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Columbia Community Outreach

Columbia Community Outreach

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Public Affairs Specialist Denise Taiste (center) with
two exhibitors at a recent International Festival.

Columbia, like each of the FBI’s local field offices, is a strong contributor to community partnerships. As a federal agency with national and international reach, we bring our own special resources, intelligence, and expertise to the table. To protect communities, families, and children, we proactively partner through the following FBI programs and with the following organizations:

  • Minority groups, including the NAACP; the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs; the Columbia Urban League; Sistercare, and other local organizations;
  • The Community Engagement Council, which consists of community leaders interested in educating the FBI on how different minority communities perceive the Bureau and on how to approach culturally sensitive issues;
  • Family-centered organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Club of America, the National Association of Towns Watch, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, and many others;
  • School-based initiatives centered around the Adopt-A-School program, such as the Junior Special Agent, mentoring, and tutoring programs; and
  • Workplace-based endeavors, including assisting and educating businesses on how to establish crime violence prevention policies; on the dangers of substance abuse and violence in the workplace; and on how problems involving crime, drugs, gangs, terrorism, and violence impact the local business community.

Our annual programs:

  • February–May: We host our Adopt-A-School program for 10 to 16 weeks, raising awareness in school communities; lifting students’ self-esteem and expectations of themselves; and, through exposure to positive role models, helping to improve students’ academic performance.

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  • May–June: We hold our Citizens’ Academy, a stimulating six-week program with seven sessions that provides business and community leaders an inside look at federal law enforcement in general and the FBI in particular. Academy attendees are introduced to the structure and daily operation of an FBI field office. We have hosted these Citizens’ Academies since 2004 and provide continued support to graduates, who are involved in an established alumni chapter.

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  • July: We host our Youth Academy—designed to educate high school- to college-level youth about the FBI’s mission, goals, and inner workings.

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Other ongoing efforts we participate in:

  • Our 2013 Director’s Community Leadership Award recipient was Larry Teachey, for his many contributions leading to the success of Crimestoppers of Greenville.
  • “Meet & Greet” events with minority groups or civic organizations—including African American, Asian, Arab, Muslim, Sikh, Hispanic, Jewish, Native American, and more—to exchange information about and develop solutions to community problems and our community-based activities;
  • “Red Ribbon Week,” which educates children and adults on the dangers of drugs and alcohol and encourages them to wear the logo as a sign of commitment to stay drug-free;
  • “National Night Out,” in which all levels of law enforcement promote awareness of local anti-crime efforts available in the entire community through such activities as a block party, cookout, parade, law enforcement presentations, neighborhood walks, safety fairs, contests, rallies, and meetings;
  • The “Take 25 campaign,” a national grassroots initiative encouraging parents, guardians, and others to take 25 minutes out of their day to talk to their children about safety;
  • Child ID kits—developed by the American Football Coaches Association—which we distribute at community events and schools along with the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI; and
  • Presentations by agent and professional support staff at schools, colleges, universities and at meetings of businesses and civic groups in South Carolina. Presentation topics include FBI careers and Bureau investigative efforts to combat gangs, health care fraud, terrorism, and crimes against children, as well as tips on avoiding falling victim to these crimes. If your school, organization, or group is in need of a guest speaker, please forward a written request, at least 30 days in advance of the event, by mail or e-mail to:

Denise M. Taiste
Public Affairs Specialist
Federal Bureau of Investigation
151 Westpark Boulevard
Columbia, SC 29210-3857
denise.taiste@ic.fbi.gov

Visit our national In Your Community website for more information about our overall outreach efforts and our work in other local FBI offices.