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Holly Hill opens story walk to help get autism services in Orangeburg County

It's supposed to bring residents to the Holly Hill library to find out how to get Autism services in the county after they finish with the story walk.

HOLLY HILL, S.C. — Orangeburg County residents are frustrated they don't have more services for autism. So two organizations are stepping in to help.

"We're driving an hour to Mount Pleasant for my son's therapies because there's nothing close to 30 minutes for us," said Eutawville resident Bryce Barnes. 

"My sister has to drive almost two hours every week to get my nephew help," said Ashley Jackson, Holly Hill Library's branch manager. "It's detrimental."

A new partnership with the Orangeburg County Library and Save the Children hopes to raise awareness in rural communities.

"We do understand children may be lacking the resources," Save the Children's state director, Sonia Gass, said. "The funding may not be necessarily there, so we step in."

The two organizations gathered at Gilmore Park in Holly Hill to showcase the new story walk. It's a book broken into pieces for kids to walk and read. This is the first of the three sets to be installed. The others will be in Vance and Eutawville. 

The grant was nearly $30,000 from Save the Children, and Orangeburg County paid around $8,000 to have the pages stand at the three parks. 

"We are also promoting literacy, family fun, and physical activity. We're promoting so many things at this park," said Jackson.

Credit: Devin Johnson

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The Holly Hill version will be centered around Autism Awareness. The town's branch manager says it's supposed to bring residents to the library to find out how to get Autism services in the county after they finish with the story walk.

"This is their future. Without that, they don't thrive or develop," Jackson said.

News19 reached out to Orangeburg County Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter regarding the county not having services for Autism. Rep. Cobb-Hunter says she was unaware of the situation, and she will be working on getting something in Orangeburg County.

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