The Board of Directors of the South Carolina Respite Coalition has named College of Charleston President Glenn F. McConnell ’69 as their 2017 Respite Champion.

Executive Director Janet Altman presented McConnell, who was unable to attend the State House ceremony for Respite Awareness Day last month, with the award Thursday, March 22, 2018, in the College of Charleston Randolph Hall Boardroom.

“Regular, temporary breaks from care giving, aka respite, protect the emotional, mental, and physical health of the caregiver by giving them time to take care of themselves,” says Altman. “One of the most practical ways we are able to support respite for family caregivers is through our respite voucher program. Once the caregiver receives the voucher, they will be reimbursed up to $500 when they hire someone to provide care for their loved one while they take a short break. For example, a daughter was able to hire someone to stay with her mother while she took her own daughter for a college visit.”

McConnell was named a Respite Champion for working to secure the first $1 million of state respite voucher funds in 2012, when he was a state senator. He continued his work on respite services while he was lieutenant governor. Since then, McConnell has been a champion of respite for family caregivers of all ages, but especially for those who care for aging parents or spouses.

“Every day, people around the state are being selfless and serving as a free caregiver for a loved one with a mental or physical challenge – a child, a teenager, or an adult,” says McConnell. “Often times this care giving comes at the expense of personal, emotional, mental, and physical health as well as an enjoyable quality of life. The voucher program provided by the South Carolina Respite Coalition allows caregivers to stay healthy by enabling them to do everyday activities, such as going to the doctor, while someone temporarily takes care of their loved ones. This voucher program is a helping hand that ensures loved ones get compassionate care at home instead of being institutionalized, which comes at a significant cost to the state of South Carolina. It’s a win for everyone involved.”

The South Carolina Respite Coalition is the only entity in the state committed to addressing the needs for respite across the lifespan for all persons caring for a child or adult who has special needs. To learn more about the organization, visit the South Carolina Respite Coalition webpage.