Byron Dendy considers himself a social engineer, helping people change their lives for the better.
Dendy is the new director of the Newberry County Department of Social Services as of June and he explains that just like engineers work to build or construct things, he works to help people evaluate and build up their lives.
DSS is all about helping the children and their families and he and his employees seek that first and foremost.
Dendy was previously at the Greenville County DSS where he was promoted throughout the years. His first job in social services was in 1994 with the Laurens County Disabilities and Special Needs.
Now he is in Newberry where he wants to be out in the community and available to whomever needs assistance.
Dendy points out a couple of the Newberry DSS values that they strive to maintain.
One value is that the safety of a child always outweighs any and all adults comfort. He says that includes himself and the employees.
Another value is that the child must never be left alone to provide and protect for themselves and others. They need proper care by responsible adults.
Overall, the values ensure that children are to be safe in their home or in a safe environment.
Two of the major economic issues that Dendy deals with at DSS is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
SNAP deals with food stamps and TANF deals with work and assistance as well as with welfare.
The names changed to acronyms as well as the service provided.
For example, SNAP deals with ensuring that people receive nutritional food while TANF is not just a welfare program anymore. They also assist with job assistance, adjusting to jobs and they also deal with contractors and local businesses to provide employment to people.
Dendy is also getting involved with the community but he is careful to not take on too much. He really wants to focus on the Eat Smart, Move More organization that is in the beginning stages.
The group is all about making Newberry County healthier and Dendy deals with this daily as he wants to help children and their families have better access to more nutritional food.
He says that he hopes to be able to work with the local farmers market to accept SNAP EBT cards so that those families will have access to fruits and vegetables.
Dendy wants to be the best manager and leader he can be by providing a service to the community.
He wants the DSS to be a familiar face in the community where people can come to when they need assistance.
Dendy graduated from Clinton High and S.C. State University. He says he has always concentrated on his job at hand and has worked his way up to his current position.
Dendy believes that every child deserves a normal childhood and wants to ensure the safety of all children in the county, especially when children grow up so fast.