Charleston Law students help with project to revamp juvenile detention libraries

August 23, 2018 – Even though she could have been relaxing the week before school started, 3L Alyssa Harmke was hard at work finalizing a project spearheaded by alumna Annie Andrews (’13), an attorney with the Charleston County Public Defender’s Office, and local attorney Meagan Gentry to improve the books offered at the Charleston County Juvenile Detention Center Library. “Many of the books were outdated, damaged or not interesting to children,” Harmke explained.  Students building the Juvenile Detention Center library

Andrews and Gentry originally had planned to only revamp the juvenile detention center library in Charleston County but they collected almost 4,000 books and expanded the project to juvenile detention centers in Columbia and Greenville.

Last Wednesday, Harmke helped finalize the library in Charleston County, along with Andrews, Gentry and others from the Charleston County Public Defender’s Office, the Charleston County Solicitor’s Office, and the Department of Juvenile Justice. “We had representation from every involved agency and were able to fill every shelf from top to bottom,” Harmke said.

Harmke, who was a summer law clerk at both the Charleston County Public Defender’s Office and Gentry Law Firm, worked extensively on the project. “Many Charleston Law students helped with the project this summer by donating and sorting books. I had students reaching out to me all summer to donate. It was amazing,” Harmke said. Students building the Juvenile Detention Center library

Along with praising her fellow students, Harmke praised her experience working with Andrews and Gentry. Harmke especially values the connection to the Charleston School of Law that she and Andrews share. “Annie has been an incredible mentor to me. Having the ability to work for a graduate from our school was so fulfilling. I’m really proud to see our alumni making a difference in our community,” Harmke said.

Learn more about the project: