When Erin Welborn was a child, her mother always told her, "If anything ever happens to me, everything you need is in the green box." Erin was too young to know about the importance of insurance policies and birth certificates. She just knew to give the green box to an adult if anything should happen. "Mama said it, so it must be true," laughs Erin when she recounts this story.
As an adult, Erin recognizes the kindness her mother showed by making sure her children wouldn't have the burden of finding important documents in an emergency. It's a kindness Erin inherited, and it keeps her motivated to give families in Charlotte their own "green boxes" for security and peace of mind.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the global population in drastic ways and, in many countries, senior citizens are facing the most threats and challenges as a result.
While no demographic is exempt and all age groups are at risk of contracting COVID-19, older people face significantly greater risk of developing severe illness if they do contract the virus (WHO). Further, due to the stay-at-home order and social distancing requirements, seniors have been among the most isolated populations amid the crisis.
Time Out Youth is the oldest and largest LGBTQ nonprofit serving the Carolinas. They primarily cater to youth ages 11-20, providing social and emotional support for over 1,000 individuals. Time Out Youth has an extremely long history of serving the great Charlotte community and will be celebrating their 30th anniversary next year.
Executive Director Rodney Tucker shared that they have a variety of therapeutic support groups that meet regularly, as well as fun groups that include dance parties and movie nights. In more normal times, most of those events are held at their headquarters on Monroe Road, along with satellite groups held in North Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Iredell counties. Due to the current COVID-19 environment, Time Out Youth’s robust programming has transitioned to being online for the time being.
That's PFLAG Charlotte President Karen Graci summing up the first time she attended a support group offered by the nonprofit that supports families, allies and people who are LGBTQ. Karen had worked in the Diversity and Inclusion field for 10 years, and when her daughter came out as transgender she and her husband were "supportive but petrified." Karen says even parents who want to support their loved ones don't know what they don't know in the beginning. "When your child first comes out there are so many emotions. We felt a myriad of conflicting things. We loved our child unconditionally and of course we would support her. At the same time we felt lonely and we wondered how we didn't see the pain she was in for so many years. We didn't know anyone else who was openly transgender, and we didn't think there would be any support locally."
Each year, June is nationally recognized as LGBTQ Pride Month and while it serves as a time of celebration for continued acceptance and the accomplishments of the LGBTQ community, it also serves to commemorate years of struggle for civil rights and the ongoing pursuit of equal justice under the law for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community.
We would like to leverage this nationally recognized month to acknowledge the unique struggles that this underrepresented and underserved community faces, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic which is impacting the LGBTQ community at a disproportionate rate.
Matthews Free Medical Clinic has been providing free, quality healthcare to low income, uninsured patients since 2004. They pride themselves on being a medical home for their patients, offering holistic care and treating every patient with dignity and respect.
Prospective patients apply to be part of the clinic and are then assigned a primary care physician, as well as gaining access to a range of specialists from cardiology and pulmonology to chiropractic and orthopedic services. Executive Director Amy Carr emphasized that although the clinic is physically located in Matthews, it serves patients living in all of Mecklenburg and Union Counties.
The Steve Smith Family Foundation (SSFF), founded by retired Panthers player, Steve Smith, has been providing hope and inspiration to those in need since 2013. SSFF was created to advance the causes close to the Smith family's heart including domestic violence, awareness and prevention, and family health and wellness services.
For almost 50 years, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic (PPSAT) has been serving the residents of Charlotte and the surrounding Mecklenburg County with compassionate, nonjudgmental care including preventive services like birth control, lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, and sexual health education. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education.
For Rusty Price, founder of Camino Community Center, it’s the faces of those his organization serves that fuels his passion to help during these difficult times.
He describes delivering food recently to a single mom of four who was laid off during COVID-19. “You would’ve thought they had just won the lottery,” he says. “Mom is crying; the kids are jumping up and down. It’s that swing from desperation to hope … that’s enough to keep us going.”
We have so much great news to share from our nonprofit partners about their amazing work. But, we'd love to hear from you. Let us know if you have stories you'd like to tell and we'll make you a guest blogger!!