Partner Spotlight: Guilford County Partnership for Children

The Guilford County Partnership for Children (GCPC) mission is to ensure that all Guilford County children ages birth to five are emotionally, intellectually, and physically ready for success in school.

Using public dollars and private donations, GCPC creates new programs and collaborates with existing ones to measurably improve the lives of children while strengthening families. The organization also administers one of the largest NC Pre-K programs in North Carolina, serving more than 2,000 preschoolers every school year.

With Smart Start expansion funding, GCPC is now able to fund the Child Care WAGE$ program in Guilford County.  WAGE$ provides education-based salary supplements to child care educators working with children ages birth to five.

“We are very excited to bring WAGE$ back to Guilford County,” said Ann Vandervliet Stratton, GCPC executive director. “We’re hearing there’s a 50 percent turnover rate in the county’s early education sector due to low wages and benefits. There’s enough pandemic-related hardship for working parents.  We need to support stable, accessible, high-quality child care for our families, children, and the local economy.”

It’s a natural connection. GCPC is also involved in early childhood training, workshops, and other resources for early childhood educators. The Child Care WAGE$ program is designed to increase retention, education, and compensation.

According to the program, the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University reports that “substantial investments in training, recruiting, compensating, and retaining a high-quality workforce must be a top priority for society.”  WAGE$ helps attract educated teachers to the field in the first place who might not otherwise choose it due to typically low salaries and benefits.  The additional compensation helps retain those educated teachers, and the program encourages (even mandates) additional education.

“WAGE$ produces measurable results,” Stratton said. “N.C. communities that invest in WAGE$ typically see a 25 percent reduction in the turnover rate.”

To be eligible for WAGE$, educators must work in a licensed child care program, earn less than $17 per hour, work at least six months in the same child care program, and meet certain educational criteria.

Lower turnover rates are important for children in early child care settings. The bond children create with their teachers sets the groundwork for positive learning experiences. When a program has teacher turnover, it is difficult for the center owner and the young children they serve.

Achieving higher levels of education can increase the supplement amount an educator can receive. The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Program offers scholarships to child care professionals who want to earn course credits toward certification or a degree. GCPC is sharing ways early childhood educators can get help with the training and education to increase the supplement they will receive through the program.

WAGE$ is a funding collaboration between GCPC (Smart Start) and the Division of Child Development and Early Education. It is administered by the Child Care Services Association.

Partner Spotlight: Kellen Foundation

By Stephanie Skordas, Director of Marketing and Communications

The mission of the Kellin Foundation is to strengthen resilience for children, families, adults, and communities through trauma-informed behavioral health services focused on prevention, treatment, and healing.

“We prevent, treat, and heal,” said Dr. Kelly Graves, Kellin Foundation’s executive director, and co-founder. “We do this primarily two ways – one is behavioral health services including mental health and substance abuse, and the second strategy is community and systems transformation.”

Focused on advocacy and outreach, clinical and peer support services, and building resilient communities, the organization serves about 10,000 people a year. The Kellin Foundation is one of only two nationally recognized community behavioral health centers in North Carolina with expertise and focus on trauma and resiliency as a partner with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Duke University is the other center.

“Using that trauma-informed lens is critical because our behavioral health, our physical health, and our health, in general, is strongly connected to stress and adversity,” Graves said. “It’s understanding and realizing the impact that trauma has, recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress has on our bodies and integrating what we know about these impacts into our practices, policies, and treatment.”

The organization created the Child Response Initiative (CRI), which helps children impacted by violence and stress and their families. CRI has four objectives: early intervention, information and education, community connection and referral, and building relationships. It provides community-based coordinated services delivered within a trauma-informed framework, leveraging the Guilford County Trauma Provider Network, a group of about 30 partners and organizations that work together to support safety and wellness among children and families.

Graves explained that traumatic stress can be experienced through an adverse childhood experience and systemic issues like discrimination and racism. She says the COVID-19 pandemic has created a broad awakening that stress impacts every aspect of our life, including mental health.

“The pandemic has opened the door to deeper conversation around how stress impacts us and the importance of monitoring and addressing that stress,” Graves said.

In addition to her work at the Kellin Foundation, Graves has been involved in Ready for School, Ready for Life’s system-building work, serving on various focus groups, workgroups, and committees throughout the years. She recently participated in the ages 3-5 social-emotional development workgroup for Phase II of Ready Ready’s work.

