Kinston community group ready for action - WNCT

Kinston community group ready for action

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KINSTON, N.C. -

"We've got to not just talk the talk, but start walking the walk, "said Theresa Williams Bethea.

She heads up Kinston Promise Neighborhood, a nonprofit community collaborative designed to create a network of academic, family, and community supports that will enable all children in Kinston to succeed.

Educators, law enforcement, city leaders, pastors, and other community members came together Thursday night to talk about how to bring their community back together.

They admitted, like any community, Kinston has problems that have gone on too long.

The meeting was a rally cry to start addressing these problems, and to get people involved to bring pride back to the community.

In the midst of the crowd, stood a little guy with a big message.

"There's lots of talk and everything, but actions speak louder than words," said 12 year-old Christopher Suggs. He believes in his community.

"It takes one to stand up for something, if no one else stands up then someone has to," he explained.

He shared his passion for the community to the group, who is ready for change.

"The possibilities of Kinston Promise Neighborhood are endless," explained his mother, Kristal Suggs. She is a volunteer.

Kinston Promise Neighborhood was originally started by UNC, to help bring life back into the streets of Kinston, with a focus on East Kinston.

The goal is to give the next generation a path for success.

"There are programs, grants scholarships, mentoring opportunities, and the children get opportunities that, quite likely they wouldn't have a chance to have," explained Suggs.

But the program doesn't stop with kids.

The group is organizing projects to clean up neighborhoods, bring in businesses, and set up service programs for the entire community.

"It's great when parents know where their children are after school, it's great when there are programs designed to provide assistance to the community, and people are ready to see Kinston grow. We've been saying we're on the move for a while and it's time to grow," Suggs said.

But the group agreed it's time to start doing.

Something people like Christopher are already taking to heart.

"Stay involved, start in your community, volunteering, cleaning up, all of that it helps a lot. You might think it's just something small but it helps," he explained.

They admit it's going to take a full community effort, but they're coming together to give it a shot.

"I want to see people be proud to call Kinston home again," said Suggs.

They say a lot of this comes down to starting small and holding each other accountable.

They plan to have meetings every month. The next meeting is April 11, the location hasn't been picked yet.

If you want to help or volunteer you can contact Theresa Williams Bethea at 252-522-8019.

You can also visit the Kinston Promise Neighborhood web site here.

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