Pay It Forward April 2023 – Julio Barrientos

IT System Administrator Julio Barrientos paid forward $500 to The Dream Center, a faith-based 501(c)3 non-profit helping those in need in Easley and surrounding Upstate towns.

The Center’s mission is to serve others with a hand up instead of a handout.

Julio says, “I support The Dream Center mission of empowering people to become healthy and self-sufficient.”

According to their web site,, the concept of The Dream Center started in 2011, when Jim and Chris Wilson, along with friends, began meeting each week to pray about how they could offer a place of hope in the community, and after a year the Center was incorporated as a 501(c)3.

The founding group pooled their money, and with the help of donors purchased the former Simpson Academy Alternative School in October 2013. Since that time, The Dream Center has helped thousands of people in need through free classes including parenting, budgeting, and health, crisis intervention, and through the Opportunity Village. The village was developed in 2016 and serves the community as a homeless shelter program. Consisting of 23 tiny houses and 10 transitional houses, this program has successfully helped people become self-sufficient.

​The Dream Center operates Resale Stores in Easley, Pickens, Seneca, and Greenville. All of The Dream Center Resale Stores help provide financial sustainability for the organization.

The Dream Center also serves as a hub for other non-profit organizations helping those in need: SHINE Soup Kitchen, Samaritan Dental Clinic, JC Cares, Ripple of One and Predestined Teen Outreach.

In addition to its charitable work, the Center offers internships and volunteer opportunities.

To get involved, get help, or donate, call 864-644-8885 or visit

Laurens Electric’s Pay It Forward program began in 2015.

Every Laurens Electric Cooperative employee is entered into a random drawing to receive $500 to pay forward in any way they choose.

Each month a new name is drawn, and the employee then has one month to apply the funds toward their own act of kindness.

This initiative is budget-neutral; the funds come from Laurens Electric’s charity events, which employee volunteers make possible.

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