From kids helping kids to adults who recognize what’s important to young people, these NC residents are doing extraordinary things in their communities.
They say the youth are our future, so who’s working to ensure that future remains bright? The North Carolinians included below made a choice to get involved.
Kidz That Care was founded in 2018 by Maia Campbell, a student at Providence High School in Charlotte. The nonprofit organizes and leads fun, safe, and free age-appropriate volunteer events and service projects for kids and teens. Since its inception, they’ve completed more than 350 service projects supporting a variety of issues.
What’s important: “The issues that are most important to me are early childhood literacy and education, childhood hunger and poverty, social and racial equity, special needs and at-risk youth, water quality and clean creeks, and youth mental health,” said Campbell.
Motivation: “Study after study has shown that, in addition to helping others and making a difference in the world, volunteerism provides wonderful long-lasting benefits for children and teenagers. Giving back to the community teaches appreciation and gratitude, enhances world perspective, inspires giving and empathy, introduces life skills, builds social and leadership skills, benefits physical and mental health, influences balanced habits, develops a sense of purpose, and improves self-awareness.”
Advice: “Start locally with organizations that support causes they’re genuinely passionate about. Research opportunities and work with your schedule and start maybe monthly and then increase recurrence so that it becomes a sustainable and ongoing activity. Organize a group of friends or classmates and volunteer as a team and make it fun.”
Social: Kidz That Care
Since 1986, Tony McCallum has spent six weeks each summer at Camp Carefree in Stokesdale, a small town in the Piedmont Triad. He started as a camper and eventually became one of the program directors. Each week of the free sleepover camp is dedicated to children, ages 6 to 16, who are affected by genetic, neurological, or physical disorders and illnesses. During the school year, McCallum is an elementary school physical education teacher and middle school football coach.
What’s important: “Inclusion and diversity,” explained McCallum. “I love to see kids with different backgrounds, gender identities, ethnicities and abilities having the same opportunities and a level playing field.”
Motivation: “Knowing there is a need for an African American male presence, not only in our schools, but in our communities along with kids with special needs to have advocates.”
Advice: “Research organizations and schools looking for people to get involved. I would also encourage everyone to be a part of the solution.”
Social: Camp Carefree
Deeper dive: Healthy or Not, Kids Just Want to Have Fun
As the artistic director of RhinoLeap Productions, a nonprofit professional theatre company based in Asheboro, Jeremy Skidmore oversees innovative residencies at high schools within the state. He’s also involved with Impact Now, a two-week social entrepreneurship summer camp for teens. Participants learn about collaboration, marketing, public speaking, and financial literacy.
Hometown: “I moved around all over the United States before landing in North Carolina at the age of 16,” said Skidmore.
What’s important: “The focus of my work is to entertain and to ask questions of my community: Why do you believe what you believe? Do you understand the history of the community we live in? Are you open to surrounding yourself with people who view the world differently from you?”
Motivation: “The lesson that has taken me the longest to learn is that the art I help to create is not about me or for me. It is about the community in which the work is created. Their stories. Told in a way that makes each member of the community curious about the other.”
Advice: “Listen to what those around you are saying and wanting and needing. Every community is unique.”
Social: RhinoLeap Productions
Ingrid Wicker McCree
Ingrid Wicker McCree’s long history with student athletes continues in her role as the CEO and founder of WM Leadership & Legacy Coaching, LLC. McCree is providing young athletes from the community the opportunity to enhance their physical and mental well-being through a comprehensive sports performance program through Duke Sports Performance, a project with the Duke Sports Sciences Institute.
“We offer strength training, speed training, sports nutrition, sports psychology, sports vision, and leadership development,” McCree said. “Many of our athletes seek to compete on the highest level and our program provides an avenue to achieve their goals.”
What’s important: “Equity in education, access to education and sports, Title IX, youth sports, sports behavior, leadership development, access to health care”
Motivation: “My parents introduced us to serving in the community early on. I remember riding in the car with them as they picked up people who didn’t have transportation to the polls to vote. Serving others was instilled in me and carried on throughout my personal and professional life. Making a positive impact in someone else’s life motivates me.”
Advice: “Be present! There are so many opportunities to help others and make a difference in their lives and in our communities, but you have to be present to do so. Being present means positioning yourself to be able to help. ‘If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.’”