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How to give back to nonprofits in your neighborhood: First Ward edition

When I moved here, I didn’t get why uptown was split into “wards”. Now, I just think of the wards as neighborhoods we haven’t met yet.

[Related: What’s in a ward? A guide to Charlotte’s uptown quadrants]

The “buzziest” ward seems to be First Ward (you can thank Steve “Not-The Wide-Receiver” Smith for that). Turns out that the Children & Family Services Center is located in there. Not familiar? Here’s a quick rundown.

We’re all in this together

In 2001, several nonprofits decided that a co-op style set-up would be an easier way to distribute resources and maintain a stable environment to better serve the community. With the help of a $9 million campaign headed by Hugh McColl, the Children & Family Services Center was built in 2003.

Currently, there are nine nonprofits that occupy the building. Here are some ways you can help these five.

Live in First Ward? If you’ve got some time why don’t you …

…Help people get access to healthcare.

Care Ring helps individuals and families with little to no income by providing basic health care services. The staff run three programs — a low-cost clinic, their Nurse-Family Partnership program for first-time, low-income mothers and Physicians Reach Out, a health care program for the uninsured that is funded by a network of 1,600 physicians and dentists in Mecklenburg County.

Right now they are looking for translators and bilingual diabetic educators. Don’t have the skills? No problem. They need volunteers to answer phones and more at the clinic.

RAIN (Regional AIDS Interfaith Network) provides resources and help to people living with HIV or AIDS. This is one of the largest HIV-focused nonprofits in the Carolinas. They have a volunteer orientation coming up on Oct. 8 and are always looking for folks who can help with client, office or event support. Speaking of events, did I mention the nonprofit is hosting How to Get Away with Bingo on Nov. 14?

To complete the trio of health-centric nonprofits at the center is NC MedAssist. The staff provide free prescription and over-the-counter medications to low-income and uninsured residents in Charlotte and beyond. The nonprofit is always in need of volunteers. You can also sign up for the Miles for Medicine 5K happening on Nov. 7 at Sycamore Brewing.

You’ll want to sign up fast, seeing as the first 100 people who register will receive a free pint of beer! …Make sure kids are safe, healthy and happy. It can be hard for some kids to stay in school because of poverty, difficult home-life situations and more. Communities In Schools works to provide these kids with a community of support so that they stay in school and reach their potential. You can be a part of that community — be a friend and mentor, help kids with homework or soon-to-be graduates with career planning.

For some kids it can be even tougher when they find themselves without a place to live. A Child’s Place works with families as they progress from being in crisis to moving into safer housing situations. As kids are transitioning out of homelessness, A Child’s Place makes sure that they are still performing well in school.

You can help make the transition easier. Deliver snacks, assist in the office or be a Lunch Buddy. The next volunteer orientation is on Sept. 17th at 4 p.m.

Don’t have the time? Here are other ways to help.

You can shop and donate highly needed items to some of these nonprofits by visiting SHARE Charlotte‘s Give Shop.

Of course, all of these organizations could use some extra cash. Click links below to visit their donation pages. (Don’t know who to give to? Children & Family Services Center also accepts donations — it helps all the agencies indirectly. Learn how here.)

Children & Family Services Center (601 E 5th Street, Charlotte, NC 28202)

– Care Ring (Suite #150 for Clinic, #140 for administrative offices)

– RAIN  (Suite #470)

– NC MedAssist (Suite #350)

– A Child’s Place (Suite #230)

– Communities In Schools of Mecklenburg County (Suite #300)

Photo by SHARE Charlotte

Acosta, Brigitte
Brigitte Acosta