Progress 2018

Goldsboro News Argus - Progress Edition

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met the mayor and the assistant manager. And then, when we did have our launch meeting, I met Mark Colebrook, and that just took it to a whole other level." • Colebrook was at that meeting, and the meetings of may other civic groups in the city, to promote the central mission of Operation Unite Goldsboro –– bringing together various groups to tackle major issues as efficiently as possible. Colebrook connected with other groups after he began his own, including the 4-Day Movement, led by D.J. Coles, and held his first meeting in 2016. The community response at the time was not what he hoped it would be. "The community at that time didn't seem really responsive. There were people doing certain things, but it really wasn't responsive," he said. "I think that with the increased violence that was going on, the young people getting killed, it just let you know that the timing had to be right." Later that year, Colebrook held his second meeting, to greater turnout. It was then that Impact Teens began to get involved, along with groups like the 4-Day Movement. "We started to have meetings, and one thing that I wanted to do was not just to have meetings just be having them. So, from a strate- gic standpoint, we sat down and broke things down into pillars like the city government, education, so that you can focus on certain areas at a time," he said. "That's where the community police round- tables came from, and the community education roundtables came from." Those roundtables were a cornerstone of Operation Unite Golds- boro's work during 2017. The organization brought members of the community together with officials to discuss the issues surrounding those officials' work –– policing issues at the police roundtable and school issues at the education roundtable. Colebrook said that roundtable discussions were a way to promote actual conversation between community members and officials, as opposed to the brief segments available for public comment at board meetings. Through those meetings, and Operation Unite Goldsboro's own meetings, Colebrook began to find ways to connect the activities of those various "pockets of excellence" he had once identified. By con- stantly reminding those involved that they shared the same end goal –– a better, safer and more just Goldsboro –– Colebrook said he hoped to concentrate the efforts of everyone in the same direction instead of everyone doing the same thing separately. "The goal is to streamline. For instance, if there's a grant and the city council is trying to determine where that money should go, we look at it and see where that money would be utilized best," he said. "Would it be a 4-Day Movement that already has an established non- profit organization and has ties to the community? If it is going to be 4-Day Movement, how can 4-Day Movement then help other areas? If they get money for say mentoring, we don't need that to be spread out. Lets let them be that central point of contact and then let's work with 4-Day Movement to see how we can do things just a little bit smarter." That kind of mindset takes effort, Colebrook said. When people begin community groups, they will naturally want to do as much as possible within the umbrella of that group, which can make it hard to convince them to help another, potentially better suited group take the lead on a project they want to address. By pooling resources and channeling them through the best possible avenue, Colebrook said, community groups can achieve far better results than by working separately toward the same goal. Colebrook gave the example of back-to-school days across the city. The Wayne County Chamber of Commerce frequently holds a back- pack drive, and other groups do the same. Colebrook's thought process is to look at what it already being done, and instead of hav- ing a rush of similar events all at the same time, stretch it out over the year. That way, different groups are all able to meaningfully con- tribute without pulling resources or attention away from each other, all to the benefit of the students. "Schools are broken down by every nine weeks. So why not say 'your organization takes the first nine weeks, and my organization takes the next nine weeks, so there is always something continually throughout the year that's going to help kids," he said. "Let's not just do something around Christmas or Thanksgiving, let's map it out. If we have 10 organizations, let's figure out how we can do things on a continual basis." For Impact Teens, getting on board with Operation Unite Golds- boro has been a boon. The organization is comprised mostly of its board of directors, a small group of dedicated members who go into the community and reach out to teens. Working together with other groups. "Working with other groups has been amazing, because if we can just get everyone together that has that same purpose and have the same mission that want to make the same outcome in the communi- ty, it's an amazing thing," he said. "We work with Operation Unite Goldsboro, we work with 4-Day Movement and it's just a vibe because you get to meet different people and find out where they came from and why they're doing the things they're doing and get ideas from it, it's an amazing thing." In 2017, Impact Teens started to do some of those amazing things themselves. Looking at the violence occurring in the city, the group organized a peace walk in honor of Desconte Bryant, an 18-year-old Goldsboro High student who was shot to death outside his home on Hollowell Street on May 28, 2017. Impact Teens also organized a com- munity kickball game, cleaned graffiti at Eastern Wayne High, and held vigils and discussions on education and crime, often with the support of other community groups like Operation Unite Goldsboro. In 2018, Faire is hoping to expand Impact Teens beyond the core group. The group is planning a gala event for later this year, where it will recognize the people who have helped it achieve its goals. Faire and Cobb, now a student at UNC Greensboro, are still working together to find ways to reach out here at home. "On into the future, we want to continue to grow, go to different cities. Khalil has Greensboro Impact Teens, we're trying to get that up and going since he's at college in Greensboro," he said. "Our goals for 2018 is to have a successful gala, and we're still trying to bring more teens in, because we if continue to get them off the streets, a lot of teens will be able to go home at night time to their parents and a lot of parents will be able to see their kids come home to them." • Colebrook now teaches math and coaches junior varsity girls bas- ketball at Eastern Wayne High. His vision of getting the community to work together, while by no means complete, is beginning to come together, and he is excited for what is still to come. "I'm very optimistic about 2018, I believe that just the energy and the enthusiasm and just the care from the community that came up in 2017, the organizations aren't stopping. They've