Sowing Seeds founder’s passion to help youth grows from her own rough time

Five years ago, Zakiya Esper, then a juvenile probation officer, tired of funneling kids into ineffective programs. Fueled by her own story of struggling in college but finding a career, she took a leap of faith and created a nonprofit focused on interrupting the school-to-prison pipeline.

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This Edgewood barber’s modesty belies his true impact on neighborhood

Moses Felder is a humble man so prominent in the Edgewood neighborhood that a street honors him. The Hill’s Barber Shop owner doesn’t like to talk about it, but his work to help his neighbors is likely to continue affecting generations to come.

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Love affair between officer, Columbia’s Waverly community stretches 18 years

Deputy Police Chief Melron Kelly’s first assignment as a rookie Columbia cop was part of a much-publicized attempt to change community policing. It’s turned into an 18-year love affair with Historic Waverly.

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By forging new black educators, Clemson education initiative way ahead of recent study

Researchers at the Institute of Labor Economics found that having a black teacher at the elementary level makes it more likely for a poor black student to pursue college. The problem is, South Carolina doesn’t have enough black teachers to go around. Enter Roy Jones and Clemson’s Call Me MISTER program.

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Black teachers have lasting impact on South Carolina students, economy

South Carolina schools need more teachers of color to influence students of color to go on to graduate high school and even go to college. The lack of diversity currently contributes to lesser achievement from students. As the problem grows, our job force shrinks and the gap in economic mobility increases.

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Dreams of restoring Historic Waverly still struggle to become reality

Aspirations have always been part Columbia’s Historic Waverly, a center of South Carolina’s civil rights movement. Two men, James Baker and Frank Houston, now say it’s time to again turn dreams to reality and restore Waverly, but it remains a struggle.

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USC blues professor teaches students more than just music

Walter Liniger is an unlikely blues professor. He isn’t African-American and he isn’t from the U.S. He’s Swiss, and his passion brought him here to study under blues legends. In his USC classes, you won’t find a textbook or PowerPoint. Instead, students learn about themselves through playing music.

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Double amputee shares faith, encouragement through karate

Taekwondo black belt Ulysses Cornelius’ chances of recovery were slim after a two-year battle with infection left him without both legs. But the faith-driven 59-year-old defied the odds by returning to his karate class, where he teaches out of his wheelchair and ministers to local youths.

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Hyatt Park’s Geter marvels at park’s turnaround

Hyatt Park is still a work in progress, but Robert Geter says it’s in a much better state now than it was when he arrived as recreation leader in August 2011. After working with police to weed out negative influences, Geter happily looks back at the turnaround in the North Columbia park.

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