The "Official Site" for "Jenkins Orphanage"
For "Program or Admissions" information, please select that item on the "Main Menu" to the left.
Our MISSION is to promote and support the social and economic wellbeing of children, families, and individuals to enable them to become productive and self-sufficient persons in their communities.
Our VISION for Jenkins Institute is to "Rekindle the Jenkins Dream - to Reform and Improve the Lives of Children and Families!"
This is a "Youtube" video from - "Moving Image Research Collections"
The "Jenkins Orphanage Band", this clip is from a 1928 newsreel.
A BRIEF HISTORY
Jenkins Institute, previously known as Jenkins Orphanage was founded, December 16, 1891 by Reverend Daniel Joseph Jenkins. In July of 1892 it was chartered by the State of South Carolina with the mission of providing a safe, secure, loving home environment for orphans and destitute boys and girls in need.
Reverend Jenkins, like Booker T. Washington, was a proponent of the self-help concept. Because of his beliefs, he implemented a structured program designed to emphasize discipline while also teaching skills that would benefit both the Orphanage and the youngsters personally once they leave the Institute. Baking, butchering, farming, music, printing, and house-keeping were some of the skills taught along with the regular academic subjects. Religious worship was and continues to be an integral part of daily life at the Orphanage. The legacy of the Orphanage to each of its residents is its insistence on a daily routine that becomes the foundation of the life he or she will one day lead.
Perhaps the best known program at the Orphanage was the Jenkins Orphanage Band, which gained national and international recognition as a result of performances made in several cities in the Northeast, Midwest and the South. The band made many trips to England where they performed for the Queen on several occasions. A number of former band members went on to make a living by playing with outstanding band leaders like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Lionel Hampton. The band that is referred to in the opera “Porgy and Bess” is the Jenkins Orphanage Band. The Jenkins band also played in the presidential inaugurations of Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft.
Today, the former residents of the Jenkins orphanage are living proof that the programs still work. Because of the many changes in our society we regularly find a need to upgrade the system in order to better serve our residents, as a result the Board of Directors and the Orphan Aid Society voted unanimously to change the name to better reflect the tone of the Institution.
Former residents of Jenkins Institute have become doctors, Lawyers, ministers, musicians, and teachers. Our heritage is one of successful child rearing in good economic times and bad. For 125 years children have come to us from all walks of life, regardless of race or socio-economic backgrounds, and found a home-like program that works.
Licensed by the South Carolina Department of Social Services, the institute accepts girls between the age of 11 and 21. Jenkins also accepts pregnant teens and teen parents with their children, male and female, up to 4 years of age. We have an agreement with Charleston County Schools that allows the parents to take the children to school with them to begin “early childhood development” early in their first year.
Our residents attend regular public schools in the community and are encouraged to become active in the community based on their interests. As a result, some are very active in church and school or other community organizations while others simply maintain membership. However, they are encouraged to pursue as many positive interest as they can, as long as school work doesn’t suffer. Because of the structure that is in place, we are proud that usually a majority of our residents are on the school’s Honor Roll each grading period.
Our Board of Directors and staff are very grateful for the generous help and support we receive from the community. We are housing the future workers and consumers of our city, state, and nation. Their ability to learn to function fully within society is largely dependent on the generosity of individuals, businesses, churches, and other concerned organizations throughout our area.
Thank you very much for caring.