“What I’m excited to see in Ready Ready and in groups across the community is the emphasis given to the importance of social-emotional development and mental health as critical to helping children get ready for kindergarten, as well as the importance of taking a multi-generational approach to the work,” Graves said.

Graves and her team at the Kellin Foundation believe that behavioral health is strongly connected to adversity and trauma; everyone deserves to live in a home and in a community that is safe and free of trauma; that people, families, and communities are resilient and can thrive despite adversity; and that community organizations and systems play a key role in addressing adversity and building resiliency using a trauma-informed framework.

We work with more than 100 community organizations. You can see the extensive list on our website. If you’re one of our partners and would like to be featured, please contact Stephanie Skordas, Director of Marketing & Communications.

Partner Spotlight: Say Yes Guilford

Say Yes Guilford is an educational nonprofit committed to providing access to support services and scholarships designed to prepare Guilford County Schools’ students for success in college, career, and life.

“Our whole mission is centered around giving students access to support services and scholarships,” said President and CEO Wendy Poteat. “We’re trying to make sure Guilford County students are ready for college, a career, or life – whether they choose a four-year degree, a two-year degree, or a certificate program.”

Poteat joined Say Yes in 2019, at the time when it became a local nonprofit. During her time at the organization, she deepened its reach with Guilford County Schools to offer tutoring and other supports to promote success starting in elementary school.

“While Ready for School, Ready for Life focuses on prenatal to age eight and setting kids up for success, I see our work being part of that continuum,” Poteat said. “Say Yes Guilford takes up at that transition point in third grade to help make sure they are proficient in reading and supported through middle and high school. It’s a continuum of care.”

When the pandemic hit, a new opportunity to help students arose. Say Yes Guilford began offering virtual tutoring to alleviate learning loss to students now learning remotely.

“We offer a virtual tutoring prep platform from kindergarten to eighth grade with volunteer tutors. We thought we might offer it for one semester, but as the pandemic lingered, we had families asking us to keep it going,” Poteat said. “Ready Ready and The Duke Endowment helped us with funding, so we can continue to offer this support to students.”

Poteat says close partnerships with Guilford County Schools and community organizations help Say Yes offer support to GCS’ 70,000 students. “While we may be best known for providing last-dollar scholarships, more of our work is focused on listening and asking what families in Guilford County Schools really need. That’s how we can identify gaps and offer services that families say they want.”

Say Yes is using that information to develop its new strategies. One Poteat is particularly excited about is bringing career technical education (CTE) exposure to students starting in middle school. “We want sixth, seventh, and eighth graders to know more about the career academies and the amazing CTE opportunities available so they can plan better for their high school registration in eighth grade.”

When it comes to high school, Poteat says her staff is focused on equipping students to follow their best path and eliminating finance as a barrier. Say Yes offers a variety of coaching for students, such as one on one consultations that explore career or college options, SAT/ACT prep classes, individual scholarship counseling, or financial aid workshops, to name a few.

In addition to her work at Say Yes Guilford, Poteat has served on Ready Ready’s Ages 3-5 Active Reading strategy team. “It’s a tenet of servant leadership when you think about helping the community or helping people. That’s what I love about Ready Ready and being involved with this strategy team,” she said. “There are so many voices in the room and communities being heard. We must work through these ideas to engage active reading through different experiences and connections.”

We work with more than 100 community organizations. You can see the extensive list on our website. If you’re one of our partners and would like to be featured, please contact Stephanie Skordas, Director of Marketing & Communications.

Partner Spotlight: High Point Public Library

The mission of the High Point Public Library is nurturing the joy of reading, sharing the power of knowledge, strengthening the sense of community, and enhancing cultural and economic vitality. It’s a mission that Children’s Services Manager Jim Zola takes to heart.

“We’re very focused on outreach through our bookmobile and other programs,” Zola said. “We’re very involved with voting and early literacy, for example. We’re also working with the schools through our KinderCard program. We want every kindergartener in High Point schools to have a library card.”

The pandemic has naturally affected this outreach. “I do storytimes for one and two-year-olds and miss those in-person events,” Zola said. “We’ve done virtual and recorded storytimes on Facebook, but I miss the interaction with the children and their parents and caregivers. When the weather’s nice, we’ve taken our programs outdoors, so we’ve been able to keep it going. Our take-home kits have been another way to connect with families.”

