Black professionals travel from Charlotte for day of service

Black professionals travel from Charlotte for day of service
November 26
00:00 2014
(From left) Principal Amber Baker with Lisa Belin, Greg Belin, Yolanda Belin, Cherrie Felisbret, Yvette Hall and Christina Lee.

Employees of Paradigm 360 Coach Training, a Charlotte-based corporate consulting and life-coaching agency, spent Friday, Nov. 21 volunteering at Kimberley Park Elementary as part of Junior Achievement of Central North Carolina’s “JA in a Day” program.

A nearly 100-year-old national organization, Junior Achievement partners business leaders with schools to help prepare students for the workforce. Paradigm 360 Coach Training chose Kimberley because its executive assistant, Yolanda Belin, is the wife of Wake Forest University Assistant Football Coach Warren Belin. The Belins have been supporters of many community initiatives and of Kimberley, whose student body is nearly all black and Hispanic.

Kimberley Principal Amber Baker praised the volunteers for taking the time. She said her students rarely get to see professionals of color.

“This event allowed our volunteers from Charlotte to come in and interact with our children, and they have the opportunity to spend the day with business professionals, CEOs, teachers and positive role models,” Baker said. “It’s a different kind of energy in the building and an exciting time.”

The volunteers introduced students to a curriculum designed by Junior Achievement that focuses on entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy. The lesson are based on the math, social studies, reading and writing concepts that students are already learning.

Volunteer Sharon Allen took over Brionna Wright’s second-grade class.

In one exercise, she had students pretend that they worked in a doughnut shop making $5 an hour. Students devised a budget and were making ends meet until Allen introduced the concept of paying taxes, leading some to the conclude, “I’m broke and can’t pay my bills.”

“It was a teachable moment about how the government works when it comes to money,” Allen said.

Volunteers also hosted educational workshops for students’ parents, including a session led by Charlotte Hornets Chaplain Colin Pinkney for fathers and male guardians. Beryl Miller led a women-centered worshop.

Two of James Legette’s three children attend Kimberley. He said Pinkney’s advice was useful.

“I’m always going to support my kids anyway I can,” he said. “Anything that helps me improve as a father to help them and empower the African American men in the community, I’m all for it.”

At the end of the day, students received certificates of completion. Yolanda Belin was on hand throughout the day. A section of the street on which Kimberley Park sits has been honorarily named for her husband as a thank-you for his community contributions.

“Having three kids of our own and knowing how huge education has played a part in our lives, we wanted to make sure these kids realized the opportunities that were available for them,” Belin said.

Paradigm 360 donated $1,000 to the school in the Belins’ name. Yolanda Belin said her family’s involvement at Kimberley will continue. A new community-wide after-school program, “No Dumb Jocks,” is in the works that will send college athletes to classrooms to read and interact with students.

“We have been blessed in so many areas and want to give back and make an impact,” she said.

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Chanel Davis

Chanel Davis

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