The opportunity for a good life begins in our families, schools, jobs, and NEIGHBORHOODS. In Forsyth County, Census data shows us the average household income of a child of low-income parents who grew up in the 27104-zip code and is now in their mid-30s is $45,000 per year. The average household income of a child of low-income parents who grew up in the 27105-zip code who is now in their mid-30s is $17,000 per year. There is just a five-mile difference between these two zip codes in Forsyth County. We believe that your zip code should not determine your destiny. However, that is the reality for many of our neighbors and we are working hard to ensure that changes. Place Matters is an innovative, asset-based strategy to focus investments on interconnected solutions in 13 neighborhoods within Winston-Salem.
With Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods, our key partner, we are able to convene community stakeholders—residents, nonprofit organizations, the faith-based community, and business and education leaders—in an inclusive approach focused on sustainable change in the priority areas of Housing, Education, Healthy Living, and Unemployment.
HOW WE’RE DOING SO FAR
United Way’s Place Matters strategy invested in 20 programs focused on strengthening 13 neighborhoods in northeast Winston-Salem. These are innovative, collaborative strategies that engage existing community assets, especially residents themselves, to further enhance these neighborhoods and the lives of those who live there. Below are just a few of our successes over the past few years:
In 2018, 72% of students receiving support from our Place Matters’ educational programs improved their academic performance or learned new skills.
In 2018, 104 residents learned new computer skills and were able to purchase a laptop for use in their home through Neighborhood Empowerment Through Technology – a collaborative effort between the Winston-Salem Urban League, WinstonNet, Forsyth Tech, and the Forsyth Public Library.
Five new homes have been built in the Bowen Park neighborhood because of LER: Building Blocks – a partnership between Liberty East Redevelopment and Habitat for Humanity. These are the first new homes built in this neighborhood in 50 years.
54 residents at risk of falling have improved their mobility and been able to stay in their home through Rams Employment and Community Health Equity -a program from Winston-Salem State University’s School of Health Science.
New Communion’s Mobile Food Pantry helped over 5,800 residents experiencing food insecurity receive nutritious meals, while creating jobs for local residents and establishing relationships and collaborations with faith-based congregations from across Winston-Salem.
What Your Dollars Can do
Jackie Price Martin took a January 2018 course through WinstonNet’s NETT (Neighborhoods Empowered Through Technology) program that she directly contributes to her successful job placement with the City of Winston Salem. Ms. Martin applied for her position during class because she did not trust herself to do so on her own. Her new position as Watertruck Vegetation Management is full-time with benefits and an increase in salary.
“When the City of Winston-Salem switched from paper to the computer application process, I was lost. Several times, I thought I had submitted a job application to find out I had not correctly uploaded my resume. This was very frustrating and I soon gave up applying to jobs.”
“My sister and I decided to take the NETT computer course together. The best part of the class for me was the interview portion, Ms. Carter did mock interviews and I remember saying, ‘no one asks these questions,’ well, the City HR person asked most of the questions Ms. Carter covered. Ms. Carter also reminded me not to chew gum and to speak more clearly. She talked about nerves and gave us ways to make us not as nervous when we interview.”
“I would recommend these NETT computer classes to anyone hoping to learn computer skills and get a better job. If I could learn these skills about computers and interviewing, everyone can. I was able to leave a dead-end job I had had for 15 years. I never had the courage to leave until I took the NETT computer course which helped me develop new skills and a sense of confidence.”