Education & Empowerment - Beginnings SC

March 18, 2015 | Posted By: Connor Watkins

Beginnings SC

Beginnings SC has been in business for three years, but just recently joined the Greater Lexington Chamber and celebrated its membership with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Beginnings SC, located at 1823 Gadsden Street in Columbia, was co-founded by Cara Senterfeit and Mary Reaves. According to the website, this is “the first affiliate office of BEGINNINGS for Parents of Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in South Carolina to focus on proactive intervention and parent education and empowerment.”

Both women are passionate about the business and the impact they can have on so many families.

“Hearing loss does not discriminate - all social-economic groups are impacted. We are a one-stop, unbiased, professional resource to help parents, teachers, and professionals select and link children who are deaf or hard of hearing to critical resources at the right time,” said Senterfeit, who serves as Executive Director. “Mary and I brought the model of Beginnings to SC, but as we are the first state to start a chapter outside NC, we’ve had to start from the beginning here in SC.”

With clients covering the entire state, joining the Greater Lexington Chamber was a strategic move.

“We serve the state of SC, but many of the families with whom we work live in Lexington County. That was a large part about why we chose to join the Lexington Chamber first,” said Senterfeit, who foresees a bright future that includes growth. “We are still building capacity. With that will be full-time employment and the ability to reach many, many families and professionals.”

Right now, the business has just two part-time employees, so more funding is essential. And an opportunity for the community to help this organization is right around the corner.

Beginnings is hosting a golf tournament next Friday, March 20 at Cobblestone in Blythewood. The Captains Choice tournament will begin with a shotgun start at 11:45 am. Practice and registration begins at 10:30 am with Bloody Marys provided by Chilled Dills. A team of four can register for $400, which includes lunch and dinner, as well as dinner music by the Ruby Brunettes. You can register online at scbegin.org or email csenterfeit@scbegin.org for info.

“We have professional degrees and training in the field of deafness and hearing loss, and over 25 combined years of work experience with deaf and hard of hearing children and adults,” Senterfeit said. “We are the only organization in SC that provides expert guidance to all families of children with hearing loss, ages birth-21 years old. There is no qualification process and never a cost to the family.”

According to Senterfeit, “everything” about the job is gratifying, especially the thanks they get from the families they help.

“Kids build their brains and vocabulary based on hearing or seeing language. Hearing loss blocks learning language in a typical way,” she said. “It’s great when we are able to meet families, give them the information and connection to resources they need so their child is able to acquire language that meets their needs. The best is when a parent says ‘Thanks! I don’t know how I could have done this without you.’”

For more information, visit www.scbegin.org. You can also find Beginnings on Facebook and follow on Twitter. You can contact Beginnings by phone at (803) 216-1171.