Progress 2018

Goldsboro News Argus - Progress Edition

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don't have. That little girl impacted me a lot that year. She was just as sweet as she could be, but had a lot of trouble at school because so much was going on at home." That included a new baby coming and three and four people to a bed, just "lots of issues," she said. It was then that Whitley realized her passion for helping children in need. She knew there was no need to re- invent the wheel or duplicate what others were doing. But what she did know was that she needed to do something to con- nect resources to children in need. She took her first step with a program called Bless Your Sole in 2013. Whitley made what she called shoe tick- ets around Christmas and sold them for $25 a piece to raise money. "That was kind of the catalyst, I guess, for starting to collecting money," she said. By February of 2014, Whitley decided to start a nonprofit. The name All the King's Children came to her in a dream. The logo is an egg nestled in a crown symbolizing putting the pieces back together. All the King's Children was incorporated in March of that year and continues to evolve in what it does to find needed resources — standing in the gap, trying to find who has what resources, she said. Applications are taken year-round from pastors, teachers, social workers, school counselors and are handled on a case-by- case basis. "What is your church offering, what is your group offering?" Whitley said. "What are you doing that we can help somehow, either raise funds so that we can continue to tutor or pay the light bill so we can have activities here. What can you do to help somebody who needs help?" She quit her teaching job to run All the King's Children. "I didn't see it being what it is today," she said. "It just continued to evolve as you see needs and learn about other people's pro- grams or activities or what can we do. So I didn't see this (growth) at the time. It was just trying to figure out how we could help." • Born in Massachusetts, Whitley's family moved to Gates County in northeastern North Carolina when she was 5 so that her father could look after his parents. "That is one of those where the Yankees don't claim you and the Southerners don't either," she jokes. Whitley attended N.C. State University where she received a degree in business management with a concentration in mar- keting in 1995. It was while at N.C. State that she met her future husband, Chris, who was work- ing with Carolina Turkeys (now Butterball) at the time. They moved to Mount Olive and will be celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. They have two children, Dylan, 16, a jun- ior at Southern Wayne High School, and Katie, 13, an eighth-grader at Mount Olive Middle School. Whitley was a stay-at-home mom after her son was born and started her own busi- ness, MW Designs. "I did logos and cards and business cards and taking people's photographs and turn- ing them into greeting cards," she said. "I ended up doing some contract work for Southern Bank. "Somewhere in there, I decided I was going to go back and get my teaching cer- tificate. I did that online through ECU. I got my kindergarten through sixth-grade teacher's license." She did her student teaching in Fremont. • "I spent a lot of time in the nurse's office and social worker's office my first year with a homeroom trying to figure out how do we help these children, what do we need to do?" she said. Whitley learned more about what the nurse and social worker had to do as they struggled to help children with needs. "Just seeing the different things that they were dealing with — the shoes that were too big, the clothes that weren't fitting right, or (being) hungry," she said. "To watch them eat all that they can and want more and just knowing that they probably weren't going to eat again when they got home." Also as a teacher, Whitley witnessed teachers buying supplies with their own money and doing what they could to help their students. "So that kind of prompted the whole mis- sion I guess — just trying to figure out a way to help make people's lives easier who were trying to make a difference, trying to give every child any opportunity to be there and be able to pay attention and learn," she said. "When you are so worried that someone is going to pick on you, all you do is spend all day picking on someone else. You can't get anything done. The teacher can't get anything done." • Whitley recalls sitting in her Sunday school class looking out the window for a long time and then looking around the room at all the "educated and really smart folks" in that room. "But at that time we cared about our kids," Whitley said. "Everybody was in the season of brand new children and trying to figure out how to take care of ourselves. "But I just had that yearning that we should be doing more, that there is too much talent, too much education, there are so many resources sitting in this tiny room for us not trying to help." It is important to instill that passion to help in future generations to carry on the mission, she said, which is why All the King's Children has a youth advisory board. "That is part of what we need to happen," Whitley said. "It's got to come from those youths. They are the ones who have to fol- low up. They are the ones who have to see the need and continue to understand that it is important to help others." Whitley said she thinks having lived it for so long that her children are more aware of the needs. "They are always helping me," she said. "I am always putting them to work. They do whatever I ask them to help, and they are good at it. I think that they would help any- body. "I don't think they would look past any- body because they don't have." • Whitley said that her business back- ground, the marketing and the education experience and the experience of actually being in the classroom gave her insight into Friday, February 23, 2018 Goldsboro News-Argus — 3C In the service of the King Continued from page 2 Chris Whitley works on one of his abstract paintings to be sold in the Olive Art Gallery. Although Whitley is not an artist by trade, he uses it as an outlet for his creativity while being able to raise money for All the King's Children. Sisters Carolina, 17, and Odalis Diaz, 16, pick out dresses for the Southern Wayne High School prom at the "Say Yes to the Prom Dress" fundraiser at All the King's Children in Mount Olive on Saturday, Feb. 3. The Olive Art gallery, featuring jewelry, paintings and other items donated and on consignment, is open the first Saturday of every month at All the King's Children's location in downtown Mount Olive. See Page 8

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