already started this year off. Impact Teens is having their gala, Unite for Goldsboro is getting ready to do a thing in March, we're going to do a parent meeting in February," he said. "These organizations are still pushing this information out and moving. Now I can see where we are transi- tioning from where we talked about it in 2016 and 2017 and now we're moving into more of a purpose." Colebrook hopes to use some of the programs established last year as a springboard to get the community more involved. For instance, feeding events where groups will gather to get food are great times to give out information about voter registration and talk directly to youth about their needs. Colebrook is preparing for another round- table later this year, this time on health care. Through all of the trials and tribulations, the violence and drug use that has afflicted Goldsboro in recent years, Colebrook has worked hard to stay hopeful and continue his work. Being able to keep his head up comes down to the foundations on which he has built his life. "To me, there's a couple things. One is my faith, my belief in God that He is always there, no matter what's going on He is always there watching," Colebrook said. "Also my family. When you go home and you are sometimes beaten down, even with your faith, your fami- ly is physical, they can touch, hold, talk to you." Tying everything together is a simple drive to make a difference in the time Colebrook has on Earth. It is a drive instilled by the kids he works with. "I want the community to be better for them," he said. "I want Goldsboro to be a place that they are proud to call home, and they are not proud to call it home now. I want it to get better, and I want them to see that it is getting better." Contnued from page 15 18C — Goldsboro News-Argus Friday, February 23, 2018 Change in motion Barnes, who grew up in what used to be con- sidered the slums of Goldsboro — the north end of town — has led a successful life in upper-level management and continues as the leader of a local nonprofit. As a young boy, he and his five brothers were raised by a single mother. A bright point in his life was having mentors and role models from church. The experience made a world of difference in his younger years in helping to shape the man he is today. "I know it helped me," he said. "If it wasn't for mentors in my life, there's no telling where I would be. "I want to do what I can to help young fellas realize they can succeed in life. They just have to have a goal and path and have someone help them find it." De'Marrius was encouraged by his mother to be a part of the program, which matches up teens with adult mentors with the same inter- ests. He also sees the program as helping him achieve more in life. "She said, 'You're going to need people in your life,'" De'Marrius said, of his mother. "I think it's useful because people need people in the future. Older people can help me get out and make a way for myself, provide on my own." John and De'Marrius were recently paired in the program, which started matching adults with teens in November. So far, they've been able to spend time getting to know each other. They've hung out, went to get pizza and John took De'- Marrius to the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. community luncheon, where he learned about the value of cultural and racial diversity. He remembers learning that everyone has similari- ties, even though they are different from each other. He also learned that it's possible to do great things in life. John is talking with De'Marrius about some of the things they can do and places they can go together. "We're going to sit down and figure out what he wants to do and plan from there," John said. They're talking about visiting colleges, a sport- ing goods store, going to area basketball games and traveling to Raleigh to walk through a museum and eat dinner. De'Marrius would be thrilled to see a Duke basketball game. John sees the mentoring program as offering teens a chance to do things they enjoy, while finding an adult they can trust. They also get an opportunity to see the world from a different per- spective and travel to places they may otherwise never go. "Some of these kids may never leave town," he said. "We want to get them involved in the com- munity and take them to see things they've never seen before." The 100 Fold Mentoring Program is operated under the umbrella of the Mary Wooten Harvey Foundation nonprofit. The program has so far enrolled 20 adults and 20 middle school stu- dents, mostly boys, said Mark Colebrook, a board member of the nonprofit. Mentors come from dif- ferent backgrounds, including nonprofits, educa- tion, real estate and the military. "It's something for them to give back to the community," Colebrook said. "They like the mid- dle school, as well, because that's where they feel they can make a difference." The mentees are also boys and girls with dif- ferent needs. "We have some that are struggling academical- ly," Colebrook said. "We have some that are struggling from a discipline standpoint, and we have some that are struggling with social skills." Mentors must be 25 years of age and older. They need to pass a criminal background check, have a valid driver's license and car insurance, finish a training program and be able to devote at least two hours a week to their mentee. Mentors receive training through a nationally accredited trainer with Dream Builders Commu- nication. Applications for mentors, especially men, are always being accepted. The program is intended to match mentors with mentees on a longterm basis. After students move on to high school, mentors will be needed for more students at Dil- lard Middle School, Colebrook said. "We're always actively recruiting because that goal is to have a mentor transition with the mentee," he said. The program first started in an effort to match 100 male mentors with 100 young men and expanded to include female mentors and young women. The vision for starting the program, in 2017, resulted from adults who were looking for ways to save children in the Goldsboro area, said Bobby Harvey, president of the foundation. An increase in violent crime also played a role. "The MWH Foundation created the 100 Fold program, with the goal of reaching 100 children of all walks of life and pairing them with positive role models to facilitate their growth," Harvey said. "We plan to reach more schools and more kids each year, and slowly we will turn the tide and see the difference in our community, giving encouragement and strength to our next genera- tion of leaders." The 100 Fold Mentoring Program is funded primarily through local charitable contributions, which help pay for mentor training and other program activities. The foundation, located at 200 W. Ash St., can be reached at 919-222-1419. Going for 100 Mark Colebrook discusses one of the students in the 100 Fold Mentoring Program in the hallway with assistant principal Jamel Jones Thursday at Dillard Middle School. Continued from page 14

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