On Tuesday, July 27, a special grand opening ceremony took place for the resident only Waccamaw Store on the Lake Waccamaw campus of Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.
“The Waccamaw Store is meant to teach youth to always try to help others and the importance of keeping campus and areas around them clean as well as the importance of assisting their peers when they need help,” said Recreation Therapist Lauren Geiss. “They are also learning the value of saving money toward something they really want, but also having money available when they want something small like a snack or drink.”
The Waccamaw Store is open twice per week for youth to shop from a variety of options, ranging from small snacks and beverages to coping skills items like fidget spinners and journals to clothing items.
“The only currency accepted in the store are Waccamaw Bucks,” said Geiss.
Waccamaw Bucks are part of the campus life program for youth.
“Waccamaw Bucks are a great way to encourage our residents for positive behavior such as making healthy choices/decisions, developing new coping skills, succeeding academically, developing positive social interaction and relationships, and exhibiting behaviors/attitudes/work ethic and personal responsibility that goes the ‘second mile,’” said BGHNC President/CEO Ricky Creech.
Waccamaw Bucks are awarded by staff for a variety of behaviors and activities, such as helping another resident without being asked, making a healthy decision when previous decisions had been unhealthy, and accepting responsibility for negative behaviors.
“Our staff are given the freedom to determine what behaviors are deserving of receiving Waccamaw Bucks,” said Creech. “We do ask that they reward them sparingly and for significant breakthroughs so that it encourages the youth to understand the value of the reward.”
The Waccamaw Store also provides an opportunity for one of the youth to earn “real world” money as the store manager.
“It is part of the Life Experiences Activity Program (LEAP), so we will have one youth employee run the store, keep it clean and organized, shop for items and keep inventory while earning real life money for their bank account,” Geiss said. “This is just one more way we are preparing our youth for success beyond our campus.”
About Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina
Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina, Inc., has been helping children since 1954. Since then, more than 7,500 children have benefitted from the services of the not-for-profit, 501(c)3 agency. Its mission is to provide a comprehensive array of services for children and youth who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or other family dysfunction. BGHNC offers adoption, family and therapeutic foster care, free children’s therapy, as well as residential care on the campus at Lake Waccamaw. The campus features a SACS-accredited school with a middle and high school curriculum, vocational education, recreation facilities, farm, chapel and cottage life. As many as 320 children are cared for through the residential, community-based services, and school program provided by BGHNC at any given time. BGHNC operates its program, services and activities in compliance with federal nondiscrimination laws. BGHNC is nationally accredited by the Council on Accreditation.