Our Story

Our Story

Helping Hands was founded as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization and became Helping Hands, Incorporated on April 11, 1973. The prompt for such a facility arose after a group of Aiken citizens realized abused, abandoned and/or neglected children were being temporarily housed in the Aiken County jail due to lack of foster home space. The agency began with contributions from the Gregg-Graniteville Foundation and the Aiken County government and became a United Way agency in 1979.

These concerned citizens contacted Father Howard M. Hickey of St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church and asked for his help in locating a space to provide shelter. With Father Hickey’s aid, our first location went into operation in 1973. This large home was located on York Street in Aiken which was leased to us for $1.00 per year from the church. A home for ten teenage girls was opened in North Augusta in 1980 and a home was opened shortly thereafter for ten teenage boys in Perry, S.C. Helping Hands eventually purchased the York Street location in 1983.

The combination of distance between houses, increased operating costs and the difficulty of finding experienced house-parents for three separate locations proved to be too much, so all locations were closed and Helping Hands moved to the current, and permanent, 58-bed facility on John Elliott Lane on March 31, 1988.  At this facility, we have five separate buildings on campus including the Clothing Warehouse, Storage Warehouse, Shelter, Development Center, and Teen Girls Cottage.

Also, in 2012, Helping Hands acquired another nonprofit, Aiken Youth Empowerment (AYE), in order to begin providing services to the Aiken community. AYE began as the Aiken County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Center in 1994 and is dedicated to providing programming to help youth reduce risk-taking behaviors and decrease teen and unintended pregnancies in our community.

AYE offers community youth and parents research-based programs which have a record of success. These programs are facilitated by our trained Community Educator.  For more information about AYE and/or the programs offered, visit: www.aikenyouthempowerment.org.



Learn about Helping Hands

"Shaping Brighter Futures for Children and Families"

page white acrobatDownload the Helping Hands brochure

Contact Helping Hands

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 503 - Aiken, SC 29802
Phone: (803) 648-3456
Fax: (803) 641-4161

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