Nearly 100 help honor community leaders

Dorothy Bonner, Left, is presented the 2016 Grassroots Leadership Award during the “We’ve Got Roots” celebration hosted by Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods on Saturday, June 25.

Nearly 100 help honor community leaders
June 30
04:40 2016

Photos by Tevin Stinson



For the last five years, Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods (NBN) has honored community leaders during their “We’ve Got Roots” fundraiser.

The purpose of the non-profit organization is to help build strong neighborhoods in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County by supporting a wide range of community-based initiatives. NBN believes that the long-term change in communities only happens when residents participate in creating solutions.

Executive Director Paula McCoy said, “We’ve Got Roots” is their opportunity to celebrate the community and showcase individuals who are going over and above, leading efforts to organize, revitalize, and transform their neighborhoods.

“The only way we will be able to build strong neighborhoods and communities is through a joint effort from all stakeholders,” she said.  “Although we only recognize a few individuals here today, we know there are many of you who work tirelessly every day to make a difference in the lives of others in your neighborhood.

During this year’s celebration held inside the File-Goodwin Center at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, NBN honored Executive Director of the Center for Community Safety at Winston-Salem State University Alvin Atkinson with the Outstanding Board Leadership Award; President of the Dreamland Park-Rose of Sharon Neighborhood Association Sean Hawkins with the Emerging Leadership Award: and longtime community leader and activist Dorothy Bonner with the Grassroots Leadership Award .

Recent Carver High School graduate Kywun Roberts and Winston-Salem Preparatory (WSPA) Academy rising junior Daysi Sanchez were presented with the 2016 Youth Leader Awards during the celebration as well.

Roberts helped to found the Cleveland Avenue Transformation Team and has been active in helping to organize and transform the Cleveland Avenue community.

While enrolled in Crosby Scholars at WSPA, Sanchez still finds time to volunteer at the Bridging the Gap Community Center in the Southeast ward. She also enjoys learning about building strong communities through various programs provided by NBN.

The keynote address was delivered by the host of the NPR-affiliated broadcast The Public Morality, Rev. Byron Williams. Williams, who is also an author and adjunct professor at Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity, has spoken across the country and appeared on numerous television and radio news programs. He is considered one of the leading public theologians in the nation.

As he stood before the nearly 100 people in attendance, Williams said a healthy community is reflective of healthy roots. While using the roots of a plant as an example, Williams noted, “That makes the communities vibrant, ripe with growth, and fertile with possibility.

“What happens underground where the plants’ roots live is what determines the quality of plant growth,” said Williams. “We can’t have healthy roots if we don’t have a healthy root system in place.

“That’s what is at the core of what Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods is all about.” Started in 1991 by The Winston-Salem Foundation, NBN is dedicated to connecting people, strengthening voices and leveraging resources in the community. Through their Grassroots Grants Program last year, NBN distributed $15,000 in grants to seven grassroots community groups.

Following Williams’ address, community advocate Delores Hill, who is a member of the NBN governance committee, said the organization will continue to do great things in the community moving forward. She also urged the community to get involved with the organization so they can continue to make an impact and change lives.

“With the team we have here at NBN and the help from the community, I am confident that we will be able to achieve great things in the future,” she said. “I encourage you to help us continue to have roots in the communities here in Winston-Salem.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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