an authentic spirit of compassion and confidence in their undeniable impact. Such a profound outcome would not have resulted without commitment, trust, and teamwork.

“We believe authentic relationships serve as the foundation to all meaningful and positive growth, and therefore understood the value and importance of building relationships with teachers, staff, and students at Burke before inserting ourselves into this community,” remarked Dunn. “Watching our student leaders, and the pursuit of excellence they projected, inspired their fellow classmates to take pride in the competition and leave feeling connected to a meaningful community outreach project.”

This was evident in the happiness and hustle shown by each student participant, and summed up beautifully by one: “This project has activated something inside me that was already there, but now it is awake. I feel empowered to do more for the community.”

This was just the beginning. The Doors to Dream after school program officially launches Fall 2019. Please visit doorstodream.org to find out more information and learn about ways to support us. Inquiries about our programming are welcomed at admin@doorstodream.org.

About Doors to Dream

Doors to Dream is a non-profit organization based in Charleston, SC. We invest directly in Charleston’s underserved youth to empower and equip them to pursue their dreams with determination and faith. We are committed to developing programs for these students that dismantle the detrimental effects of the opportunity gaps they face. Doors to Dream will use after school hours to engage students in authentic mentorship relationships and support the creation and completion of student-designed social impact projects. Unlocking for each student a greater awareness of who they are and what they are capable of will transform their confidence and set them on a path towards lifelong success.  



The Importance of a Table. Yes, a Table.

These days, the good people at The New Primal are putting even more emphasis on how folks eat than what they eat. As purveyors of healthy, tasty, convenient food, this might appear to run counter to a solid business model. But for an outfit that is fast earning a reputation for having the best-tasting and cleanest jerky and cooking sauces (with, incidentally, the most adorable packaging), it does not. They already know you'll be happy you threw that packet of BBQ Meat Thins into your backpack and emptied that bottle of Noble Made Citrus Herb marinade over your crockpot chicken - and that you'll remember to enjoy their products again and again. But now, they want you to enjoy them more, well, communally.

The New Primal's "Return to the Table" campaign is a call to its customers - loyalists and newbies - to make mealtime more intentionally connecting again. Sure, they recognize that life gets busy, paths get crossed and, frankly, something's gotta give. They just don't want that something to always be dinner. Or lunch. Or breakfast/brunch. And The New Primal is suggesting that, perhaps with the help of its easy and versatile sauces, the time to gather around the table can - and should - be reinstituted.

But that notion takes for granted one basic element: the table. And it was recently brought to the attention of these good people that this simple furnishing is often missing from the completion of another company's mission. Local nonprofit One80 Place has saved over 9,000 Charlestonians from homelessness in the 35 years they've been serving the City's underserved. But when its clients move into their new homes, they are often without the most basic pieces of furniture. As much as they would love to "return to the table," they find themselves without a table to which they can return.

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So, with our help, The New Primal mobilized to start resolving this dilemma. Under a beautiful late April Lowcountry sky, a dozen colleagues from the company brought lumber, tools, and the swagger of temporary carpenters to Wragg Square. There they met representatives from One80 Place and Homeless to Hope, the outfit that partners with One80 Place to collect furniture donations and deliver them to post-program residences of the nonprofit's beneficiaries.

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 Over the course of two hours, the modest crew divided into teams, each constructing a small dining table and pair of chairs. When the sawdust settled, there was a total of 4 tables and 8 chairs ready for delivery, to be set for meals and gathered around. And since woodworkers cannot work by wood alone, there was plenty of snacking (jerky, of course) and the musical motivation of a handpicked playlist - from Michael Franti's "I'm Alive" to Technotronic's "Pump Up the Jam."

Time and again, we are reminded that there is no shortage of good companies doing great things in Charleston. And when they meet up to fulfill a symbiotic need, it gives us goosebumps every time. Thanks so much to The New Primal, One80 Place, and Homeless to Hope for getting us all gushy once again.

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Hold on to your HEARTS

Our fearless and faithful leader, Hope Caldwell, tried to warn us. But when we saw the photos - and read the bios - of the two young benefactors of our most recent clubhouse build, our tickers were toast.

Both boys have a smile that will incite a concurrent melt and flutter, and learning of their loves - from baseball to best friends - will spur a soar. But it’s the struggle they share in common that will threaten to nearly break any heart: in the fall of 2017, both were diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). To consider the despair and anxiety over such a diagnosis is just the beginning of that heartache. Learning of the very real, daily battle being fought by Milo Sligh and Gaige Hernandez is to understand how they are being robbed of the carefree childhood each so deserves. Infusions, injections, and biopsies. Scheduled clinic visits, unplanned inpatient stays, and emergency room admissions. School absences, playdates missed, and holidays in the hospital. It is more than any of the youngest among us should be asked to bear.

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So we are called to try to restore a little bit of the splendor of childhood by constructing clubhouses for kids like Milo and Gaige. And on February 28, we partnered with Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) to plan and co-sponsor a truly extraordinary build day for these two “clubhouse kids.” Members, clients, and employees of the global sales organization had traveled to Charleston to experience the Lowcountry luxury of their newest member property, Hotel Bennett. They also came to make some real social impact, and on introduction of their scheduled event, we had 60 eager hearts well before we had 60 sets of hands.

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For over three decades, ALHI has been linking meeting and incentive marketplace professionals to a portfolio of more than 250 of the most esteemed hotels, resorts, cruise ships, and travel partners on the planet. With a mission to match top industry talent with distinctive independent properties and emerging luxury brands, it is apparent that ALHI’s strategy is a thoughtful one. So it is no surprise that the organization’s associates and members would bring that same level of conspicuous care to a cause and an event like this.

 

The group enjoyed and celebrated the splendor of Hotel Bennett - from the luxurious guestrooms to the exceptional cuisine and cocktails - and marveled at the surrounding city. Then, under a perfectly cloud-studded late winter sky, the ALHI team gathered for an afternoon in Marion Square. Lowes provided many of the supplies and gear, and Other Brother Entertainment kept the beats just above the sound of drills and saws. In just two energetic hours, a pair of clubhouses were constructed, as precious as they were sturdy. Gaige and Milo were right there to not only bear witness to the build and accept its gifts, but to experience a day dedicated to putting something back into their childhoods.

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To meet these tender warriors was a blessing, and to lovingly build and present to each of them a dream clubhouse - a special space of their own - was an honor for us and for our incredible partners at ALHI.

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A Profound Winter Turnaround

A full belly.

A sheltered body.

An optimistic soul.

 Needs may be basic, but not always simple. Fulfillment of one may mean comfort for an hour, while achievement of another can last a lifetime. But all have requirements, from the procurement of modest means and resources to the gifts of compassionate service and philanthropy. It is a very special organization that can gather – and galvanize – all that is required for the breadth of human needs. Here in Charleston, that organization is One80 Place.

 For nearly 35 years, the nonprofit that began as a small interfaith ministry has been feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and bolstering the underserved in the Holy City. In that time, its staff and volunteers have served over 2.5 million meals, set more than 40,000 warm beds, and saved over 9,000 Charlestonians from a lifetime of homelessness. From immediate comfort to a long-term path forward, One80 Place meets critical human needs – and we couldn’t be more honored to provide partners in their effort.

 Our most recent partnership was with Leo Pharmaceutical. The company brought 140 team members to Charleston in early February, and KLH Group organized and facilitated a dynamic service event to benefit One80 Place. The gathering at Charleston Place kicked off with team-building (disguised as balloon popping) and trivia, followed by heartfelt addresses from Charleston mayor John Tecklenburg, Leo Pharmaceutical leadership, and a trio of One80 Place employees. Then it was time to get to work (disguised as play).

