Turning Leaf was founded by Amy Barch, who never planned to start a nonprofit. In 2011, she was volunteering in the Charleston County jail when judges began sentencing people to her class on thinking to make good decisions. A lightbulb went off. She realized her volunteer class could be much more. Amy quit her job in 2012 to work full time on the project.
The first few years were really rough. We knocked on a lot of doors and heard a lot of no’s. There were times we almost ran out of money and times we weren’t sure if the program was working. For a year we didn’t win a grant over $1,500. The road to a having a salary and staff and a sustainable organizable seemed very, very far away.