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Goodwill Invites Youth to “Be the Change” Through Community Partnership

April 15, 2014

pdsGoodwill recently partnered with SHARECharlotte and Providence Day School as part of a year-long project for the school’s freshman class. The project called “Be the Change” offered an interactive view of poverty in Charlotte, which taught participants how poverty touches almost every aspect of our community.

Along with Goodwill, more than 12 nonprofits and civic organizations engaged the students with panel discussions, guest speakers and immersion experiences. The project’s monthly activities begin in October and continued through April.

On February 7, Senior Vice President of Community Engagement LaRita Barber participated in a panel discussion with Ron Ahlert, Executive Director of Community Culinary School; Natalie English, Senior VP of Public Policy at the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce; and Robert Bush, Interim Executive Director of the Arts & Science Council. That afternoon, 24 Providence Day students enjoyed a tour of Goodwill’s Career Development Center led by Community Engagement Assistant Meredith Robinson and participated in immersion activities led by Kwain Bryant, Manager of Youth Services. Meredith said, “It was a really eye-opening experience for the kids. A lot of them were connecting the dots on poverty, our clients and Goodwill’s mission.”

“Leading the immersion experience was great,” said Kwain. Students had a chance to reflect on personal opportunities and explore barriers for peers who are exposed to poverty. The group also participated in a “Class Matters” activity, which allowed the youth to explore the mindsets of individual living in poverty, the middle class, and those with more wealth.  “It was great to see the level of introspection, compassion and awareness exhibited by the Providence Day School youth,” Kwain noted.

By the end of the day, students had gained a much stronger understanding of the barriers faced by local individuals and how they can be a positive influence for advancing change.

Kilby Watson is the Community Engagement Manager for Goodwill. For more information on volunteer opportunities, contact Kilby at (704) 332-0316 or kilby.watson@goodwillsp.org.

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