Rasheeda Shankle: Ending generational poverty one family at a time

Rasheeda Shankle

Rasheeda Shankle: Ending  generational poverty one family at a time
March 28
00:10 2019

When Rasheeda Shankle decided to follow her heart and start her own non-profit organization, she had no idea where to start but, she knew she wanted to help families in need end what seems to be a never ending cycle of poverty.

“At the time I was a single mother living in the area and going to school. I’ve always had support, but I saw dozens of women who didn’t have that support. What people don’t realize is that more than 72 percent of African-American and Hispanic/Latino births are out of wedlock and that’s here in Winston-Salem,” continued Shankle. “…It’s basically like these children are born into a poor family and its likely they’re going to grow up poor, so I decided I wanted to help families find a way to obtain economic mobility.”

After doing her research, Shankle said she found that the problem was a lot of single mothers in the area didn’t have access to jobs that could provide them with sustainable resources such as health care and allow time to raise their children. Shankle said when she decided to add a summer entrepreneur camp to the after-school program offered by her non-profit, Honorable-Youth, Inc.,  she noticed that a lot of parents wanted to find out how to become entrepreneurs as well.

From there Shankle came up with the idea for the Two-Generations Program (TGP), an outreach program designed to meet the specific needs of women and girls that have the desire to obtain a higher education, start a new business, obtain financial stability, and/or home ownership. 

“The Two-Generations Program is specifically aimed to help single family households achieve intergenerational economic security. For an entire year we met up every month and had workshops for parents that were focused on economic security,” she said. “We helped participants get checking accounts, learn about home ownership, and career leadership courses, and at the same time the kids were learning the same course-related topics, but it was just age appropriate.”

From humble beginnings as an after-school program for children, today Honorable Youth has grown to include more than a dozen programs for children and adults with different areas of focus including: college preparation, book club, financial literacy, anti-bullying, and several others.

“I felt it was important to create this space for single mothers and families because if it wasn’t for my support system, I would have been in the same situation,” continued Shankle. “A lot of people in our community are hindered by what they don’t know.”

Since becoming a non-profit in 2015, Honorable Youth, Inc. has also gained several supporters along the way. Recognizing the need for the program, the City of Winston-Salem and The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem have made significant donations to the non-profit and she doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. During a brief interview with The Chronicle, Shankle had no problems unveiling her five-year plan for the organization.

When asked how she was able to balance being a single mother, the ups and downs of being a college student, and run a non-profit organization, Shankle said, “I’m so passionate about this, I just feel like it has to get done.”

Shankle, who is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, also credited her alma mater and the Simon Green Atkins Community Development Corporation for helping her dream of owning a non-profit become reality.

“Even though at times it can be overwhelming, it has to get done. I feel like the show doesn’t stop because you have a kid or because you’re busy, because there are people out here who have issues and needs that we have to find solutions for and that’s the overall goal and what keeps me going.”

For more information on Honorable Youth visit

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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