• Family Focus: Nonprofits Join Forces To Help Families

    CHARLOTTE, N.C.,None - As thousands of local students head back to school next week, some might not have all the support they need to do their best.

    So for the first time, nonprofit organizations have joined for an event to connect families to the infrastructure they need to help children succeed.

    Lakeisha Mobley and her 20-year-old son, Deshawn, are in a better place now than they were a few years ago, when he was on the wrong track.

    "I was getting in trouble. I wasn't doing good in school," Deshawn Mobley said.

    His mom, a single parent, had Deshawn when she was just 13 and struggled to raise him.

    "I may not have had enough time to put into him like he needed, which a lot of parents are like me, but they step up and they are that positive male role model these kids need in their life," Lakeisha Mobley said.

    She's talking about Darryl Bego and the staff with the L.I.F.T. Program. They meet with at-risk youth after school, helping with homework and teaching life skills like decision-making.

    "I was like, ‘If they can do it, I can do it,' and it inspired me," Deshawn Mobley said.

    His story is a big contrast to a large fight in uptown Charlotte over Memorial Day weekend, in which many young people were involved.

    "I was embarrassed, horrified (and) saddened, and I knew we had to do something as a community," community activist Colette Forrest said.

    Watching the video of the melee sparked Forrest to plan an event connecting more families to programs that can help.

    "We want to match the children and their parents with the services that they need," she said.

    The event is the first ever Family Options Fair. Participating nonprofits like L.I.F.T. provide services to families for free.

    PDF: Family Options Fair

    "This fair will give them the chance to connect with resources to help them to have a fair chance," Bego said.

    Lakeisha Mobley said for her son, the outside support was critical.

    "There are a lot of single mothers out here, but I can't teach a son how to be a man," she said.

    The Family Options Fair will be held Saturday at the Stratford Richardson YMCA on West Boulevard from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It's free to attend, and there will be free food and free haircuts for kids.

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