Friday, August 22 2014 8:13 AM EDT2014-08-22 12:13:32 GMT
Photo of armed robbery suspect (Source: University of South Carolina Division of Law Enforcement and Safety
A USC student was robbed at gunpoint early Thursday morning, according to the University of South Carolina Police Department. The student was walking through the USC Horseshow around 12:40 a.m. when heMore >>
A USC student was robbed at gunpoint early Thursday morning, according to the University of South Carolina Police Department.More >>
Friday, August 22 2014 12:42 PM EDT2014-08-22 16:42:01 GMT
Elgin police need help locating two men who they say broke into a car wash in the area and stole money from the control boxes. Investigators say the suspects broke into the Elgin Car Wash on Rose StreetMore >>
Elgin police need help locating two men who they say broke into a car wash in the area and stole money from the control boxes.More >>
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -
For one teenager, homelessness is his reality but not his label.
Hard work. Struggle. Power.
Kendal Benjamin, 17, spends many afternoons in the weight room at C.A. Johnson High School.
The graduating senior plays football, track and wants to study athletic training in college. He comes to school every day, and many around him don't know what it's like when he goes home at night.
"If you ask me, I'll tell you," Benjamin said. "It's not like I'm going to go to school angry, sad, because I don't have anything to eat or my lights are off. Just go to school like nothing happened, just like a normal person… I just don't like feeling sorry for myself."
Benjamin lives at Palmetto Place Children's Shelter.
"It's not homebut it's something to help me get on my feet so I can learn life skills," Benjamin said.
He has 19 roommates.
"We take kids from newborn to age 18and they come from homes where there's been abuse or neglect and then we also have teenagers who have no other place to live," said Erin Hall, the executive director of Palmetto Place. "We work very closely with the school social workers at the high schools and they know their kids really, really well. They know which kids will thrive at Palmetto Place and which kids really need to be here and in order to succeed, graduate from high school and move on to bigger and better things."
Jill Lawson is a social worker.
"There are very few that accept males over the age of 12," Lawson said. "So, if the parent or guardian and younger siblings go to the shelter, where does that leave the male high school student with nowhere to go?"
Not every child at Palmetto Place comes from an abusive home. Benjamin's mother lost her job and with it, the ability to provide for her children.
"I think no matter what the circumstance is at Palmetto Place, it is incredibly difficult for a child to leave home," Hall said.
Benjamin said he finally had a heart-to-heart with his mother.
"We've got to stop hiding and just do something about it," Benjamin said. "We can't just stay here and we're making like everything's alright because it's not alright, so I need to go take care of me so you can take care of you. Hopefully when I take care of me, I can help you out later in life."
Benjamin said he spent years moving from place to place.
"One day we might not have enough food or the next day, or the next month the lights will be cut off, like 'Mom, what's going on?' And she be like, 'I don't know..'," he said." She really doesn't want to tell you to hurt you. She thinks it's going to hurt youor you're too young to know about it."
He was forced to grow up quickly but never complains.
"Kendal accepts responsibility," said Benjamin's high school football and track coach Jerry Jackson. "He does not blame anybody. And he doesn't consider himself a victim. Plus, his intestinal fortitude, to stand and endure adversities when most people his age would just break down and say, ‘woe is me.'"
Jackson said he sees the discipline on the field.
"He's a young man I would have for my son," Jackson said. "Kendal is very respectful. He's thoughtful, he's considerate. All those traits turned out for him to be one of the leaders on the team this year, the other kids can look up to him and be an example and role model."
In the classroom, teachers describe Benjamin the same way.
Juanita Wilson is Kendal's English teacher and senior adviser.
"He exudes: 'I will overcome.' It will not, homelessness will not define me," Wilson said. "It will not determine my destiny. That is what I see in everything he does."
Benjamin doesn't want your pity. He keeps pushing himself every single day.
"Sometimes you have to make a way when there's no way," Benjamin said. "Life is not easy but you have to get through it some type of way - well, in a positive way."
Benjamin's story isn't unique. A Midlands school district last year identified a little more than 80 unaccompanied students.
Thursday, August 21 2014 6:19 PM EDT2014-08-21 22:19:24 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Myrtle Beach Chapter for the NAACP is talking about the Memorial Day weekend violence, outside the Myrtle Beach City Hall Thursday at 10 a.m. Reporter Stephanie Robusto isMore >>
The Myrtle Beach Chapter for the NAACP is talking about the Memorial Day weekend violence, outside the Myrtle Beach City Hall Thursday at 10 a.m.More >>
- Four firefighters with the Campbellsville Fire Department were shocked -- one of them critically -- while helping the Campbellsville University marching band with an ALS ice bucket challenge, according to a spokesmanMore >>
Thursday, August 21 2014 2:48 PM EDT2014-08-21 18:48:33 GMT
In 2012 we introduced you to a little boy named Richard Culliver. At that time, he had just been diagnosed with a brain tumor and doctors didn't think he would make it much longer.This May, nearly a yearMore >>
In 2012 we introduced you to a little boy named Richard Culliver. At that time, he had just been diagnosed with a brain tumor and doctors didn't think he would make it much longer.More >>
Friday, August 22 2014 7:38 PM EDT2014-08-22 23:38:00 GMT
Columbia police are investigating a series of vehicle break-ins throughout the Greenview community. More than 20 break-ins have been reported, specifically during the evening and overnight hours, fromMore >>
Columbia police are investigating a series of vehicle break-ins throughout the Greenview community.More >>
Friday, August 22 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-08-22 23:08:28 GMT
Gov. Nikki Haley and gubernatorial candidates Tom Irvin and state Senator Vincent Sheheen would all like to see independent ethics oversight and stricter penalties for violators. But they each think they'reMore >>
Gov. Nikki Haley and gubernatorial candidates Tom Ervin and state Senator Vincent Sheheen would all like to see independent ethics oversight and stricter penalties for violators. More >>
Friday, August 22 2014 4:42 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:42:10 GMT
In the latest salvo in the ongoing political battle of wills between West Columbia Mayor Joe Owens and Councilman Tem Miles, Owens claims a new campaign sign at Miles' house is racist. The sign, whichMore >>
In the latest salvo in the ongoing political battle of wills between West Columbia Mayor Joe Owens and Councilman Tem Miles, Owens claims a new campaign sign at Miles' house is racist.More >>
Friday, August 22 2014 4:38 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:38:02 GMT
Jacoby Latta, 3, was a huge superhero fan and is getting a loving tribute in a new Marvel comic. (Source: Sanford Green)
A Midlands boy who was a huge superhero fan and died suddenly is getting a loving tribute in a new Marvel comic. "Uncanny Avengers" issue #23 will be released next Wednesday and will be available at Columbia-areaMore >>
A Midlands boy who was a huge superhero fan and died suddenly is getting a loving tribute in a new Marvel comic. More >>