September 20, 2021

The Sense of Community Runs Deep in the Grand Strand

Years ago, the coalition of efforts to help the homeless community in Horry and Georgetown Counties was split amongst 65 agencies. 

In its genesis, New Directions of Horry County worked to consolidate the independently run homeless shelters in the area under one umbrella agency. Shortly after reorganizing, it became clear that New Directions would need to go beyond the fundamentals of providing basic needs to truly confront the issue of homelessness in the community. 

For many individuals on the streets, solving the problem means overcoming addiction, finding steady work, re-learning some basic life skills, and much more. New Directions wanted to do more than band-aid the effects of living on the streets; they tried to get to the root of the problem. They implemented a comprehensive program, Back To Work, Back To Life, that aims to overcome the myriad issues that often lead to homelessness, providing participants more success in their recovery.

Alongside the impact New Directions makes to those affected, founding board chairman Mary Jo Rogers of South Atlantic Bank says the group has also worked diligently to bring local issues like homelessness and addiction to light. 

“We had 20 or 30 people dying a month from opioid addiction in our town, and people weren’t really aware,” said Rogers. “What we’ve done with New Directions is bring the issues to light and talk about the solutions and what we’re doing to solve the problem.”

Rogers, who works at our Myrtle Beach office and serves as executive vice president and chief lending officer for the bank, is not new to helping those in need. Her father was a minister who always encouraged her to give. She learned early on how much of a difference she could make to a community by giving her time and energy to worthy causes. 

Rogers isn’t the only SAB banker serving on the New Directions Board of Directors. Alison Roark, a mortgage loan officer, also serves as the organization’s secretary. Their philanthropic spirit bodes well with colleagues at South Atlantic Bank, as community involvement is deeply ingrained in the company’s culture. 

“South Atlantic Bank is a very good corporate citizen in that we have a program where each of our employees gets a paid day that they can give to any organization,” Rogers explained. “Our employees are involved in many different organizations — from Boys and Girls Club to Rotary to Habitat for Humanity. It’s a great way for us to give back, make a difference in the community, and it makes everyone feel good.”

South Atlantic Bank and New Directions consistently try to make Myrtle Beach better for its residents from all walks of life. The two organizations have overlapping missions — to empower the community with resources and financial security. 

If you want to learn more or get involved with New Directions, check out their website.

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