Meet the 2021 Community Voices Award Winners

PEACH and Soaring as Eagles listen, serve, and advocate for families in Durham and Wilmington, NC

By: Ileana Rodriguez | April 2021

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“Our mission is to help families reach their goals, ranging from a child’s test scores to parents’ education and career.” – Kim Ceasar, Soaring as Eagles

On April 16th, we’re hosting the Voices for Children Awards to recognize some of the leaders who make a difference for kids and families in North Carolina. Please join us for this uplifting event!

Don’t Wait – RSVP Today!

Today we’re sharing more about the organizations who will receive NC Child’s Community Voices Award. In 2019, NC Child established the Community Voices Award to recognize advocates in local communities whose efforts bring change for children and youth in North Carolina. The first award went to SaySo, or Strong Able Youth Speaking Out, a statewide association of youth aged 14 to 24 who are, or have been, in the out-of-home care system in North Carolina.

In 2021, we’re honoring not one, but two incredible community organizations. The honorees of this year’s Community Voices Award are Soaring as Eagles of Wilmington, NC and the Partnership Effort for the Advancement of Children’s Health (PEACH) of Durham, NC.

These two organizations were chosen by a panel of community volunteers from nominations made by the NC Child Advocacy Network. The selected honorees will be awarded a cash prize of $2,500 and will be recognized at the 2021 Voices for Children Awards.

Empowering the next generation

Soaring as Eagles empowers children and families from Wilmington’s Title 1 schools through personal, emotional, educational, and professional development. Soaring as Eagles hosts tutoring programs, parent empowerment sessions, and mentoring programs for children and their parents. The organization works to help families reach their specific goals, which include improving end of grade test scores, increasing parenting skills, and promoting financial literacy and job readiness.

During the pandemic, the organization quickly worked to meet additional needs as they arose. In order to better meet the needs of students, Soaring as Eagles partnered with another organization to start a virtual learning lab for middle school students.

“Advocacy is so very important in our society,” said Kim Ceasar, Executive Director of Soaring as Eagles. “As a Guardian Ad Litem, I understand that our children need someone to be their voice. Soaring As Eagles goal is to do whatever we can to make children’s lives better in their home, school, and their future.”

The pandemic brought new challenges for every local organization. For most, the choice was either pivot quickly to meet the new and often overwhelming needs of their community, or else slow or even cease operations. Soaring as Eagles and PEACH both listened to what kids and families needed, and stepped up to make it happen.

Keeping children healthy and safe

“I’ve learned that the rights of children are the responsibility of the adults and that every viewpoint deserves to be heard, that every voice should be heard with respect,” – Lenora Smith, Partnership Effort for the Advancement of Children’s Health (PEACH)

Based in Durham, NC, PEACH addresses children’s health through housing. They are working toward a future where every child will grow up in an environmentally safe home where the household income is above the poverty level. Their work draws on the community’s own strengths to build a sustainable workforce and reduce environmental hazards for children.

PEACH focuses on removing lead-based paint hazards in Durham’s low-income neighborhoods through a healthy-homes approach. By recruiting and training a workforce within the neighborhoods they serve, PEACH creates jobs & entrepreneurship for parents and other community members who are unemployed, underemployed, justice-involved, or marginalized in other ways.

When the pandemic struck, PEACH quickly pivoted to meet local needs by recruiting and training local residents as community health workers. “The community already has strong leadership,” said PEACH Executive Director Lenora Smith. “One of the things that happens when there is a crisis in a community is that leaders are created in those moments. Those leaders take charge and are accountable to the residents.”

More About the Event

On April 16th, we’ll also honor Cassandra Brooks with the Tom V. Advocacy Award. Click here to read more about her inspiring work. All our award winners will inspire you with their stories and renew your hope for North Carolina’s children and families. Please RSVP now and join us for Voices for Children on April 16th.

Don’t miss the Voices for Children event – Reserve your spot now!

Help us honor the Community Voices Award winners and Cassandra Brooks with a sponsorship – find out more here.