• Family Focus: Dine Out for Kids supports local nonprofit

    By: Natalie Pasquarella


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A local nonprofit is hoping people will eat out Tuesday to help local children.

    More than 80 restaurants are taking part to support Communities in Schools.

    DJ Patterson just graduated from East Mecklenburg High School last week but he's already a month into an internship at JHG Financial Advisors.

    "I like all the phone calls and the paper pulling and the filing. I love it all," Patterson said.

    He found out about the internship through communities in schools, a dropout prevention program that focuses on providing students with job skills.

    Patterson grew up in a single-parent home, and is the first high school graduate in his family.

    "Communities in Schools has kept me on the path that I needed to go, there've been many of days where I felt like, I just can't make it. I don't want to do it. I don't want to be here. I'll go to talk to my site coordinator and they'll give me that boost, that lift I need," Patterson.

    Judson Gee, owner of JHG Financial, said he's impressed with Patterson's drive.

    "He wasn't afraid to get on the phone and talk to people he didn't know," Gee said. "I thought that was really good the skill set that he had that he was very well spoken of course."

    Patterson is just one of hundreds of success stories from CIS. They hope to create more and a big fundraiser Tuesday will certainly help.

    Eighty-seven restaurants across Charlotte are participating in Dine Out for Kids. They'll donate a portion of the day's sales to CIS.

    "We felt working with dine out for kids has been a win-win," Jeff Van Dyke said.

    Van Dyke, a founding partner of Brixx Pizza, has been a part of the Dine Out for Kids for 14 years.

    "They make a tremendous impact on the lives of a lot of kids," Van Dyke said.

    He hopes people will Dine Out for Kids -- just like Patterson.

    "I'm doing something a lot of people my age can't say they did, and this is because of Communities in Schools," Patterson said.

    To see a complete list of participating restaurants, click here.  

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