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Goldsboro News Argus - Progress Edition

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10C — Goldsboro News-Argus Friday, February 23, 2018 Heart in hyphenates her last name to honor him. "He was the reason why I got out of public hous- ing," she said. "I was able to use that and get out of public housing, and I got my first apartment." She continued with her education and attended N.C. Wesleyan College where she graduated with two bachelor's degrees — in business administra- tion and accounting, in 2008. She continued to work for WAGES but struggled to make ends meet. She never sought any public assistance. "I felt like if I got any public assistance, I was going to repeat the same cycle as my momma and not get out," she said. THE WORKING POOR By 2010, things started to change for Shycole after she was hired to work for the city of Golds- boro as a rehabilitation community development specialist. During the job application process, the former WAGES director paid for her college tran- scripts, which she needed to verify her degrees. She also didn't receive her bachelor's degrees until she paid the fees. "I was the working poor before I started work- ing at the city of Goldsboro, and that was in 2010," she said. "When I got my first paycheck, I paid the graduation fee to be able to get my degrees — two years later — because I could not afford it." She and her now husband also struggled to find the money to get married, even though they had been together nearly 10 years. They finally married in 2010. Shycole continued with her education and earned a master's degree in business administra- tion from Capella University in 2012. She became the community development administra- tor in 2013 and was promoted to a higher-profile job, as the Goldsboro community relations direc- tor, in 2016. But her success was also met with setbacks, pain and challenges. ACHIEVING THE DREAM Around the time when she learned about the promotion, she was going through a difficult time, with the unexpected loss of her brother who died after suffering from an asthma attack. "He was 32," she said. "This is a kid I gave my food to. That's the sibling I'm the most closest to." Shycole briefly shared her loss during the recent Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. community luncheon, saying when her brother was strug- gling during the asthma attack, there were emergency workers from different racial back- grounds all working hard to save him. It was an example of how important unity is in Goldsboro and Wayne County, she said. In her daily work, many times with people struggling in poverty, she works to offer help and hope. She also believes — without a doubt — that rising out of poverty is possible. She believes her experiences can offer others hope. "I know what poverty is like," she said. "I am a true living example. If you want to get out of poverty, you can get out of poverty." During the past two years as Goldsboro's com- munity relations director, she has worked hard to meet the needs of people in the community, even when she was facing her own challenges. In 2017, she was diagnosed with early stage kidney failure and continued to work in between her doctor visits and need for rest. "I knew there were a lot of people that depend- ed on me," she said. "I know there's a lot of peo- ple that do not feel comfortable talking to anyone else at the city. I knew that if I was down, nurs- ing myself, they weren't going to have somebody that they could call to help them." It was during that time that she collaborated with community partners in the creation of the city of Goldsboro's summer youth job program, which attracted hundreds of interested teens in its first year. She works long hours, sometimes through the weekend and always tries to be available to peo- ple in the community. She enjoys the freedom in making a difference. "When you grow up not having control to be able to do things and feeling like you never will do anything, when you get to the point where you've got that freedom, it runs with you," she said. Her work includes administering grants pro- vided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the N.C. Housing Finance Agency and the Community Develop- ment Block Grant program. She helps secure grants to help people find affordable housing or make housing repairs, and she works with land- lords to help people avoid eviction. Her office also finances the needs of a local food truck, and she finds ways to help children who are hungry or in need of clothing. She also organizes large-scale events, includ- ing the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ban- quet, the Interfaith Breakfast and the Human Relations banquet and directs the Goldsboro Mayor's Youth Council. OFFERING HOPE It wasn't too long ago that she was offered a job that would have provided her with a promotion and a substantial pay increase outside of Wayne County. She considered the job but ended up turn- ing it down. "I just thought about the people I serve and I just couldn't go," she said. "I stay here because I care." "My pain is why I am so committed here at the city of Goldsboro. My pain and suffering is why I can sympathize and empathize with the most dis- enfranchised people in our community. My pain and suffering is why I work like I do, coming in here at 6:30 a.m. and leaving at 7 p.m. and work- ing almost every weekend to help somebody because I know what it's like to not have hope. "There were many times I didn't have that and I want to give that to people. Somebody helped me when I couldn't help myself, and I've got to do the same thing." Shycole Simpson-Carter, left, speaks with fourth-graders Jeremiah Leach, Ja'Kerreyon Keichum, Quran Crawford and Cashmere Faison in the lunchroom at Carver Heights on Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. the city Continued from page 9

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