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#SpotlightOnCLT: Bright Blessings

Written by Grant Stimmel    on September 9, 2019    in

Your 21st birthday?


All the ones after that?

Ehhhh, not so much.

Another year in the rearview, another gray hair, another wrinkle, and maybe a few more pounds around the waist.

But your birthday as a kid?

That was pure magic.

Unfortuantely, for thousands of Charlotte children, their birthday isn’t much cause for celebration.

For homeless and impoverished children, it’s just another day to get through.

Another day to grind, to struggle, to survive.

#SpotlightOnCLT: Lakewood Preschool

Written by Grant Stimmel    on August 7, 2019    in

All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.

Author Robert Fulghum said that.

“Hold hands. Stick together. Flush.”

Crucial advice for five-year-olds.

(And the rest of us, too.) 

But before the wonders of kindergarten comes the magic of preschool.

And a reminder that, even now, the best “time” in the world is still naptime and snacktime.

Preschool helps children develop vital social skills that stay with them well into their childhood.

#SpotlightOnCLT: Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency

Written by Grant Stimmel    on June 6, 2019    in

105 words rest beneath the Statue of Liberty.

They were written 136 years ago.

Time has taken its toll on the brass inscription.

The words, once crisp, have faded.

And maybe, their meaning has too.

Every two seconds, someone around the world is displaced from their home. Driven away from everything they know by violence, war, or relentless prosecution.

68 million people — 43 since you started reading this article.

And the clock keeps ticking, and ticking, and ticking. 25 million are refugees. Forced to leave their home country, looking, as we all are, for a chance at a better life.

#SpotlightOnCLT: The Housing Partnership

Written by Grant Stimmel    on May 6, 2019    in

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

Guess the Counting Crows were onto something.

From the Carolinas to California — and every big city in between — explosive growth has caused transformational change to the places we all call home. In Charlotte, we’ve seen skyscrapers smother single-family homes and big business take over once charming neighborhoods.

Of course this growth has brought fantastic opportunities to our city. More jobs, more dining, more stuff to do. These are good things, yes. But there’s a balance.

Where are we supposed to live?

#SpotlightOnCLT: YWCA, Empowering Women since 1902

Written by Grant Stimmel    on March 25, 2019    in

Charlotte in 1902 was a very, very different place.

No skyscrapers, no light rail, no Panthers, no greenways.

A small town with big dreams — and one organization that’s been here the whole way.

YWCA Central Carolinas has been serving Greater Charlotte for 117 years, and in that time they’ve seen first hand the exceptional change experienced here and around the country.

Through Great Depressions and World Wars, YWCA embraced those who needed it most as they worked to, “eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all people.”

For decades, they’ve been a helping hand to the hopeful and crucial ray of light for the hopeless. Offering an opportunity for a better life to those struggling the most.

#SpotlightOnCLT: HeartBright Foundation

Written by Grant Stimmel    on February 20, 2019    in

You probably know the stats by now.

70% of U.S. adults are overweight, and 40% of those are obese.

Staggering numbers, yes.

And they’re only getting worse.

That extra weight carries serious health consequences, too, as it’s linked directly to America’s number one killer, heart disease — a narrowing of blood vessels that drastically increases your chances of having a heart attack, chest pain, or full-fledged stroke.

Cancer is often unavoidable. Heart disease, though? It’s mostly preventable.

Which is where Charlotte’s HeartBright Foundation comes in.

#RecoveringHope: Hope Haven

Written by Grant Stimmel    on October 18, 2018    in


“I used and abused drugs for more than thirty years... I lost everything – my home, my family, my job. I lost me.”

Those are the words of MP, a lifelong drug addict who came to Hope Haven with absolutely nothing.

He’s now one of their biggest success stories

And he’s not alone. Hope Haven has helped thousands of Charlotte families break the vicious cycle of drug addiction since 1976.

They house hundreds of local homeless families every year who have members dealing with addiction, and help them on the road to recovery through a variety of crucial services. But counseling is just the beginning. The Hope Haven difference lies in their unique ability to provide safe, reliable housing for struggling families.

#AccessGrantedCLT: Making Healthcare Possible for Families in Need

Written by Grant Stimmel    on August 9, 2018


That’s how much a liver transplant costs.

And if you’ve ever found yourself stuck in a hospital bed, you know all too well how quickly costs add up. 

It seems like so much as asking your nurse for a Snickers bar these days will set you back a thousand bucks. And sadly, that’s not much of an exaggeration.

Healthcare costs have quadrupled over the last 50 years, and 62% of bankruptcies in the U.S. are filed as a result of an unexpected medical expense. Even with insurance, it is more expensive to get medical care today than at any point in our history. This, as you can imagine, is a problem.

So what can you do? How can you help? How do we, together, fix this mess?

How a local nonprofit helps families cope

#SafeFromHarm: Taking a Brave Step

Written by Grant Stimmel    on June 20, 2018    in

Two words.

Five letters.

42 million survivors.

Simple, but powerful: 

Me too.

A short phrase that sparked a big movement one which was eye-opening for some, and long overdue for others. An acknowledgement, finally, that there are an untold number of people who’ve been deeply, deeply scarred in their past.

These survivors know now what they may not have before that they’re far from alone. That there are millions of others who’ve been sexually abused, assaulted, or harassed. And that while they’ve inevitably been changed by what’s happened to them, they live on, they fight, they keep pounding.