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      Paddlers help raise money for Tara Hall Home for Boys

      A group of people paddled for a cause Saturday to help raise funds for the Tara Hall Home for Boys in Georgetown County.

      Michael Nobles, 14, has been living at the home for nearly a year.

      "I ended up getting in trouble in school a lot and getting referrals and I eventually got kicked out of school. My Mom sent me here for rehabilitation," he explained.

      Michael's Mom, Sandy, said that wasn't an easy choice. She's also a single parent.

      "Just knowing that you have to leave your child behind, we know that he's at a good place, he's getting taken care of. It's just he's not at home in his own bed with us so it's very hard," she said.

      But not everyone has the ability to send their child to a place like Tara Hall. Sandy and Michael waited three months just for an interview.

      Executive Director Jim Dumm said there just aren't enough homes like this one in South Carolina for children like Michael. Dumm said a smaller home like Tara Hall can focus on all the specific needs of the boys. Staff also work with parents if they can't afford tuition.

      "We have an on campus school program because many of our boys when they first come are anywhere from a year to three years behind. We have a mental health part of our program," Dumm said.

      With Friday's closing of the Billy Hardee Home for Boys in Darlington, Dumm said there may even be more of a demand for a spot at Tara Hall.

      "That's why events like today are so important to us because we do rely on the generosity of the general public to keep us going," he explained.

      Dumm said if they get a few more applicants as a result of other closings, they'll be ready.

      "We have the capacity to go up to 24 and we have 18 kids in care so we can squeeze in six more. I'd have to hire more staff, which of course would impact the budget but we'd be very willing to do that."

      This is the second year for the paddle fest. To help the group call (843) 546-3000 or go to their website.