 As a way to smooth the transition from temporary shelter to permanent home, One80 Place has a tradition of providing “move-in kits” to those they aid. Essential items from cleaning supplies to kitchen gear are collected, packaged, and presented at each special “homecoming.” On that afternoon two weeks ago, our visiting friends from Leo Pharmaceuticals were charged with assembling 180 move-in kits. The catch? They had to procure every item – with the assistance of ten representatives from One80 Place – by way of a scavenger hunt. It was in this quest that a spirit of teamwork and culture of generosity was further cultivated.

 Truth be told, we sometimes so lose ourselves in the fun experienced during these events that we momentarily forget the real impact of the service. But perhaps that’s how it should be. The effect is still profound, and we’ve helped to fulfill more intangible - but nevertheless basic - needs that connect us all:

 

A feeling of joy.

A spirit of camaraderie.

A sense of purpose.

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What the Heck are Social Impact Events?

This fall we had the opportunity to participate on a panel discussion at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. The topic was on “Success Through Service”. Hope had the pleasure of working with John Fikany, a 13 year Microsoft Veteran on developing a talk centered around humanizing corporate America.

Take a peak at this quick 2 min video to get a sense of Social ImpactEvent.

Second Quarter Roundup

Scholars and scientists assert that kindness, social connection, and gratitude are key drivers of happiness.

They could have used KLH group as a case study, because we are goose-bumped with good vibes and grinning ear to ear after the second quarter we just experienced. Here's a recap:

 

social impact:

How do you package 110,000 meals in 90 minutes? You partner with a fabulous corporate client to host the kind of affair that draws 800 guests. With so many hands making light (and life-changing) work, relief for residents of disaster-stricken areas and schoolchildren in developing countries were fed more expeditiously by way of our first big second quarter event.

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The needtobreathe classic 

Later in the spring, another powerhouse collaboration further propelled the effort for worldwide sustainable healthcare. It was with great pleasure  that we partnered with Grammy-nominated NEEDTOBREATHE on the golf classic bearing their name. Benefiting OneWorld Health, the annual tournament and concert event has, to date, raised over $1.2 million to build and operate medical centers in Africa and South America.

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something to celebrate!

Capping off such a tremendous season, we were overwhelmed to receive the 2018 Social Impact Entrepreneur Award. Presented by Local Choice, the award recognizes businesses “creating stronger, prosperous communities” – without question, that is our aim.

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event production

With no shortage of great places to party and great people to toast in Charleston, it seems the celebrations comes easy around here. Still, it is only with time, creativity, and a bit of muscle that each of our shindigs come together. Spring of 2018 was highlighted first by the production of a high-touch corporate outing at a five-star Lowcountry property. We had our hands in everything from the fine linens and décor to the incredible live music and oyster roast, and we made sure each guest was on the golf roster or the spa schedule. But the gorgeous nightly sunsets? That was all Mother Nature. And she smiled on us again in May as we presented The Harbor Entrepreneur Center’s 2018 Founder’s Ball. Blue skies were the backdrop at Pacific Box & Crate for some semi-fancy fun (craft cocktails meets cornhole), as more than 200 local entrepreneurs were represented. Considering the innovative talent in attendance and the cool urban venue, we figured a champagne-pouring aerialist was only fitting. Indeed, our event production cup overfloweth.

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A GIANT THANK YOU

We feel it in our hearts more than our heads are able to say.

From the planning meetings with partners to the culminating big event… from the “typical” office days that run like clockwork to the frantic logistical hiccups that somehow find resolution… we look around us and feel gratitude every day, without exception.

To the clients who put their faith in us, the vendors who share their efforts with us, and the partners who take the journey with us: thank you.

We are collectively proud of the road behind us, and positively giddy about the road ahead.

