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February 29, 2024 | Faith, Community and Non-Profit Leader Check-In Meeting

Our every other week check-in meeting is open to anyone interested in supporting compassionate community response to our most vulnerable neighbors. Meetings are held online every other Thursday from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Email LeDayne Polaski for Zoom access code. In addition, if you would like to receive notification when these minutes are posted, please email LeDayne and ask to be added to the Thursday meetings email list.

Want to learn more about we do on our calls? Watch this short video clip!


Click HERE to Access Zoom Recording:



Howard Thurman: We remember the light-bearers of life. We remember the moments in our own darkness when the way was lost and we became the sharers of the light brought into our darkness by a neighbor, the printed page, a kindly word gently spoken, a note written in tenderness and love. We thank Thee that we have not been deserted by the Light. 

Blessing from LeDayne Polaski, MeckMIN: We are grateful for all the many ways you are light-bearers and pray that you’ll also allow yourself to receive it from others.

1. MeckMIN Updates


These meetings are open to anyone or any group interested in promoting the common good in our shared Charlotte-Mecklenburg community.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the speakers/presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the MeckMIN board or our member organizations.







Join Us for the First Open Tables of 2024, March 21 | 6:30 PM | Galilee Ministries

At an Open Tables gathering, individuals from diverse congregations come together for fellowship and dining; with the goal of building relationships based on our shared humanity that go beyond the divides of tribalism.

Everyone is invited to bring a vegetarian potluck dish to share. (Vegetarian meals make it easier to accommodate a variety of preferences and religious dietary restrictions.)  We sit at tables of 6-8 people making sure that each table has a variety of faith backgrounds and traditions. 

Using some wonderful resources from Living Room Conversations, we have substantive conversations on topics that matter. Register HERE


Awards Breakfast coming up: Nominations are IN, time to SPONSOR!!

May 2nd from 7:30 – 9 AM at Friendship Missionary Baptist

Presenting sponsor: $5000

Bridge Builder award sponsor: $3000

Community Leader Award sponsor: $3000

Beth Wells Interfaith Service Award sponsor: $3000

Sustaining Sponsorship: $1200

Table Sponsor: $600

Half Table Sponsor: $300



Tuesday, March 19 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Union Seminary

We are also working this year with CCCJ and other local clergy groups and the Charlotte mayor's office to provide regular opportunities for faith leaders to meet with Mayor Lyles and other city officials to discuss issues of concern. The first meeting of 2024 will be Tuesday, March 19. REGISTRATION REQUIRED. We are working to secure funding for lunch. Sign up HERE


We're also working to update the registration form -- if you get a Zoom link when you register, ignore it -- this is an in-person event hosted by Union seminary.

2024 Youth Events 

Let us know who your youth leader is so we can loop them in and include your youth in these events.


Latin American Coalition/La Coalition Newcomers Resource Fair | April 13

Join us on Saturday, April 13 at the Latin American Coalition for a Newcomers Resource Fair. Looking for volunteers to help with food, medicine and clothes distribution and craft making with children. English and Spanish speaking volunteers are welcome. Families welcome with children old enough to help. Register HERE


3 DIFFERENT SHIFT times are available:

  • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM - FULL

  • 12:00 - 2:00 PM

  • 2:00 - 4:00 PM


Sunday April 14 | 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. | Baha'í Center of Charlotte

Anyone interested in better communication, especially in the midst of disagreement and conflict, is invited to join us for this two-hour training. Save the date and watch for registration details soon.  


Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a form of compassionate communication that can help de-escalate and transform interpersonal, inter-group, workplace, and organizational conflicts. It is used worldwide by individuals, activists, educators, conflict specialists, diplomats, social workers, managers and others. Practicing NVC can enable us to understand ourselves, our feelings, and our needs more deeply—and open our hearts to better connect and collaborate with others. It creates a path for healing and reconciliation in many settings, including but not limited to intimate relationships, work settings, and academic settings. Participants explore empathy as a tool for transforming conflicts.


If you are not yet receiving our regular email newsletter be sure and sign up here:


If you are not getting the link to meeting minutes and want to sign up, just email

2. Non-Profit Updates

The views and opinions expressed below are those of the speakers/presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the MeckMIN board or our member organizations.


