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Sapphire Ball seeks to honor "Shining Lights"

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Even though the Grammies, Oscars, and Golden Globes ended months ago, it seems that awards season has just started up for Clarendon County, specifically in the form of Summerton Non-Profit The Light Foundation’s Sapphire Ball.

The Light Foundation was founded in 2019 in Summerton as a way for their members to give back to the community. They have accomplished this goal through various events and outreach programs that directly help Summerton citizens. They are able to have these events and programs via fundraisers that they have throughout the year. One of their biggest fundraisers is their Sapphire Ball, a black tie event. 

This year, however, they introduced something new: the Shining Light Awards. These awards cover five honorees in five different categories:

The Leadership Award

The Educator Award

The Citizenship Award

The Shining Youth Award

And the Community Organization Award

These five awards are given based on nominations, which opened up on June 9 and closed on July 1. The nominations were to be based off of the following standards:

“The Shining Light Awards recognize and profile individuals who, in one way or another, have taken a leadership role in encouraging people and communities to work jointly to improve rural communities.”

The purpose of these awards was simply to “give broad exposure to individuals who are making difficult decisions to enhance excellence and encourage others to follow in their footsteps”.

The specific Honorees were announced via a Facebook post on Monday, July 12. They are as follows:

Leadership Award - Mayor Julia Nelson

Educator Award - Detrice Brown

Citizenship Award - Kathleen L. Gibson 

Youth Shining Star Award - JazLynn Bowman 

Community Organization Award - Sharon Mellette and the I AM That Girl Foundation

“This is our first year doing The Shining Light Awards,” said The Light Foundation Executive Director Terrance G. Tindal.

As far as nominations go, the amount was not small.

“We had quite a few people to nominate individuals for this award,” said Tindal. “What we did as a group was pool all the nominations together and then individually looked at each of them. Luckily, we didn’t have to break any ties. It was pretty easy this year.”

Tindal expressed that the group felt lucky to receive so many nominations, which made their job a lot easier.

The Sapphire Ball is set to be a premier event in Clarendon County. The Light Foundation has several different entertainers lined up. These include music by DJ Soldier Boy, performances by Karen “Lady K” Sanders, and special guest LaToya Denise and company. On top of this lineup, they are also offering a meal. 

The Sapphire Ball and Shining Light Awards will take place at The Matrix Center on Friday, July 30 at 7:00pm. It is important to note that tickets will not be sold at the door, so they must be bought in advance by visiting www.lighthousefoc.com, or by calling Roderick A. Henderson at (803) 999-7010.

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