Youth Service Providers Share information on programs
The meeting included a panel discussion led by Rev. Teddra Hussey Smith. Leaders from several Kinston youth-serving agencies shared details about their programs.
Kristal Suggs and Wakili Moye shared information about Young Women of Promise. The agency has provided supportive services to Lenoir County youth since 2006. The agency programs include The Kinston Youth Enrichment afterschool program; mentoring; Young Women's Clubs; Kids2 College programs for sixth graders and Camp Promise.
Kristal Suggs also shared information about Kinston Promise Neighborhood's recognition as a GradNation community by America's Promise Alliance.
David Proctor shared information about the GATE Community Development Center and its outreach efforts for youth in the community. The GATE provides a safe haven for our children during out-of-school time hours.
We also met Kimmyata who is one of the GATE's success stories. The twenty year old started coming to the GATE when she was 15. She described the GATE as a great place for youth and encouraged everyone to come by and see what the GATE is all about.
Jeanene McBride and Hillary Lucas, presented information about the Lenoir County Schools GEAR UP program which currently serves 7th grade and 12th grade students at Rochelle Middle School; Woodington Middle School; Kinston High School and South Lenoir High School.
GEAR UP is a continuum seven-year program that encourages youth to complete high school and prepare for college or career. The program includes support in the area of Student Services; Family Services and Professional Development. Ms. McBride stated that the program is very much needed and stressed the importance of "making sure we believe in our children."
Joyce Clark, Executive Director of Young Women's Outreach Center shared information about their prevention services for youth and their families. She stated "It is important that we serve the whole family."
Young Women's Outreach Center stresses the importance of connecting families with resources in the community. Ms. Clark stated repeatedly that hunger and homelessness is prevalent in our community and is something that we should be concerned about.
Young Women's Outreach Center has scheduled a Community Family Affair event on October 5 in honor of "Let's Talk Month."
Theresa Williams provided a brief overview of the Kinston Promise Neighborhood and its programs. She described the Kinston Promise Neighborhood as a collaborative community effort to provide a continuum of support services to our children from birth to college or career.
She described the Project Promise Mentoring alliance and its programs which has supported Rochelle Middle School students with mentoring, free book distributions and college visits since October of 2010.
Others who attended the meeting included Rev. Allen Bingham, (Queen Street United Methodist Church); Rev. Julian Pridgen (St. Augustus AME Zion Church); Adrian King (Pride of Kinston); Sammy C. Aiken (Kinston City Council member); Wanda Hall (The Gate of Lenoir County); Tristan Bruner, (Partnership for Children of Lenoir and Greene Counties); Hernika Cannon (Kinston Housing Authority); Hilda Royal (St. Mark Ministries); Ronn Shedrick and Celestine Davis (New Voices, New Vision); Brenda Stewart (Moving Spirit Dance and Exercise Company); Evernell Pittman (River of Life Day Care Center); Shawn Wilson (Greater Kinston Credit Union); Antuan Hawkins (Kinston Regional Library); Maxine Cooper (Greene Lamp); community volunteers Ruby Jenkins, Marquetta Brown, and Latrice Williams and students Tristan Blakeney and Karsteen Brown.
The meeting also included a time of fellowship with refreshments which gave meeting participants an opportunity to get to know each other better.