Before I wrote this article, my understanding of human trafficking was limited to what I had seen in movies like Taken and Crash. Needless to say, I had a lot of learning to do.
Present Age Ministries opened my eyes to the reality of human trafficking. As a mother of a daughter and as a Charlottean, I was stunned to learn that it's prevalent, it's pervasive, and it's happening right in front of our eyes - to girls in every ZIP code in this community.
Charlotte is the number-one city for human trafficking in a state that ranks eighth in the country. Considering only two percent of worldwide human trafficking victims are rescued, it's clear that this city needs help.
"Until there are none, rescue one." Animal Adoption League's motto gets straight to the heart of their approach as a foster-based rescue organization: they won't give up until they have found loving homes for every animal that comes to them in need.
When a small group of women in York County, South Carolina became concerned over the growing number of homeless animals being destroyed at their local animal shelter in the early 90s, they decided to take action - and the Animal Adoption League was born.
Since becoming a nonprofit in 1992, AAL has paired more than 5,500 animals with loving adoptive families in several Southeastern states.
Consuella Harge isn't just beating the odds - she's beating all the odds.
The single mother of Corvair, 11 and Grace, 4 is a Senior pursuing a degree in mathematics with a concentration in actuarial science from UNC Charlotte. And she hasn't let a medical disability stop her from achieving her goals and showing her children that education is a top priority.
Children born into poverty in Charlotte have the lowest odds in the country of rising above that poverty. Homelessness in the Queen City is up 13 percent over last year. Eviction filings are up too - to more than 29,000. Nearly 40,000 families in Mecklenburg County spend more than half of their income on rent.
If you read these stats and think, "Charlotte can do better," then you really need to meet Sonja Chisholm.
"I always knew I wanted to help the homeless, and I would say, 'When I win the lottery, then I'll open up a women's shelter,'" says Sonja, a native Charlottean. "Well, one day God spoke to me and he said, 'When I gave you the vision, that was you winning the lottery."
"Our community needs to get comfortable with the uncomfortable." -Peter Browning, Dilworth Center Board Member
I drove past Dilworth Center before I successfully found it, and that's actually a good thing.
Although our culture is making strides against the stigma and shame piled onto people suffering from addiction, it's comforting to know that their first step toward recovery doesn't have to take place in a public square like Trade and Tryon.
Dilworth Center is tucked away off the main thoroughfare, accessible only through the back of a shopping center lot, bordered by a canopy of large trees and some private parking spots.
"When you see someone so passionate about something that they're willing to protest on the streets, don't ball it up and put it in jail. Invest in that passion and watch what can happen." - Greg Jackson, Heal Charlotte Founder and Executive Director
Passion is central to the origin story of Heal Charlotte. It all started two years ago, when protesters hit the streets of the Queen City in response to the fatal shooting of resident Keith Lamont Scott by an officer from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD).
No one should have to choose between eating dinner or going to the doctor. That's the philosophy driving these Charlotte-area nonprofits, all of which provide free or low-cost healthcare services to low-income families.
Their services cover a broad spectrum of physical and emotional healthcare needs, but at the core they are all committed to empowering people to take care of their health without worrying about going into debt or not being able to feed their children.
If you're a mom, back to school time probably means shopping for lunch boxes, scouring the school supply aisles for glue sticks, and helping your kids find the perfect outfit for the first day of school. But for a select group of moms in our area, going back to school means much more than that.
These moms are the ANSWER Scholarship recipients, and they are determined to complete their college degree not when the timing is perfect, not when their kids get older and life calms down, but right now, in the busiest, most demanding season of their lives.
Safe Alliance Provides Safety, Connection and Healing to Abuse and Assault Survivors
Written by Grace Kennedy
This month, SHARE Charlotte is talking all about their nonprofit partners that keep our neighbors and loved ones #SafeFromHarm. Charlotte-based nonprofit Safe Alliance does this and much more, serving more than 10,000 women, men, and children in our community each year. The organization’s mission is to provide hope and healing for people impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault. How do they accomplish such a huge task? Through safety, connection and healing.
When Reagan Watson was making rockets out of bendy straws at her kindergarten classmate’s house, she had no idea her love for science and engineering would lead to being a contestant on a national network television show.
As it turns out, her classmates’s mom who was hosting the rocket-making activity is Sandy Marshall, founder of Project Scientist.
And Project Scientist has been a key ingredient in Reagan’s incredible journey.
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!!