Sterling Patterson  | | (704) 386-7417

We have initiated a youth survey to collect information from youth about how what they need to reduce youth violence. We are reaching out to youth ages 13-18. The survey will be available in multiple languages next week and accessible via QR code and paper. We will focus on corridors of opportunity but welcome feedback from all. 

In addition, the City will be conducting Youth Summits and LIstening sessions. They would also welcome an opportunity to come to your house of faith to meet with your youth. They can provide food, raffle tickets, etc., if that is helpful. They hope to hear from all adolescents including juvenile justice involved and undocumented.


OFFICE OF VIOLENCE PREVENTION | Mecklenburg County Public Health

Chantel Lowery, DrPH, Health Program Supervisor, 980-314-9244


The County has created The Way Forward, a violence prevention plan for the next 5 years. 

The approach produced five focus areas:  1) community engagement and partnerships; 2) support for youth and families; 3) economic opportunity; 4) intergovernmental collaboration; 5) and safer and healthier neighborhoods.

They want to connect more deeply with youth in communities. They have a 100 youth advisory council with three branches:  middle, high and 18-23 year olds. This council is undergoing workshops and will provide recommendations. 

They also want to reach more students through community groups already engaged with middle and high school students.

They are sponsoring three Youth Academies as well with one cohort just completing their work this month and two more cohorts by the end of the year. 

Also, June is gun violence awareness month. The county is running a campaign and working to provide experiences to youths to divert them from negative involvements and provide positive experiences.  They want to work with houses of faith and reach youth. The county has materials that  you can distribute and may be able to share a faith based campaign in the name of preventing violence in the month of June. 

NOTE – There is also a faith-based gun violence workshop being held in Davidson next week.


Glennis Davis | (704)778-5061|

Founder and Executive Director

There is an upcoming youth workshop April 6th workshop from 9:30 -3 at Ophelia Garmin Brown center. The TIPPPs workshop addresses topics such as mental health, substance use prevention, chronic disease prevention, active living and nutrition and trafficking and intimate partner violence prevention. Our target audience is youth ages 11-17 and we also have a session for parents. This is part of the peacekeepers academy.  

To register Participants:

Transportation help is available for those who need it and youth will walk away with a toolkit. They also provide case management support to families experiencing homelessness. 




We have successfully worked with youth to prevent them from entering the juvenile justice system locally for 51 years and nationally for over 115 years. They provide one-to-one mentoring for youths with a measurable impact.  They focus on those in crisis - those who are not graduating, not yet reading on grade level, contemplating suicide. Need is increasing as shown by many stats. They are preventative and 100% of their students graduate from high school and avoid the prison system.  They have 83 kids waiting. They are particularly looking for people of color to mentor but eager for any who can contribute. There are many ways to connect. Refer a child who really needs help or refer potential volunteers.  More than happy to speak to volunteers or youth in your congregation.  One year's commitment is all that is required.

BBBS Agency Overview 24 PDF1
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Alex Pyun | | Cell: 704-621-5464,  Office: 980-314-8944

MSW,  Social Services Supervisor

LoveSpeaksOut, reaches 8,000 teens (13-18) per year. It is a free program that anyone in the area can request to present for their teens that teaches about healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships. 

Do The Write Thing writing challenge which challenges middle-school aged teens to write about youth violence. We have an awards ceremony and the national program allows two student ambassadors and their parents an all-expense paid for trip to Washington, D.C.

Cara Evans-Patterson | 704-574-3186 | 

CMPD Diversion Manager


CMPD has a number of programs focusing on reducing youth violence: 

  • Diversion: The Youth Diversion Program is designed and administered by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in partnership with several social service agencies in Mecklenburg County. Its purpose is to offer qualified juveniles the opportunity to avoid prosecution in the court system. Parents and Juveniles will attend an 8-hour life skills class or Teen Court to successfully complete the program.

  • Envision Academy : The CMPD Youth Envision Academy offers a paid summer opportunity that exposes youth to valuable work experiences and introduces them to our community, while teaching them the skills and life lessons that they will need to be great leaders in Charlotte and beyond.  

  • Reach Academy: REACH Enrichment program is a gender-specific program that builds positive relationships between participants and officers and promotes personal and social responsibility through leadership opportunities, educational seminars and field trips, and career and vocation development classes.