The library’s bookmobile has been an essential part of this outreach. “Our bookmobile goes to home child care centers in the mornings to bring books and share storytimes,” he said. “In the afternoons, the bookmobile goes out into the community, where we partner with Growdega mobile pantry to visit neighborhoods that have low incomes, transportation needs, and food insecurity. Our bookmobile not only provides resources they need, in book and program form, but it’s also a wi-fi hotspot neighbors can access while we’re there.”

Zola has been looking forward to February when the High Point Library plans to resume in-person programming. The programs will require registration so group sizes can be observed. The library will hold yoga for kids and programs around Valentine’s Day and Black History Month this month.

Partnering with Ready for School, Ready for Life (Ready Ready) and Reach Out and Read, Zola and the library staff are working on a program that would connect with local hospitals to provide books for parents of newborns. “We want them to have a little backpack with board books and information about early literacy, including The Basics Guilford, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and Reach Out and Read. We hope to encourage them to come to the library with their little ones.”

Zola points out that library programs extend beyond providing books on shelves inside a building. “We’re really concerned about health and do programs about nutrition for children and adults. We’re concerned about the homeless population – we serve breakfast in the library one morning each week so we can keep in touch and find out how we can help with needs like coats during the winter, for example.”

The library offers programs on finance and a business center to support High Point residents. “As a community, we won’t survive without unity,” Zola said. “We’re trying to help in all different ways, not just asking people to come in and check out books.”

We work with more than 100 community organizations. You can see the extensive list on our website. If you’re one of our partners and would like to be featured, please contact Stephanie Skordas, Director of Marketing & Communications.

Partner Spotlight: Parents as Teachers Guilford County

By Stephanie Skordas, Director of Marketing & Communications

Parents as Teachers Guilford County (PATGC) believes all parents can be empowered to interact with their children in a way that encourages healthy well-rounded development, while enjoying their parenting journey.

“We work with families who are expecting children or have children up through their child’s entry into kindergarten or turn age six,” said Patti Learman, director of Parents as Teachers Guilford County. “Our work is built around the relationship that develops between the parent educator and the family. It’s a partnership for the parenting journey – these relationships are the ‘secret sauce’ that really make a difference.”

Learman explains that Parents as Teachers has four components to its program. Personal visits offer one-on-one time with a parent educator who shares child development information and activities. Regular screenings help parents make sure their child or children are healthy, safe, and developing on track. Group connections provide opportunities for families to share experiences, discuss challenges, and learn with other parents, and community resources are matched with families by parent educators to address parents’ concerns and needs.

From startup conversations to participating in the first cohort of the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), Parents as Teachers has been collaborating with Ready for School, Ready for Life (Ready Ready) for years.

“During the CQI process, we focused on bringing parent voice to our board,” Learman said. “We also did a lot of trauma-informed work with our parent educators so they understand how many families have experienced trauma and how we can best interact with them. Now it’s part of our policies and procedures and part of our regular work.”

Generally, the organization works with 60-75 families each year. The COVID-19 pandemic did affect the numbers slightly, but Learman and her team were delighted that switching to virtual visits was welcomed by their families. “We actually saw an increase in our visit numbers because families were so anxious for interaction,” she said. “We also gave tablets with a wi-fi hotspot to more than a dozen families who didn’t have internet access, thanks to funding provided through Smart Start.”

Like Ready Ready, Parents as Teachers supports school readiness for Guilford County children. Helping children arrive at school with the knowledge, skills, and physical and emotional health needed is one of the focus areas for the organization. Creating strong families is another – recognizing that each family member’s experiences or actions affect the whole unit.

“Family well-being is one of our focus areas,” Learman said. “So, if a parent needs a GED or employment or housing, we’ll get them connected with those resources. At the same time, we help parents understand their child’s stages of development and how they can best nurture them. We also believe strongly in helping parents connect with other families to build a support network and social outlets – when they realize their two-year-old isn’t the only one acting a certain way, they can normalize the parenting struggles and share in the triumphs together. All these areas work together in a complete system.”

Partner Spotlight: Housing Authority of the City of High Point

By Stephanie Skordas, Director of Marketing & Communications

The mission of the Housing Authority of the City of High Point (HPHA) is to provide affordable housing to low-income to moderate-income families. What you may not know is that the organization also offers housing counseling services to the public. These services include financial budgeting, preparing for a home purchase, and financial literacy. HPHA also offers post-purchase education for home buyers, and courses in credit counseling, rental education, and more.

