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."
The Lake Norman Community Health Clinic has been providing quality healthcare at no cost to uninsured people in Mecklenburg County for 22 years. So when a global pandemic hit home, they didn't miss a beat. In fact, they were so proactive that they were a model to FEMA and clinics in other states for how to best serve patients during an unprecedented health crisis.
Meet Charlie. He's only five, but he's already a three-year cancer survivor. Charlie was born with Down Syndrome and Transient myeloproliferative disorder, which transitioned into leukemia when he was 16 months old. When other babies were experiencing crucial brain, physical, and social development, Charlie was undergoing high-dose chemotherapy, long-term hospitalization, and isolation. As a result, Charlie experienced physical regression and delays in his motor skills.
If you have ever thought twice about getting medical care because you knew it would hurt your wallet, then you have been in Linwood's shoes. He needed dental work, but he didn't have the means to pay for it, even though he was fully employed. With his employer, Linwood even had insurance, but it wouldn't cover the dental work he needed.
The team at Common Wealth Charlotte was there for Linwood, but not with one-way charity. That's not what CWC does. The Charlotte nonprofit promotes financial capability-building over direct financial assistance—and it's fundamentally changing the way economically-vulnerable families in Charlotte are being served.
We just observed Veterans Day across the United States, but for the Charlotte-based team at Veterans Bridge Home, the work continues every day—and it's the best kind of work they could ask for.
Veterans Bridge Home is on a mission to build stronger communities, one Veteran at a time. And in a city with more than 150,000 Veterans, the nonprofit has plenty to do. Through a network of partners, the organization helps Veterans navigate employment, create social connections, and settle their families.
But it's not just Veterans who benefit—the entire Charlotte community gets better when Veterans make a successful transition from military to civilian life. Just ask Nick Maglosky, CEO of Charlotte-based ecommerce software provider Ecomdash.
Bailey has overcome more in 11 years than most people face in a lifetime. Born prematurely at 28 weeks, Bailey spent the first two years of her life in the neonatal intensive care unit. Her left arm was amputated when she was 26 days old. She lives with autism and is non-verbal.
Now in her first year of middle school, Bailey and her mom, a U.S. Navy Veteran, have persevered to overcome some serious challenges. Needless to say, a family vacation wasn't in the cards for this family.
If you've ever taken a Level Up workshop at Bold Missy, struck a warrior pose in the Triple C barrel room, or crushed in trivia at 26 Acres, you know that when it comes to the Charlotte craft beer scene, community is everything.
When Janiah's doctor recommended physical therapy utilizing horses, her father thought it would be a fun activity that might also help loosen up her hips. Cerebral palsy made it tough for Janiah to walk by herself, and her dad, Todd, carried her most of the time, even though she was six.
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!!