Leda Young of Pleasant Valley Connection receives Community Spirit Award
The Spirit of Connection
by Kelly Rogers
Honoring Pleasant Valley Connection’s 20-year legacy in Greenville
So often, “connection” is a buzzword plugged into elevator pitches, overly dramatic TV ads, and marketing materials. We’re so oversaturated with hearing this word that it’s easy to forget a connection is real, human experience found and created within communities.
Local nonprofit Pleasant Valley Connection (PVC) hasn’t forgotten about the meaning and practice of connection. From fostering a sense of belonging to collaborating with local organizations who share their goals, they’ve always been true to their name.
“The unique thing about Pleasant Valley Connection—and this is where the name comes in—is the connection,” says Leda Young, executive director of the organization. “Much of our work is what we do with people in-house, but we work in partnership with many other local groups as well.”
Among PVC’s partners are Senior Action, which runs programs for seniors at the PVC campus, and SHARE, which provides resources for preschool-aged children and their families. There are too many other partners to name them all, but suffice it to say that PVC knows who to call, no matter what someone’s need may be.
One huge component of PVC’s work is its after-school and summer camp program for kids and teens. Not only do they provide a safe place for children to go after school—easing the burden of parents who aren’t able to pick them up right when school gets out—but they also arrange direct transportation for the kids.
“We have volunteers who come in and help with tutoring, plus folks that come in to mentor and share career information [with] our teens,” Young says. “We even have a Greenville County Schools teacher who comes to teach robotics.”
PVC also prioritizes education for adult community members. About once a quarter, they host an event called PVC Speaks, which offers educational resources, discussions, and expert-led seminars customized to the needs of the community, as explicitly identified by members of the community. During the growing season, PVC hosts a recurring “Green & Things Farmers Market” with Maranatha Farms.
Throughout their 20 years of serving the community, PVC’s commitment to connection has never wavered. They are a shining example of what it means to create and spread community spirit by facilitating meaningful connections.
Pleasant Valley provides a plethora of services to the community, including:
After-School Youth Program
Currently, PVC operates an after-school program, complete with school pickup and transportation. Students from six local elementary schools and two middle schools ride the PVC-provided bus to the center directly from school. Students receive one-on-one help with homework, typically conducted by staff, teachers, and volunteers.
Full-Day Summer Camp
This eight-week camp provides endless fun and engagement for kids aged 4 to 15. Camp goes from 7:30am to 6pm, making it ideal for working parents who aren’t able to take off during the summer.
Catered to older students, this center serves as home base for the 4-H club and the Goodwill GoodGuides youth mentoring program. It also provides STEAM activities, sports and recreation, and other valuable resources.