It’s a mission CEO Angela McGill takes to heart.

“I grew up in public housing in High Point in what was formerly Clara Cox Homes,” McGill said. “In one of the units, we had a Head Start program which I participated in. I believe the early education Head Start provides sets a foundation for academic growth.”

McGill left High Point for a stint in the U.S. Army before earning her B.S. and MBA degrees from High Point University. She began her career with HPHA in 2003, and in 2010 became the first female to head the agency since its formation in 1940.

“There’s nothing more exciting than being able to go back to the community which impacted you the most,” McGill said. “Living in public housing can come with stereotyping and stigmas. It’s incredibly important to have the academic resources to set the foundation for children. Having resources for parents gives them tools to better understand child development and the knowledge on how to encourage their children to thrive. That’s why our partnership with Ready for School, Ready for Life has been so beneficial.”

The HPHA and Ready for School, Ready for Life (Ready Ready) have teamed up to provide early childhood resources to HPHA’s Public Housing community members by way of the Interactive Learning Center located at the J.C. Morgan Community Center. Two rooms have been transformed for families with young children themed around The Basics Guilford.

One of the rooms is for families with children ages 0-3 with soft play mats, age-appropriate toys, and beanbag chairs. The second is designed for families with children ages 3-5 and offers comfortable children’s furniture, books, and fun manipulatives.

“Creating an environment to help families with young children is critical to their emotional, physical, and cognitive well-being. It supports our mission and Ready Ready has been a dynamic partner.”

HPHA and Ready Ready are working together to connect with local organizations to provide programming on child development, literacy, parenting, and more. HPHA’s families will be able to sign up for these learning opportunities through the HPHA’s Resident Services Department.

Partner Spotlight: Every Baby Guilford

“Our mission is to ignite and mobilize Guilford County through partnerships and unified strategies to eliminate racial disparities and prevent infant deaths,” said Jean Workman, executive director of Every Baby Guilford.

The infant mortality rate in Guilford County is one of the highest in North Carolina. Of the 6,045 babies born in Guilford County in 2019, 56 did not make it to their first birthday.

Every Baby Guilford is a 30-year public-private partnership with the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services. As part of its 30th anniversary, the organization – formerly the Coalition on Infant Mortality – launched with a new name and a five-year strategic plan.

“When we started this organization in 1991, the disparity gap or the black infant mortality rate was 14.6 per 1,000 births. Today, our most recent 2019 stats show the same figure,” Workman said. “The Black infant mortality rate hasn’t changed substantially in 30 years.”

Workman points out that the organization historically created programs that focused on changing a pregnant person’s health and behavior, such as blood pressure monitoring, nutrition, and access to prenatal care. But the data shows that the Black infant mortality rate hasn’t dropped. A new approach was needed.

“We are still focused on mothers, but now we want to change the systems they encounter, particularly for Black moms,” Workman said. “In many respects, we are aligned so closely with Ready for School, Ready for Life. Together we are working on population-level change.”

Inspired by Ready Ready’s system-building approach, the Every Baby Guilford team, along with community members, health care professionals, policymakers, faith-based organizations, and partner organizations, worked together to relaunch with a collective action framework. The goal is to bring mortality rates down by 50 percent over the next five years.

“We want to eliminate systemic racism that exists in our medical practices through implicit bias, ensure safe and well-equipped areas for exercise, and address food insecurity for families. All these are a system change approach,” Workman said. “Eliminating structural racism will make the system more approachable, more resourceful, and more accessible.”

Every Baby Guilford names four key injustices that have negatively impacted Black mothers and young children through structural or institutional racism. They are unequal access to resources, housing discrimination, breastfeeding, and mistrust of health care institutions.

According to its website, the organization believes that understanding past events will allow Guilford County to better understand the cause of infant disparities and identify solutions that move towards an equitable future.

“We must change the policies, practices, and procedures that occur within the system so that families can more easily navigate those resources,” Workman said. “Having willing partners at the table ready to take part will help us make this transformation.”

Workman kicks off the strategy with a storytelling project she calls “Giving Voice to Mothers.” She said collecting the maternal health narratives, particularly of women of color in our community, will paint the picture of what’s needed in Guilford County for improvement and change.