Social Impact Event at Seamark Ranch

We don’t just dare to dream — we dare to act. This comes from our innate desire to find a better way and succeed...We execute every day, without ever taking our eyes off the possibilities ahead. We know that nothing great can be accomplished without courage. That’s why we roll up our sleeves, test our limits and dare to be bold in all we do.
— Newell Brands

When given the opportunity to partner with a company like Newell Brands, everyone rolls up their sleeves and the dreams get big and real, quickly. Looking to connect this incredible team of volunteers with a larger and incredibly powerful social impact opportunity, KLHGroup delivered in spades creating a day of service at Sea Mark Ranch.

Seamark Ranch, located on a beautiful 468-acre campus in Northeast Florida, opened in 2007 and has since served over 100 children with its homes, on-campus school, and extensive childcare programs. Through the equestrian program, farm care, and the provision of a safe and loving home, each child is set on a journey towards healing, while developing life skills to support their future independence as adults.

KLHGroup’s exceptional team took care of all the logistics and preparations so that the teams of volunteers from Newell would be able to install shelving units in the pantry, re-furbish and update the physical buildings and the grounds through painting, pruning and planting, as well as have enough time to play kickball and provide a listening supportive ear to the children and staff at Sea Mark. “It was amazing to have everyone out here, we don’t get that very often. The people that came out were amazing people, I really appreciated having them here to talk to.”-SeaMark Ranch Resident

With the fundamental vision of “Dream Big, Dare to Act” driving both Newell and KLHGroup, the success of this event was like watching the grand finale of the fireworks at 4th of July- you leave in awe of what you saw and experienced!

Catching Up after a very busy Fall

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.

KLHGroup created its own mosaic of successful and incredibly meaningful events throughout the Fall 2017 season. As always, the interwoven constant to each event is the incredible people with whom we get to collaborate. Hope and her team continue to make taking what could be an ordinary logistical plan from paper to a work of art look easy, here is a sampling of our fall at KLHGroup.

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The Governor Thomas Bennett house provided the most exquisite backdrop for an intimate “Give Back” community event in early November. With Event Works luxurious table settings and on point setup, they set the Good Food Catering up for the delicious southern inspired meal to shine. The addition of this beautiful meal to the event allowed for the hard working team to break bread together and cheerfully celebrate what happens when you put aside your own needs for the day and invest in a project bigger than yourself.

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The BusShed in Downtown Charleston provided the perfect space and ambiance for the highly anticipated and exciting annual Low Country Hoedown.  Annual events are the kind of fun that leave you fulfilled and yet eager to be back again for the next one. The Low Country Hoedown is definitely this type of event. This year 1500 eager attendees enjoyed 2 incredible bands, and food and drink from over 40 vendors. Each competing for the famous taxidermy squirrel! Can’t wait until next year!

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Returning to a favorite event destination of KLHGroup, Mingo Point, Hope and her team, enjoyed the pleasure of planning and executing an intimate wedding for a couple whom were a delight to work. Focused on intimate details of showcasing their union and the family that they have become, KLHGroup was honored to be a part of the “Blessing of the Family” and the celebration that followed. 

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This year has brought many fresh faces and creative work to KLHGroup. We enter the holiday season, hearts full and thankful to the incredible clients who elevate what we do from work to a joy, to our new team of dedicated employees committed to ensuring that each event is as successful as possible, and to our vendors who bring the special magic to make each event shine. Look forward to hearing from you in 2018 at our new office 78 Line Street, Charleston, SC.

A Dreamy Escape

Draping live oaks, majestic southern reds, and ancient pines envelop the entry way into Palmetto Bluff, delivering you into an untouched preserve of rich sea landscape and a magical journey from the busy world of demands and deadlines to a quiet respite of luxury and relaxation.

Fall in the LowCountry is one of my favorite times of year, with the coolers air settling in and the surroundings in full bloom. Using the land to guide the design, respecting and maximizing the topography and miles of marsh and river’s edge, Hope and her team paired each location with exquisite lighting, furniture, and food. Guests were swept from one movie-esque scene to another, experiencing luxury at its highest caliber. From the unique outdoor lounge, to the folk sounds of a local bluegrass band, to delicious food and drink, guests left begrudgingly, for why would you ever want to leave.