Volunteers urged to participate

 When volunteers complete their work April 27, 2013, Downtown Kinston and East Kinston neighborhoods will be a lot cleaner as the community gets ready for the annual Festival on the Neuse (May 1-4).

The Pride of Kinston, Kinston City Councilman Sammy Aiken and Theresa Williams Bethea of Kinston Promise Neighborhood, have merged efforts to remove trash and debris in east Kinston and in downtown’s Municipal Service District. Kinston ’s Appearance Commission is also a sponsor.

The event is also being held on Global Youth Service Day as part of the Kinston Promise Neighborhood's efforts to encourage youth involvement in our community.

All sponsoring organizations are urging volunteers to show up for the expanded effort.

The joint move was unveiled at an East Kinston Community Meeting April 11 when Mr. Aiken, Ms. Bethea and Pride director Adrian King told area residents of the larger project. Pride’s 2009 Clean Up Day was expanded to include the Martin Luther King corridor.

Noting that the Festival on the Neuse draws thousands to Kinston , “We taste first with our eyes,” Mr. King noted. “A clean and attractive community is not only good for our aesthetics, but also good for tourism and economic development.”

The main point of the effort is to make a statement, to call attention to the importance of clean, neat and a litter-free community while removing debris along streets and sidewalks, commented Sarah Weeks , chair of Pride’s Design Committee. The committee first launched the project in April 2006.
  • The Clean Up Day schedule begins at 9:00 am in Pearson Park with registration,  a briefing and area assignments. Morning refreshments will be available.
  • At 12:30 pm, a complimentary lunch will be offered to volunteers who helped with the clean up project.
  • Approximately 1:30 pm a tree will be planted in the park in observance of Arbor Day. The tree, as in the past, is being donated by the Charles Hughes Construction Company.
Volunteers are being urged to contact Kinston Promise Neighborhood at 252-522-8019 or; Pride of Kinston at 252-525-6144 or; or Sammy Aiken at 252-624-4361 or .

Kinston Promise Neighborhood has scheduled the second in a series of East Kinston Community Meetings for Thursday, April 11, 2013 from 6-8 p.m. at St. Peter Church of Christ (DOC) located at 602 JP Harrison Blvd. in Kinston.

The meeting will include a summary presentation of the key issues and concerns that residents and community leaders identified at the first East Kinston meeting held on March 14. 

The discussions will also focus on community development and ways to improve and increase safe and affordable housing opportunities in East Kinston communities.

Ashley Pierce, Manager of Self-Help Credit Union will provide an overview of their housing development model.  Additionally representatives from several of Kinston's Community Development Corporations including Compassion Outreach Community Development Corporation; St. Mark Church Ministries Hands for Humanity CDC; and the Fuller Center have been invited to make presentations about their community development projects.

According to Theresa Williams, Kinston Promise Neighborhood coordinator, “The purpose of the meetings is to work together as a community to establish a vision and action plan for improving the quality of life for residents in our East Kinston communities.”

Kinston Promise Neighborhood is a collaborative and comprehensive approach to educating children and strengthening families in Kinston. The Kinston Promise Neighborhood model is based on the highly successful Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ), developed by Geoffrey Canada in the early 1990's. 

Kinston Promise Neighborhood, Inc., works through existing community-based organizations and programs to create a continuum of "cradle-through-college" solutions to improve the academic and developmental outcomes for children at all stages of growth: early learning, elementary school, middle school, high school, and college.  Promise Neighborhoods partners also provide support for family, social service and health programs as well as community building programs.

Please call 252/522-8019 or visit or send e-mail to if you have any questions or need additional information.

Over 50 community leaders and residents attended the first East Kinston Community meeting held on March 14 at Emmanuel Hill Baptist Church. 

Kinston native Lin Dawson (standing above)  shared plans for the Lin Dawson Youth Leadership Academy as well as plans for the proposed Sampson School Community Life Center.

Chief Bill Johnson, Kinston Department of Public Safety provided an overview of programs provided by the KDPS including Project Safe Neighborhood; Crossing Boundaries; the GATE; and the Boys and Girls Club.  Their youth programs are designed to reduce teen pregnancy and increase graduation rates.
Other City of Kinston representatives attending the March 14 meeting included City Manager Tony Sears; and Kinston City Council members Joseph Tyson (Mayor Pro Tem); Sammy Aiken; Robbie Swinson IV and Bobby Merritt; and Roland Davis and Clinton Glover.

NC District 12 Representative George Graham, Jr.  provided a brief overview of activities taking  place in the General Assembly. Representative Graham also distributes a weekly newsletter from his Raleigh office. 

Marcia Perritt provided an overview of the numerous projects that the UNC Community Campus Partnership has provided to Lenoir County including business and strategic planning support; studies along the Martin Luther King Corridor; community assessments and grant writing and support.

Others attending the meeting included faith-based leaders: Allen Bingham (Queen Street United Methodist Church); Deborah Moore-Marshall (Emmanuel Hill Memorial FWB Church); Teddra Hussey (the Episcopal Church); Ernest Fisher (Integrity Ministry); Dr. Malcolm Beech (Eagle News and Cultural Heritage Museum); Ashley Pierce (Self-Help Credit Union); Shawn Wilson (Greater Kinston Credit Union); Maxine Cooper (Greene Lamp Board of Directors); Reesie Williams and Bishop Eartha Mumford (Lincoln City Reunion); Adrian King (Pride of Kinston); Barbara Williams (Lenoir County Department of Social Services); Clarissa Olivia Gooding and Michaela Penix (East Carolina University Graduate Students); and a number of concerned citizens including Audrey Suggs-Chamblee; Claman Chatman; Brenda Stewart; Abdur-Rahim Saleem; Marquetta Brown;  Blain Hargett; Charles W. Cobb, Jr.,  and Kinston Promise volunteers Wakili Moye; Kristal Suggs; Christopher Suggs and Theresa Williams.

The March 14 Meeting was covered by Jonathan Rodriguez for WNCT Channel 9.  Please click on the link below for the story.