Partner Spotlight: Greater High Point Food Alliance

The Greater High Point Food Alliance (GHPFA) is a grassroots organization formed to address food insecurity. When it started in 2014, the Greensboro-High Point Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was number two in the nation in food hardship. The following year, it moved to number one. Since that time, it has moved to number 14, according to GHPFA’s website.

“We take a collaborative approach and work with four neighborhoods. We asked them how they would solve food insecurity, and then we work alongside them to help them achieve those goals,” said Carl Vierling, the organization’s executive director. “We work behind the scenes at a higher level to connect resources to each of the groups we work with.”

The High Point neighborhoods working with GHPFA are Burns Hill, Washington Street, Highland Mills, and West End. Representatives from each area are board members, along with a wide variety of community leaders. Recently, the organization held a “Walk to the Store” to demonstrate what it would take for a person in the Highland Mills neighborhood without transportation to walk to the closest store, the Walmart on South Main Street. The route has no sidewalks and crosses Business 85.

“Many of the people that we work with are one car repair bill away from walking,” Vierling explained. “When you have to walk to the store, you have a limit on how much food you can carry, so that means multiple trips each week.”

GHPFA built an app with information about food pantries, backpack programs, community gardens, hot meals, and feeding sites at Guilford County Schools. “The app is location-based, so it will not only show you the food pantry closest to you, but the hours that it is open, and what requirements might be needed,” Vierling said. “We also have emergency assistance, financial assistance, and shelters as resources on the app.”

According to Feeding America, before the COVID-19 pandemic began, food insecurity in the United States was at its lowest rate in more than 20 years. When it measured food insecurity in Guilford County, the overall rate was 13.1 percent in 2019. As a result of the pandemic, the organization projects that number has risen to 15.1 percent in 2021.

Vierling said he’s seeing benefits like the earned income tax credit, expanded child tax payments, and pandemic EBT (P-EBT) making a difference for High Point families, along with the work GHPFA is doing. The organization has work teams that take on the food insecurity issue such as food access, education, nutrition, urban agriculture, seniors, and policy.

Like Ready for School, Ready for Life (Ready Ready), GHPFA focuses on connecting programs, resources, and community members to break down silos and solve problems. “Our work overlaps with Ready Ready and we’re happy to be partners. We recently had some conversations about the work Ready Ready is doing with pediatric offices. It’s so important to recognize the impact of food insecurity on health,” Vierling said. “One of the things I love about Ready Ready is that it’s trying to wrap these services around people, around young children, and get them ready for school and ready for life.”

Vierling says GHPFA’s approach can be summed up in three words: empower, unify, and sustain. “We give people a voice who’ve never had one. We bring people together and give them the tools they need to solve problems,” he said. “We create sustainability through food education, urban agriculture, and leadership programs.”

Partner Spotlight: Reach Out and Read

Reach Out and Read believes all families should have access to books and the meaningful moments created by shared reading with children. Reach Out and Read is a two-generation intervention unique for its unparalleled access to children through the medical home, supporting families through the trusted voice of their medical provider.

The research-based model has three parts:

  • Medical providers prescribe books during well-child visits while teaching and training caregivers about how to share books and why it’s important
  • Each child is given a new, culturally and developmentally appropriate book to take home.
  • Clinic environments support literacy-rich messaging and resources for families.

“Spending time with a loving adult provides exceptional benefits for young children,” said Pam Bacot, Program Manager with Reach Out and Read North Carolina. “The simple act of reading aloud together helps create a lasting emotional connection, stimulates a child’s cognitive development, and lays the groundwork for a lifelong love of reading and learning.”

Guilford County has been a part of Reach Out and Read since 1998. Originally designed for children 6 months to age five, Bacot shared that Reach Out and Read has committed as an organization to shifting this model to begin at the earliest visit after birth. Across North Carolina, including Guilford County, Reach Out and Read will support parents and caregivers from the very beginning.

“Brains are built over time, from the bottom up. We know that 80 percent of a child’s brain develops by age three,” said Bacot, “Advances in our understanding of early childhood development over the last 25 years have shown us it’s essential that parents engage with their children from birth. While someone with a newborn may not be thinking about kindergarten readiness, this is the time for the foundation to be set.”

This extension adds four additional Reach Out and Read visits – newborn, one-month, two-month, and four-month well visits — for every child.

According to Bacot, Reach Out and Read serves more than 10,000 children in Guilford County in a typical year. During the pandemic in 2020, Reach Out and Read served more than 9700 children at ten participating sites and distributed nearly 16,000 books in our county. “Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we were so pleased to move forward with our mission,” Bacot said.