  • Cops Care: COPS Care is a 1-hour gang prevention and citizen rights education course designed to teach youth about the negative reality of the gang lifestyle, positive alternatives to gang involvement, and their rights and responsibilities as citizens. 

  • In addition, School resource officers work on the School justice programs which have resulted in on 19% of kids entering the justice system in Mecklenburg County vs 42% average state wide. 

For more information on CMPD youth programs, go HERE


One another important note: QC Readers: Reading volunteers needed at Merry Oaks Elementary. CMS is partnering with Read Charlotte to bring community volunteers into the classroom to read to K-1 students. They need 20 volunteers to offer a minimum 1 hour of week specifically at Merry Oaks Elementary. This is going to be a big community lift. Please share this with your congregations, neighbors, and networks - we need numbers. Reach out to for more information - hoping we can get them 20 volunteers; right now there are only three


Stacie K. Ward (she/her), Community Outreach Coordinator, FBI - Charlotte Division, 704.672.6100 main, 704.672.6619 direct, 

The application for the 2024 Teen Academy is posted on the FBI Charlotte website – FBI Charlotte 2024 Teen Academy will welcome high school students (sophomores, juniors and seniors) between the ages of 15-18 to a three-day program this summer beginning Wednesday, July 17th to Friday, July 19th from 9:00am -3:30pm each day.  All sessions will be held at the Charlotte FBI headquarters. 


Students will learn about SWAT Teams, evidence collection, and investigations, among other fun activities; and they will have the chance to interact with FBI Agents and professional staff every day.  

If you have a teen or know a teen that may be interested please forward this information.  Students 16 an older must complete the “Record Check Consent Form” 

The deadline to submit applications is April 18, 2024.


Jessica Moreno |

Exploring Green social housing - Zoom meeting tonight and series over the next several months to discuss what it is, what it looks like and how governments can fund these projects. Fundamental meeting tonight. 

March 23rd there will be a meeting about the mechanisms of green housing which includes how to fund it. We hope that community partners will join


Continuously growing and looking for some hotspot locations (donation sites across the city so that it is easy to donate to the efforts).  If any organization, congregation on the west and south side is interested in serving as a hot spot, that would be great. Reach out to Avery and he will get you a donation box and some signage. 

This is where you would be listed on our site under the Charlotte Branch section at the bottom of the page:

Nikola Taylor - What good resources are there for youth up to 25-26 years?

Are there good resources for youth up to 25-26? She sees a lot of people who are young adults still in need of these types of services. 

The group mentioned potential resources: Goodwill, Urban League, CharlotteWorks work development programs might be able to help or refer you to someone who can help.  The Relatives, OnRamp. Teen health connection goes from 11-25 and can provide resources after that as well.

Jennifer Rupp - Are there affordable summer camps out there?

The County funds kids to go to summer camp, and having some more affordable options will help them to send more kids. 

The group suggested:


Kanuga Kids possibly through Greater Enrichment Program

Charlotte on the Cheap camp resource guide 

Jennifer also shared:

Resource fair is in planning and Jennifer will let us know when details are available. Finally - the rise to work program which is available for those 16+ and receiving food and nutrition has orientations on Tuesdays from 10 and 2.



PM Brochure (6) (1)
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OTHERS ON THE CALL (as time allows)


Sean Barrett | (202)-579-6498 |

Conciliation Specialist | Community Relations Service

U.S. Department of Justice | Southeast Region

CRS serves as “America’s Peacemaker” for communities facing conflict based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. CRS works toward its mission by providing facilitated dialogue, mediation, training, and consultation to assist these communities to come together, developing solutions to the conflict, and enhance their capacity to independently prevent and resolve future conflict. All CRS services are confidential and provided voluntarily, free of charge to the communities. CRS is not an investigatory or prosecutorial agency and does not have any law enforcement authority. CRS works with all parties to develop solutions to conflict and serves as a neutral party.


I’d be happy to meet with you to further introduce you to Community Relations Service and discuss opportunities for collaboration. Please feel free to visit our website for additional information I look forward to speaking with you soon.



Sean Barrett


Rev. Dr. Claude Forehand, ED |

The Reimagining America Project was launched in 2020, when local faith and community leaders decided to gather together with others to focus on building a post-racial community, free from discrimination of any kind.


Our mission is simple: To call to account - through testimony, witnessing, and atonement - the history of racialized oppression in the U.S. and then, to enact systemic changes to end racism permanently.

