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Scene and Heard: Two groups part of "village" helping local children
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Scene and Heard: Two groups part of "village" helping local children

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One of the current candidates running for president in November’s election said, “It takes a village,” in reference to the role communities can play in helping children become productive adults. Fortunately, here in our city numerous organizations function as part of the village for local children, and two are front and center in this week’s events coverage.

Imprints Cares: A Night of Hope

Imprints Cares, established in 1969 as the Association for the Benefit of Child Development, has a stated vision “to unlock the full potential of children and their families for success in school and in life.” Driven by a strategy of nurturing children and supporting parents, the staff at Imprints, as well as its supporters, believes that thriving families translate into thriving communities, a philosophy shared by the late Mike Britt, former executive director of The Centers for Exceptional Children.

Britt was a key focus of the May 21 Imprints Cares: A Night of Hope gala at the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel. Throughout the evening, guests celebrated Britt’s life and legacy to the community while also enjoying food, music and the recently renovated hotel as a backdrop.

Britt’s sons, Matt and Andrew, were on hand for the evening’s festivities.

“Our job is to never let children and their families settle for the current ceiling of their hope,” said Matt Britt, accompanied by his wife, Joanna, and mother, Ginny Britt. “We need to find ways to let them hope and dream bigger and better. This is a hope Dad would want to live inside.”

Anne and Jack Curlett, longtime friends of Britt’s who served with him on the Giannini board at UNCSA attended, as did Woody Clinard, winner of the 2015 Winston-Salem Foundation award and husband of the late Helen Clinard, one of the original directors of Imprints (ABCD).

Nancy Griffith, current executive director for the Centers for Exceptional Children, came out for the evening, as did Bill Dillard with Wake Forest Baptist Health Winston-East Pediatrics and Elizabeth Dampier, executive director of the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem. Dr. Marcela Heinrich, Wake Forest Baptist Health/Westgate Pediatrics, joined Dr. Karyn Gordon, also of the Winston-East Pediatrics offices. Imprints Cares family educators are on site at both practices as part of the Ready for School programs.

Two retired teachers from the Centers for Exceptional Children — Carolyn Little and Audrey Campbell — participated in the recognition celebration. Both are now teachers for Imprints Cares exceptional needs program, Downtown on Broad. Marlon Hunter, the director of the Forsyth County Health Department, spent some time with Gene and Karen Blackwelder. Dr. Karen and Carlos Roseboro joined Imprints Cares’ Melissa Payton for conversation.

WXII’s Briana Connor and Michelle Kennedy joined the celebration, along with Susan Raymer, the Imprints board president. Nikki Byers, executive director for Imprints, greeted guests, including Dennis and Martha McNames.

Along with beer, wine and heavy hors d’oeuvres, guests enjoyed tunes from The Matt Kosma Quartet. Additionally, the ticket for the event entitled the bearer to a special room rate at The Cardinal, one of the city’s most recent hot spots gathering place.

Additional guests enjoying the combination of swank setting and soiree included Robin McKeown, Jo A. Peay, and HanesBrands’ Dwight Thompson and his wife, Tamara. Also attending from HanesBrands was Maria Teza, who came with her husband, Dennis, and Jaye Powell, a vice president with the company and Imprints board member. Elise Whitley and Monica Guy, family law attorneys, offered their support to the night, as did Rachel Stinehelfer, Beth Fields and Janet Ray.

“We believe Mike truly witnessed the magic that unfolded last night as you all raised the hope for more children and their families,” Matt Britt said. “Together, we can do more.”

Crosby Scholars

Old Town Club was the elegant setting for the kickoff event for the 12th Annual Crosby Scholars Invitational. During the evening event, the precursor to The Breakfast of Champions and announcement of 2016 award recipients, sponsors, donors, board and staff members and supporters gathered to hear Margaret Spellings, the president of the University of North Carolina system, speak about the program and the state of education.

“As a former Secretary of Education, I am excited to address an organization that fosters collaboration amongst middle schools, high schools, and universities,” Spellings said. “And as president of the University of North Carolina, I am thrilled to be here to celebrate a program that helped to guide some the states’ best students to our universities.”

Spellings noted that more than 400 recent graduates are enrolled in 15 of the state’s public universities. She added that UNC institutions represent four of the five schools most attended by Crosby Scholars.

“We are lucky to have such talented, service-focused, and well-prepared students in our ranks,” Spellings said. “I came to North Carolina because of the visionary approach this state has taken to higher education since the first public university opened its doors here in 1795.”

Spellings is currently on a 100-day trip across the state with the goal of seeing every UNC school system before the academic year ends. During her keynote speech, she noted that accessible higher education is a shared commitment between the university system and The Crosby Scholars program.

“I have heard remarkable stories that capture the transformation this state has seen in a few short generations. And I have marveled at the pride people take in the public university, this University of the People,” Spellings said.

“I have also heard from many students who are worried about the cost of their education; parents who are worried about an uncertain economic future; employers who are worried about the readiness of our graduates for a changing economy; and policymakers and community leaders who are worried about how to best embrace changing demographics and an uneven economic landscape. It is our responsibility as a University to assure them — and you — of our worth and our commitment to access.”

Although the golf tournament on the morning following the gala was cancelled due to weather, the Breakfast of Champions was held on schedule at Bermuda Run Country Club. The following individuals were recognized during the breakfast:

Hector Sanchez received The Jessica Hill Davis Scholarship, established immediately after the 2011 Breakfast of Champions in memory of Jessica Davis, a senior at Reagan High School who lost her battle with cystic fibrosis just weeks before graduation. Sanchez, a student at Walkertown High School, will receive $1,550 and is planning to attend UNC-Greensboro in the fall.

Jasmine Ceron received the Mommie J Scholarship, established as a tribute to the friendship of Kathryn Crosby and Jewel Fulton, known as Mommie J. Mommie J is the mother of Paul Fulton, one of the founders of the Crosby National Celebrity Golf Tournament. Ceron attends Early College of Forsyth and plans to use the $1,500 scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in the fall.

Jason Crouse was awarded The Les and Evelyn Riley Scholarship, awarded to one graduating Crosby Scholar senior who demonstrates academic achievement by holding a cumulative QPA of 3.5 or higher, actively participates in community service and extracurricular activities, and clearly described the impact of a significant experience in his/her life. The Riley Scholar is awarded a one-time $1,200 college scholarship. Crouse will attend Northeastern University this fall.

Sarah Henshaw, a Reagan High School student, received The Dean Smith Integrity Award, first awarded in 2015. This award is to honor the memory of Coach Dean Smith and his commitment to both the CROSBY National Celebrity Golf Tournament and the Crosby Scholars Invitational Golf Tournament and to honor his inspiring record of leadership, service, and excellence. Henshaw started the Gay Straight Alliance Club at Reagan High School.

Joyce Zhong received the Fulton Carolina Medal, a one-time $1,500 college scholarship. The award was created to honor philanthropist and community leader Paul Fulton, and to encourage students to reflect on his volunteer leadership as an example of the powerful impact that an imaginative person of action can have on his or her community. Zhong attends East Forsyth High School and has been involved in service organizations, putting in a total of more than 800 hours of service.

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