Savannah Impact Opens New Facility - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/05/05

Savannah Impact Opens New Facility

Worried about crime on the streets? One of the keys is getting ex-cons to do something productive with their lives when they get out of jail. That's just what the Savannah Impact program does, and now it has a new building to make the program even bigger and better.

Savannah Impact has been around for several years. They used to be located on the corner of Drayton and Oglethorpe. It was dingy, small, not a very welcoming place.

The new home for the program is located on the corner of East 33rd and Drayton Streets. The inside is even more impressive than the outside.

"It was due time for it," said Joseph Hankerson, who will be using this new facility all the time. He's on probation for selling drugs. He got involved with Savannah Impact two years to clean up his act.

"It's so much to help you out, it's not like they just give you a parole officer or probation officer and say keep a job, stay good and out of trouble, they give you opportunity to use your time wisely."

Savannah Impact offers classes on substance abuse and financial analysis, and you can go there to get a GED, even a job. All that, under one roof.

The biggest reason Savannah Impact needed a new facility was space. Right now there are more than 400 men and women on parole or probation who are involved in the program. Soon there will be children here too.

"Chatham County Juvenile Court is now a partner with this and they've assigned a probation officer here and he brought a caseload of about 15 juveniles," said the program's Keith Vermillion.

No matter what the age, Savannah Impact's mission is to improve this community's quality of life.

The new facility has been open for about six weeks now. There will be a formal ribbon cutting ceremony tomorrow.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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