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Aspire seeks to help young people overcome behavioral, emotional, or substance abuse obstacles, so they may realize their full potential. The program provides counseling, life skills development, and experiential education, as well as family counseling and parent support groups. Participants learn cooking skills from a licensed chef.
Addy is a junior in high school who loves the new direction her life is taking. “I love coming here,” she said. “It is so much fun. I am doing better at school, and I enjoy sharing my feelings with my friends. I have also learned some cooking skills that I am using at home with my mom. I think it would be really cool to one day go to culinary school and work as a chef eventually!”
Pisgah Legal Services provides free legal assistance to people living in poverty who need help to meet their basic needs and improve their lives. Recently, Autumn and her family rented a run-down house that they knew had problems. They had negotiated reduced rent with the landlord in exchange for fixing it up. They were frightened when the landlord began repeatedly breaking into the house unannounced. One day, Autumn walked out of the shower to find him standing in the living room. When she filed charges against him, he moved to evict the family.
Autumn went to Pisgah Legal for help. Pisgah Legal Attorney Madeline Offen negotiated a settlement giving the family six months to stay in the home rent free in exchange for the repairs they had made. They could save money and then find a better place to live. Today they are in a larger, cleaner and safer home that they can afford. Autumn says she is grateful for Pisgah Legal Services and wonders what would have happened if she had tried to navigate the legal system alone.
The Council on Aging for Henderson County has provided and coordinated services to keep older adults living independently since 1969. The Council’s Meals on Wheels program provides a hot meal every weekday for homebound older adults in Henderson County. In addition to receiving a nutritious meal, Meals on Wheels clients receive important social interaction with caring volunteers. These visits, which also serve as regular wellness checks, often turn into lasting friendships.
Volunteer Driver John Sherrill has been delivering meals and smiles to Council on Aging clients for many years. One of John’s daily routes includes a stop at Ms. Katherine King’s home in Dana. Each day around noon John drops off a hot, nutritious meal to Katherine, and the two enjoy having conversation before John’s next stop. Last year, John and close to two hundred other volunteers delivered more than 55,000 meals to over 500 clients in Henderson County.
Blue Ridge Literacy Council’s Family Literacy program “Opening Doors” advances the education of parents who are learning English and of their young children. Parents learn about the importance of early childhood education and how to advocate for their children at school while also working on their own English literacy skills. Learning about children’s brain development, nutrition, emotional health, and the importance of attentive interaction helps participating parents to grow as their child’s first and most influential teacher.
Yvette, one of the mothers in a recent class, noticed the impact of participating in this multi-generational learning experience. “The program was interesting to me, my kids, and my mom because we had the opportunity to attend together,” she said. “We learned so many things about how to prepare our kids to start school. We talked about their development, their nutrition, things that can affect them at school, and how to try to solve them. We had many experiences and lessons that were so beautiful, we will never forget them.”