More than 600 people, including students from Guilford and Forsyth counties, attended an educational luncheon and symposium featuring Soledad O’Brien, CNN Anchor and Special Correspondent, and Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Director of the Smithsonian Museum of African Art and former president of Bennett College. The event held on Friday, March 22, was sponsored by the African American Leadership group of the United Way of Greater Greensboro.
“Our goal was to provide a forum for the community to learn more about what’s going on in the field of education and how United Way and its constituents can be a champion for advancing those causes,” says Michelle Gethers Clark, Interim President of United Way of Grater Greensboro.
The symposium was preceded by a reception on Thursday, March 21, at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum where founders of United Way’s African American Leadership celebrated the 10th year anniversary. Cole initiated the idea of AAL. Althea Trusedale and Michael McKinney acted as the first chairpersons in 2003.
Cole and O’Brien were a part of the educational symposium along with a panel of local experts on Friday morning. The panelists included Amos Quick – Guilford County’s Board of Education, Margaret Arbuckle-Guilford Educational Alliance, Dr. Bill Harvey NCA&TSU, Deborah Hooper – Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Randy Parker – GTCC, O’Brien, and moderated by Cole. The audience was asked to join with United Way to make a positive impact in the lives of children and families. O’Brien suggested citizens leverage cell phone technology to capture positive educational stories to celebrate accomplishments and “tell our story”.
O’Brien’s keynote remarks shared her life’s journey as a mixed-raced Latino woman which influenced her media career to be a concerned witness about real issues and solutions. Cole was honored as the Founder of AAL, and Dr. Edward Fort, Chancellor Emeritus at NCS&TSU received the new 2013 Gwendolyn and Alvin V. Blount Jr. Lifetime Service Award.
Gethers-Clark ended the day by asking participants to make an impact through philanthropy, as a volunteer, and advocate for important issues, and as a $1,000 donor. United Way is focused on creating lasting change through its investments. The key areas of focus for United Way include preparing youth to graduate and succeed, helping families become financially stable, and improving people’s ability to lead healthy lives.
United Way’s goal is to continue the positive momentum made over the last 90 years in Greensboro by improving the quality of life for all. United Way is asking the community for $500,000 by April 30, 2013 so that it can make high impact investments in programs managed by local non-profits to fuel youth development, increase access to health care services, and provide tools for family financial stability.
For more information about United Way, its investments, volunteer opportunities, and to make a tax-deductible contribution call 336-378-6600, call 2-1-1, visit the offices at 1500 Yanceyville Street or visit the web at unitedwaygso.org