Here to introduce who we are and what we do. They are committed to identifying and calling out the racial oppression that is embedded in the justice, school and other systems. Want to partner with other organizations that want to work on racial justice. Put on events that show where the oppressive realities exist and what from those who have been victimized by it, alongside of those who have been part of creating the oppression and then work to build a new space. There is an event coming up April 4th. Final


Mona Dougani | | Work: 704-413-3179 | Mobile: 919-699-3352

Community Engagement Producer | WFAE- Charlotte NPR

Join WFAE, PBS FRONTLINE and Firelight Media for the premiere of the "Fractured" documentary.

The film highlights the two-year investigation and radio broadcast series on the mental health system in North Carolina.

A conversation with some of the participants from the film will follow the screening.

This event offers an opportunity to discuss issues presented in the documentary and gain insight into the efforts to address mental health within North Carolina.


  • Kody Kinsley, Secretary of NC Department of Health and Human Services

  • Dana Miller Ervin, lead reporter for the "Fractured" series on WFAE

  • Durwin Briscoe, Cleveland County Chief Deputy

  • Débora Souza Silva, FRONTLINE/Firelight Media fellow and director of "Fractured" documentary

Event details

  • Tuesday, March 12, 2024

  • Reception and check-in: 6:30 p.m.

  • Screening & Discussion: 7 p.m.

  • Location: Dubois Center, Charlotte /320 E 9th St, Charlotte, NC 28202

Register HERE

This is an advance ticket event. Tickets won't be available at the door.

About Fractured

The investigation and radio broadcast series were produced in collaboration with FRONTLINE as part of its Local Journalism Initiative. The initiative is funded through a $3 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and a $1 million grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Should you have any questions or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact Community Engagement Producer Mona Dougani at

Thank you!

WFAE's EQUALibrium Awards honor race and equity work

Nominate a business, organization, or individual

WFAE's EQUALibrium Awards recognize Charlotte-area residents and institutions that have made outstanding contributions in advancing issues of race and equity within our community.

During the awards ceremony outstanding emerging leaders (less than 5 years), established leaders and institutions will be honored in the following categories:

  • Arts & Culture

  • Business/Organization

  • Education

  • Government

  • Health Care

  • Social Justice/Community Advocacy

  • Sports

Nominate a person or business you know who is doing race and equity work in the Charlotte region. Self-nominations are welcome.

Nominations close Thursday, March 14, 2024.

Winners will be announced at WFAE's EQUALibrium Awards Gala on May 8, 2024. Tickets on sale soon.

LIVING ARCHIVES PROJECT: Come listen to your neighbors

Debbie Rubenstei |

Sarah Gherghel |, 704-980-8603

Nearly 350 neighbors honored us with their story of surviving the COVID-19 pandemic in Mecklenburg County. Many of you on this call are among them - Diego Torres, Dr. Rev Sonja Lee, James Lee and so many more.  These stories – most captured in storytellers own voices through audio/video recordings – are free to access and reference for researchers and descendants in perpetuity through the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.  But there is another way … You are invited to meet some of your neighbors and learn their stories through a series of traveling exhibits throughout the county.


In addition, you are invited to attend two special events. On April 11 from 11-1 at Lions Services we will reveal a new permanent mural honoring the project and the storytellers along the wall facing the soon to be greenway along Tryon.  And the project will wrap up with a community celebration at Discovery Place on May 16th at 6 pm.  We will update you on more details as the exhibits continue. We hope you will join us. 

Reach out to or for more information or follow our Instagram at @livngarchivesclt or our facebook page at 



February 9: Last day to register to vote in the Primary Election* Feb 15 – Mar 2: Early Voting

February 27: Last day to request Absentee ballot

March 5: Absentee ballot return deadline 7:30pmMarch 5: Primary Election Day


*Voters may opt for same-day registration at the polls during early voting, but may not register on Election Day.


2024 Election Tip of the Week: Don’t Forget to Bring Your Photo ID to Vote


Leading up to the 2024 primary election this winter and the general election this fall, the Center will offer a variety of tips for nonprofits about nonpartisan voter registration and voter education. Share these tips with your staff, board, and the people you serve.


This week’s tip: Don’t forget to bring your photo ID with you when you vote this year. 


