ABOUT TURN90

Filling a gap in a broken system

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.

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But we persevered. And here we are today.

When we reflect, the reason we made it through was our willingness to be honest with ourselves and commitment to learning and getting better. Our first eight years were dedicated to researching, creating, testing, and adjusting, and what we ended up with is the best designed reentry program in the world.

Now our plan is to bring Turning Leaf centers to other cities across South Carolina and then the country.

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