Ready for School, Ready for Life (Ready Ready) partners with Reach Out and Read, HealthySteps, Family Connects, and Nurse-Family Partnership through our Navigation system. Navigation ensures every pregnant person and their family has information and support as their family grows. Starting prenatally, dedicated Navigators meet with families to understand their strengths, needs, and goals. Then we work together to make secure connections to services, resources, or support that will make a difference, eliminating gaps and providing a seamless experience.

“We’re also pleased to partner with Ready Ready for The Basics Guilford, offering easy ways for parents and caregivers to enhance their serve-and-return relationships with their youngest children,” Bacot said. “This give and take model helps foster learning. Together, we guide high-quality implementation and integration of these programs in medical home settings, hospital systems, and other community locations serving pregnant persons and families with young children.”

Reach Out and Read is the only national pediatric literacy model endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The organization trains, supports, and engages medical providers. Because they work closely with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and their families, they have a particular vantage point and understand how social determinants of health like poverty, literacy, housing, food insecurity, and access to parenting resources affect a child’s healthy development.

Reach Out and Read’s research shows that having a strong, loving bond with an adult can even undo some of the harm created by adverse childhood experiences – experiences that include the negative impacts of poverty and racism, abuse, a divorce, or an illness in the family.

“We like to say a book is a powerful tool. In the hands of a child, it can be a portal to a world of imagination. For a parent, it can be the catalyst that brings the family together, creating meaningful moments that forge strong bonds,” said Bacot.

Partner Spotlight: YWCA High Point

By Stephanie Skordas, Director of Marketing & Communications

One hundred and one years ago, the YWCA High Point was formed. The organization is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

Today, the YWCA has seven core areas of programming: social justice and advocacy, women’s resource center, youth services, aquatics and wellness, teaching kitchen, Latino family center, and adolescent parenting.

Executive Director Heidi Majors has been with YWCA High Point almost 20 years, and said a big part of the focus is maternal health and ensuring that infants and toddlers in the greater High Point area are meeting the milestones and being prepared for school at age five.

“Our maternal health programs are so important,” Majors said. “In June 2020, YWCA began using the Parents As Teachers model, with case managers to work with the parents. YWCA High Point is expanding to have 5 Parent Educators to serve more parents.  One of these case managers works with adolescent parents under the age of 19. Through home visits and group education sessions, we focus on planning for their families, as well as making sure they have prenatal care to help with healthy birth outcomes.”

The Adolescent Parenting Program works to make a difference in the lives of young school-age mothers and fathers who are pregnant or parenting.  In addition to home visits and group education, the program offers mentors, school support sessions, college tours, and field trips.

Majors said Ready for School, Ready for Life (Ready Ready) supported many of the YWCA’s adolescent parents during the pandemic. “That was an instrumental piece of how we lift up our high-risk communities and make sure they had what they needed. Whether that was food, diapers, or other essential items, we were able to do that thanks to Ready Ready and The Duke Endowment.”

YWCA High Point also supports families with infants and toddlers through Healthy Beginnings. It’s a personalized program for minority women and their children. Healthy Beginnings seeks to help young women have healthy pregnancies and healthy children and continue a healthy lifestyle between pregnancies.

Last year YWCA High Point served more than 1,000 parents with its Baby Basics closet – providing diapers, formula, clothing, and larger items like cribs and pack-n-play equipment. “We work very closely with agencies across Guilford County and the North Carolina Diaper Bank to ensure our infants and toddlers have this support. A parent won’t have to keep their child home from daycare because they don’t have diapers, for example, and they can go to work. It’s about lifting up the whole support system.”

Majors said the YWCA’s focus on social justice is designed to bring real change to the fight for gender equality and racial justice. In the time since the murder of George Floyd last summer, Majors is encouraged to see the conversation continue about systemic racism, racial equity, and social justice.

“In 2020, there has been an opportunity for people to be open, listen, and learn to educate themselves. Not everyone is receptive to that message, but through collaborations and partnerships, we’re looking at more systemic change,” Majors said. “Our Community Builders program, which we started in 2018, has trained individuals using the groundwater approach from the Racial Equity Institute. We’re fighting for racial equity because there are so many disparities within our communities. We’re addressing these disparities through a number of programs, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”

To learn more about YWCA High Point, visit their website.