A 2018 law created a photo ID requirement for voting in North Carolina, but it has been tied up in court proceedings, so it has not been enforced for several years. In April 2023, the NC Supreme Court issued a decision reinstating the photo ID law. For many North Carolinians, the 2024 primary election will be the first time in a few election cycles that they will be asked to show a photo ID to vote. Many nonprofit organizations have expressed concerns that the voter ID law could make voting more difficult for many people served by nonprofits, particularly seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income citizens.


The NC State Board of Elections (NCSBE) has posted clear guidance on the new photo ID requirements. Some highlights include:

1.  A reminder that: “All voters will be allowed to vote with or without a photo ID. If a voter cannot show photo ID when voting in person, they can still vote by filling out an ID Exception Form. If absentee-by-mail voters are unable to include a copy of their photo ID with their ballot return envelope, they can also fill out an ID Exception Form with their ballot.”

2.  Details on the process of showing a photo ID for in-person voters and absentee-by-mail voters.

5.  Helpful answers to questions about photo ID requirements in a five-minute video, FAQs, and 10 facts about photo IDs for voting.


You Can Vote also has some helpful “pro-tips” on the most effective ways for nonprofits to communicate with people about the photo ID requirements.


Note: If you missed the previous 2024 Election Tips of the Week or want a refresher, (re)read them now: check your voter registration, request an absentee ballot, get great (free) resources from You Can Vote, make a plan to vote early, and advantages of being an unaffiliated voter.


The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has launched a new statewide phone number for people struggling with mental health or substance abuse.

The new peer warmline will work in tandem with the North Carolina 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and give callers the option to speak with a peer support specialist, people who are living in recovery with mental illness or have substance use disorder. 

A warmline is a confidential, free phone service offering mental health support not intended for emergencies.

Why it matters: Warmlines have also been shown to improve outcomes for people in crisis by reducing hospitalizations and emergency department visits and reducing the recurrence of behavioral health symptoms, according to the NCDHHS 988 Performance Dashboard

The statewide warmline launched on Feb. 20 and will be run by Promise Resource Network, a peer-run organization in Mecklenburg County, which was awarded the contract following a competitive public bidding process.

“When you’re in a tough spot, sometimes the best person to talk with is a person who has had similar experiences,” N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Kody H. Kinsley said in a statement. 

Anyone needing assistance can call 1-855-PEERS N.C., 855-733-7762, text 988, or chat at  Those who call 988 will also have the option to connect with the Peer Warmline if they prefer to speak with a peer.

CULTURED CONCEPTS LLC/ The Junior Cultured Chefs, INC

Culinary Arts Teaching Component that focuses on the holistic practices and benefits of food consumption. Within these targeted food insecure areas, Cultured Concepts will implement various programs that guide its inhabitants forward towards a more intentional and sustainable way of purchasing, preparing, and preserving sustenance.

 ● Junior Cultured Chefs (Non-profit)- In this 6-week, STEM forward culinary course, The Junior Cultured Chefs are introduced to their local food systems and the sustainable practices in which to foster, support and maintain access to them.They are introduced to kitchen etiquette and basic cooking skills including chopping, slicing, sauteeing, marinating, and baking. Field trips to various community gardens create space for exploration of vegetation and cultivation. Youth learn to complete the food chain cycle by composting fruits and vegetables in preparation for returning nourishment to the earth at their local garden plot(s).


•Each session,  20 school-aged children (7-17yrs) are invited to Dr. Ophelia-Garmon Brown Center to learn and create farm fresh snacks, salads, kid-friendly entrees and healthy desserts. Students come together to enjoy a family meal with their peers and debrief with leadership as their parents are invited to share in the harvest.

•In the Off-Season (Jan-June), 20 community children, new AND subscribed are invited to Charlotte Regional Farmers Market from 11-1a for a farm-to-table experience. Youth meet the growers and farmers on a scavenger hunt, collecting the ingredients for that day’s meal. The menus are culturally expansive, and each day Camp tours a country/region as it pertains to food and language. 

CITY OF Charlotte - NEST Team - Litter Study



From the Christian mystic Howard Thurman The Centering Moment – The world, the cosmos, my little life are contained in God and if I keep the roadway open, even as I live, doing my thing in the world of things, I can keep journeying back home to be recentered, renewed, recreated, redeemed, over and over and over again as long as I live and beyond.

In the midst of all, may we keep the roadway open.