The Charlotte Observer from Charlotte, North Carolina on December 31, 2011 · A10
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

The Charlotte Observer from Charlotte, North Carolina · A10

Charlotte, North Carolina
Issue Date:
Saturday, December 31, 2011
Start Free Trial

+ 10A Saturday,December31,2011 ■■■ • The Charlotte Observer + Every year this city and region benefit from thousands of people who give their time, money and talents to make this area a more compassionate, prosperous and livable place. For more than two decades, the Observer’s editorial board has acknowledged those notable acts through the examples of a few. We thank those we’re highlighting today for their good works and commitment (Find information about their organizations on the O-Pinion blog at They represent many others whose spirit and generosity have enriched this region and inspire us as we begin the New Year. Thelma Reynolds If you’re homeless, Thelma Reynolds is exactly the kind of person you want on your side. For two decades, the social worker has tirelessly helped provide emergency housing for those in need – a number that keeps climbing in Charlotte. Homelessness jumped 21per- cent in 2011. Reynolds has worked for Charlotte Emergency Housing, as its interim executive director, and most recently as resident services coordinator. She says she’s inspired by the families who’ve sought help. “They are so awesome, so resilient. They have so much inner strength. They’re what feed my soul.” She’s also motivated by the supportive colleagues she’s had at Charlotte Emergency Housing. “The social workers, house managers and support staff are all in their own ways such amazingly passionate advocates for and supporters of the families we serve, and they have kept me challenged and motivated and are equally deserving of recognition.” Charlotte Emergency Housing merged with two other housing groups this summer – WISH and Family Promise – to become Charlotte Family Housing to better serve the homeless. Reynolds is working with the new group as a consultant. Cate Martin Cate Martin is a go-getter. She doesn’t stand back and observe. She gets involved. That’s what she’s done in her community. As president of the Merry Oaks Neighborhood Association she’s led efforts to clean up the neighborhood, plant a butterfly garden and do numerous other things as part of a “Hands-On Merry Oaks” project she originated. She and other residents in this neighborhood between Eastway Drive and Briar Creek Road off Central Avenue are models for others in keeping a community strong and vibrant. But Martin also has an avocation that has reached past her neighborhood. She does volunteer dog rescue work, fostering dogs for the North Mecklenburg Animal Rescue. That work isn’t pleasant sometimes. It has brought her in contact with dogs badly abused and clinging to life. But Martin’s compassion and love helps them recover and find homes. Her passion and work ethic is worth emulating. Ron Leeper and Men Who Care Global Businessman Ron Leeper was doing his Bible study one morning last year after uptown Memorial Day festivities in Charlotte left one black youth dead and others injured and arrested. He stopped reading, he said, and started writing down names. “It hit me that the African American community needed to play a more substantial role in the lives of young black males.” Thus was born Men Who Care Global. The names on his list became a nucleus of black men who committed to get involved with the lives of young black males and model the behavior they want them to emulate. More than 200 showed up for July Fourth activities. They’ve remained in touch with youths they met. They will be on hand for New Year’s Eve First Night festivities and plan ongoing mentoring, education and workforce initiatives. Candace Curlin Vance These days Candace Curlin Vance is juggling new mom duties with work. She gave birth a few months ago. But that hasn’t halted her enthusiasm for something else she “birthed” – the Turning Pages Book Club for the homeless. She got the idea after seeing a TV program about a Boston book club targeting the homeless. She convinced The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library her idea was worthwhile, and now the book club meets Tuesday mornings at the uptown branch. Participants – not all are homeless – read a book a month. But as important is this: They get to share personal feelings in a place “where they can be uplifted,” Vance has said. The book club allows Vance to combine her desire to help others – a humanitarian bent she got from seeing her mother do the same – with her love of reading. It has also provided an unexpected yet immensely valuable way to help the homeless. She has helped give them a voice. Thank You DIEDRA LAIRD - T. ORTEGA GAINES - T. ORTEGA GAINES - DAVIEHINSHAW - PRESIDENT AND PUBLISHER Ann Caulkins EDITORIAL PAGES Editor of the Editorial Pages , Taylor Batten Associate Editors , Fannie Flono and Peter St. Onge Cartoonist , Kevin Siers NEWS SECTIONS Editor , Rick Thames Managing Editor , Cheryl Carpenter Opinion

Clipped articles people have found on this page

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 22,200+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Publisher Extra® Newspapers

  • Exclusive licensed content from premium publishers like the The Charlotte Observer
  • Archives through last month
  • Continually updated

Try it free