Jenkins Orphanage Photos – North Charleston, South Carolina
South Carolina | SC Picture Project | Charleston County Photos | Jenkins Orphanage Photos
Reverend Daniel Jenkins found his calling when he met four young children early one winter morning in Charleston, huddled together in a freight car, trying to stay warm. When they explained they were orphans, Jenkins knew he had to help – after all, he too had been orphaned at a young age. On December 16, 1891, the Jenkins Orphanage was born.
The orphanage was officially chartered in July 1892 by the State of South Carolina; its mission was to create a safe haven for African-American children in need. In the 1930s, Social Security began providing assistance to families who needed financial help to care for children. This resulted in a dramatic decrease of abandoned children in America, greatly reducing the need for orphanages. In time, the orphanage was renamed Daniel Joseph Jenkins Institute for Children.
Jenkins’ mission today remains the same: To promote and support the social and economic well being of children, families, and individuals to enable them to become productive and self sufficient in their communities. It is a non-profit organization governed by a board of directors and an advisory board which provides direction and information on current legal policies.
While in the past the institute has housed children of both sexes, presently it serves as a refuge for girls between the ages of 11 and 21. The dorm can accommodate up to 19 children. Each room has a television and a computer and is semi-private. All the children live in this building and are supervised 24 hours a day by a staff of 10, which includes care specialists and counselors.
At 16, each child has the option to “age out,” meaning that they stay at Jenkins until they are 21. If a child decides to stay, she must pursue a higher-education degree. More typically, girls stay at the institute for one school year, and then return to their families.
Jenkins Institute receives support from local churches and mentoring organizations, helping expose the children to many different experiences and broaden their horizons.
In addition to state funds, the institute is sustained through private donations and grants.
Jenkins hopes to bring in additional funding by becoming a stop for historical tours in the area. When we visited the campus and met with administrators, they shared their plans to build a museum which showcases the impact of the Jenkins Orphanage Band on the history of American Jazz. They are also considering growing sweet grass on their many acres of wetlands, planting locally-renowned Noisette roses, and designing a hedge labyrinth, which would provide a nice atmosphere for picnics.
Learn more about the Daniel Joseph Jenkins Institute for Children by visiting the official website.
Read our article: Orphanage Band Instrumental in Jenkins’ Past and Future.