The blessings continue to abound for Emalee Mann and her community.
Mann’s summer service project— Boxes and Bottles of Blessings—not only helped neighbors in need in Abbeville County, but it’s also supporting her education. The senior at Dixie High School in Due West is the winner of the 2022 R.D. Bennett Community Service Scholarship, a $5,000 award, sponsored by South Carolina’s electric cooperatives.
Mann’s project involved holding canned food drives to benefit the United Christian Ministries of Abbeville County (UCMAC) and the Lowndesville Food Pantry. She also collected money and donations to provide reusable water bottles for local children. Inside the bottles were toothpaste, toothbrushes, and floss donated by Lawson Family Dental. With the help of her church, community, and local businesses, Mann also collected school supplies for the Diamond Hill Elementary School Supply Closet and raised more than $1,200 for UCMAC to assist people with electric bills, medical services, and other crisis needs.
According to Mann—the daughter of Little River Electric members, William and Alyssa Mann of Abbeville—the project was about so much more than a scholarship.
“One of the main goals of my project is to make people feel valued and connected to others,” says Mann. “I focused on helping people worry a little less about where to get their next meal or where to obtain help when they feel hopeless, while also giving them opportunities to contribute to the food drives and to help spread the word about local agencies.”
Mann was among 49 high school students who participated this summer in the Washington Youth Tour, a six-day trip to our nation’s capital sponsored by the state’s electric co-ops. Mann represented her local co-op, Little River Electric Cooperative.
As part of the summer experience, students were encouraged to create and implement a community service project in their local communities. Five students, including Mann, completed projects during the summer. The project determined to have the largest community impact won the $5,000 scholarship.
“Emalee’s detailed planning and follow through really impressed the judges,” says Van O’Cain, director of public & member relations for The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, the trade association for the state’s co-ops. “Our goal with this competition is to give our young people a chance to positively impact their community, and Emalee did just that.”
The R.D. Bennett Community Service Scholarship is named for Robert D. Bennett, the first general manager and executive vice president of The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. Bennett, who led the state association from 1950 until his retirement in 1980, strongly believed that electric cooperatives should support their local communities— providing a better quality of life for their members. His spirit of community service is reflected in this scholarship opportunity.