Harrison Marshall, long time SVP Partner and SEED20 Steering Committee member, shared his inspiring thoughts during the SEED20 Selection night earlier in March. Please take a minute to read his thoughtful words below:
You do so much for our community.
Some of you focus on the needs of children and youth:
- You know that leadership skills don’t often emerge as the result of hours and hours spent on social media. Well, we all know that! But you are doing something about it by teaching students leadership-in-life skills through the practice of martial arts (Emerge)
- You have created a network of friends who team up with our most vulnerable children and commit to be engaged in their lives for 12 1/2 years-no mater what (that is amazing!)-providing role models who are stable and consistent. (Friend to Friend)
- You have recognized that when a child or young adult learns to speak in public comfortably, they have pride and confidence in themselves and are more likely to make smart decisions for their lives, and so you provide opportunities-such as mock trials-that give them these speaking skills and life skills (iSpeak Now).
- It is hard to learn when your vision is bad. Again, we all know that, but one of you is doing something about it. You have developed an incredibly efficient way to provide eye exams and free pairs of glasses to low income kids. Once they put the glasses on, their lives are instantly changed! (Vision to Learn)
You recognize that having babies and raising children is not always an experience for which we are fully equipped:
- For some children, life has been unfair. They suffered from developmental trauma at a young age. You help those children heal, and you also help the amazing families that welcome them into their homes and lives cope with the challenges of raising children who suffer from this trauma. (Attach Families)
- Sometimes, the postpartum experience for moms is a challenge, and that challenge can be particularly acute for new mothers who don’t have family members or another support network close at hand. You provide the new mother with the community that she needs to work through these postpartum challenges. (Mind Body Baby NC)
- Sometimes families in crisis find it impossible to care for their children for a short period of time. Rather than enrolling the child in the foster care system-from which it is often hard to rebound-you have developed a network of host families who will care for the child on a temporary basis until the family can again accept responsibility. Kids are safe and protected, and families stay together (Safe Families for Children Charlotte)
The goal, in all of these cases, is to help families thrive.
Our world is becoming an increasingly fragile place.
- You may not be able to solve all of our environmental problems, but you have focused on one key resource, the Catawba-Wateree River Basin (our water source) and you are doing all you can to protect it for us today and for generations to come. Through your work, you are encouraging all of us to become River Keepers (Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation).
Sometimes, those among us can be a bit fragile. And who doesn’t feel a bit less fragile if he or she has a Labrador Retriever for companionship?
- You recognized that with the right breeding and the right training, you could achieve a much higher success rate for placing dogs into service-reducing both the cost and the time to get that dog to the person who needs it (Project2Heal).
You don’t write off our neighbors who have found themselves in the custody of our criminal justice system. You teach us to see value and potential in these neighbors that-without you-we might have overlooked:
- In the case of our neighbors who have had the opportunity to find themselves in the courtroom at an early age, you have enhanced the diversion experience. No longer are these youth picking up trash on the side of the road-an experience that doesn’t teach important life lessons. Instead, they are connected with more meaningful opportunities that enhance social skills, facilitate connections with positive influencers in the community and promote civic engagement. You are changing the course of their lives (Transforming Youth Movement).
- And in the case of our citizens returning from incarceration, you are not satisfied with simply finding them a job. Instead, you challenge them to be entrepreneurs, you empower them with the skills they need, and you help them create economic activity in parts of the city where we might not expect to find it (City Startup Labs)
It is sometimes hard for us who were born in the United Sates to deal with the challenges of urban life. It’s a lot harder to thrive if you are an immigrant who is still learning the language and the customs on this part of the world. You recognize that the immigrants who love in our community need more than just a pat on the back, and you have gone to work.
- In Cabarrus County, you have created a bridge to connect immigrants to a full range of resources-from basic information to referrals to classes created just for them-all with the goal of fostering self-sufficiency and productivity. (El Puente Hispano)
- You provide bilingual assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs trying to establish or expand their business, helping them achieve prosperity through training, consulting, grants and access to capital (Prospera North Carolina).
You recognize that sometimes it is those organizations who are striving to do good who need help.
- By providing a place where those organizations can function, you allow them to reduce organizational distractions and to focus on their missions of helping our neighbors in need. And by providing a common place in which we operate, you provide a friendly location with wrap around services for these neighbors (Galilee Ministries of East Charlotte)
You understand that some employers are willing to help, but don’t know how.
- Recognizing that teaching life skills to the visually impaired is only part of the solution, you have developed a program that consults with employers so that they are better equipped to hire those with visual impairment, with the result that employers find good, competent and motivated employees and those with visual impairments find a welcoming and accepting workplace (Metrolina Association for the Blind)
Some of you focus on the most basis of needs–access to quality food and stable housing.
- You recognized that 35% of our families don’t have enough to eat, even though some very tasty and healthy food is going to waste. And so you have created a food rescue organization that connects restaurants and caterers who have leftover fresh meals with the local nonprofits that feed our hungry neighbors (Feeding Charlotte)
- When budgetary challenges tempt the poor among us to opt for pizza instead of chicken, you step in and provide nutrition information, weight loss and exercise training, and group support to get your clients back on the path to healthy and affordable choices. (Mooresville Soup Kitchen)
- You work with families to provide lasting solutions to housing instability through a network of collaborative partners who take folks from homelessness to transitional housing and ultimately to a home of their own, transforming their lives (Hope to Home)
- You have recognized that when we look at the need for affordable housing, we have often failed to bring to the table those best equipped to address the issue and find the solution: investors, developers and landlords. Incentivizing reputable landlords to cooperate with social service agencies results in housing opportunities for our homeless neighbors. You plant hope and allow our neighbors to thrive in what was once murky waters (Lotus Campaign)
You recognize that sometimes a bit of inspiration can go a long way, opening opportunities that didn’t exist until recently.
- To open opportunities for women and girls in the construction trades, you put a drill in their hands as young as age 10, and give them the confidence from an early age that they can build it, too! (She Built This City)
Folks, you are an amazing group of people. You inspire us. You humble us. We are grateful for having this time to spend with you!