Here's How NC Ranks In Number Of At-Risk Youth

Interesting information about how some of our young high school graduates are struggling with the next steps toward independence.  Our Fundamentals of Food Service program can be a great jump start for high school graduates looking for specific job training skills and ongoing support to help them make the transition from school to work!


By Kimberly Johnson, Patch Staff | Jul 18, 2018 7:18 pm ET | Updated Jul 18, 2018 7:20 pm ET

Many young people in America face a wide range of social disadvantages — lack of a stable home or positive role models, for example — that make for a rocky transition to adulthood, according to a new study that ranked the U.S. states by the number of at-risk youth. North Carolina ranked 36th in the study.

For the study, the personal finance website WalletHub looked at 14 variables affecting "disconnected youth," that is teenagers and young adults between the ages of 16 and 24. Among others, those factors include high school graduation rates, labor force participation, physical and mental health conditions, illegal drug and heavy alcohol use, poverty and homelessness, and incarceration rates.

If not addressed, those conditions can affect young people later in life, as well as society as a whole, according to the study.

Policymakers "need to get a sense of what is happening on the ground," said Antonio Garcia, an assistant professor of social policy at the University of Pennsylvania and co-director of its School of Social Policy & Practice.

"So many of our policymakers are absolutely clueless as to how their policies or inaction impacts the daily lives of many youth and families, especially for those residing in rural communities or in poverty," Garcia said in comments accompanying the study.

Parents and other adults have a role, too, he said.

"Mentorship is a key — having one adult children can emulate and depend upon can make a world of difference in engaging youth," Garcia said. "Instead of mandating more strict rules and regulations, parents could ask youth to brainstorm who they know in their life that they can depend on. Whether a next-door neighbor, coach, aunt or uncle or teacher, parents can then help facilitate a relationship."

The WalletHub study builds on published research showing that, nationally, one in nine Americans in that age group aren't working or in school. That amounts to nearly 4.9 million young people, or 11.7 percent of those falling in the 16-24 age group, according to Measure of America, a project of the Social Science Research Council.

WalletHub also cited a finding by the Pentagon that 70 percent of young adults today are ineligible to join the U.S. military because they fail academic, moral or health qualifications. Other research from the National Institutes of Health that shows when kids grow up in environments with economic problems and a lack of role models, they're more at risk for poverty, early pregnancy and violence, especially in adulthood.

These are the states with the most at-risk youth, according to the WalletHub study:

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Louisiana
  3. Mississippi
  4. Nevada
  5. West Virginia
  6. Arkansas
  7. Delaware
  8. Oregon
  9. Alabama
  10. New Mexico

Conversely, the states with the least at-risk youth are:

  1. New Jersey
  2. New Hampshire
  3. Maryland
  4. Connecticut
  5. Minnesota
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Utah
  8. North Dakota
  9. Iowa
  10. Kansas

Some specific findings:

  • Alaska, West Virginia and Louisiana have the highest share of disconnected youth, 20 percent, which is 2.9 times higher than in Iowa, the lowest at 7 percent.
  • Nevada has the highest share of youth without a high school diploma, 18.9 percent, which is 2.5 times higher than in Hawaii, the lowest at 7.7 percent.
  • Oklahoma and Missouri have the highest share of overweight or obese youth, 51.4 percent, which is 1.5 higher than in the District of Columbia, the lowest at 33.5 percent.
  • Vermont has the highest share of youth using drugs in the past month, 40.00 percent, which is 2.7 times higher than in Utah, the lowest at 15.04 percent.
  • Nevada has the highest share of homeless youth, 0.86 percent, which is 43 times higher than in Mississippi, the lowest at 0.02 percent.

Patch Editor Beth Dalbey contributed

Original Article

Biker group thanks veterans with a barbecue

By Shavonne Walker

SALISBURY — Dean, a disabled U.S. Navy veteran, isn’t homebound or tied to a hospital bed, but is ever grateful to have served and for others who have served. It was without question that he would volunteer to help serve other veterans at the Hefner VA Medical Center for a “backyard” barbecue.


Dean, who asked that his last name not be used, is also a member of Sober Bikers United, the nonprofit group whose members organized and sponsored Saturday’s barbecue event. The event was merely a way to say thank you. The event was held at a picnic shelter behind the State Veterans Home.

“I owe a lot to veterans. I ride motorcycles. I’m really blessed. They’ve given pretty much everything there is to give. This is the least we could do. We’re doing it for the love of our country, the love of veterans and the love of God,” Dean said.

He said it warmed his heart that so many people contributed money and their time,” he said.

The idea for the event came from Dennis Moore, a veteran, who’d received knee replacement surgery and subsequent rehab at the VA Medical Center. He said he began to see that some of the veterans don’t have a lot of family who visit and he wanted to do something to show his appreciation for the care he received and to say thank you to all veterans.

“I got to thinking, I can’t just walk away,” Moore said.

He connected with a friend, Joe Padgett, a retired State Highway Patrol trooper, three months ago and the two got to work on getting volunteers and other groups to donate or serve.

Moore estimates they had about 50 to 60 motorcycles and 250 to 300 veterans and volunteers at the event.

“It’s all about the veterans,” Moore said simply.

Rodney McNair is one of those veterans.

He served in the U.S. Marine Corps and has been in treatment for substance abuse. He said he felt as though it was an issue that needed to be addressed just as PTSD would.

McNair said he thought it was wonderful that the volunteers would plan a barbecue for him and the other veterans.

He said the veterans need more of this kind of support and thanks.

“I appreciate it,” he said.

“It’s amazing,” said U.S. Air Force veteran Leroy Clay of the event.

The sounds of a guitar twang and the tap of a snare drum could be heard from the parking lot at the Hefner VA Medical Center while the smell of hamburgers and hot dogs permeated the air.

Music was provided by Big Bump and the Stun Gunz whose members include Bubba “Big Bump” Klinefelter, Shiela Klinefelter and Andy Squint. The blues musicians were asked by organizer Donnie Morris to perform.

“It’s really impressive that they care about these guys,” Shiela said.

Kyle “Skeeter” Blackwell, a member of Steel Rain Motorcycle Club based in Winston-Salem, said the club has a number of members active in the military and they support many military groups with motorcycle rides and fundraisers.

About five members of the club joined to help serve the veterans.

Mooresville Soup Kitchen provided 400 hamburgers and 400 hot dogs and other trimmings for the veterans. Chef Jim Myers said he and Moore have been friends for about 17 or 18 years. When Moore mentioned what he was trying to do for the veterans, Myers immediately agreed to help.

“It’s something you have to do. God gave us this gift; to use our talents to help others especially with veterans,” Myers said.

U.S. Navy veteran Sandra Jones volunteered during the event, but said it was a great event.

“In a time of peace, we sometimes forget about our veterans,” Jones said.

She’s been retired from the military for 25 years and now volunteers and works with service dogs.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

Original Article

How MSK Got Its Start...


Did you know that the Mooresville Soup Kitchen started at First Baptist Church
Mooresville (FBCM)? Even though we have moved locations, FBCM are one of our friends in food service! Nationally, 6.5 million children in 2016 were food insecure. FBCM has been taking part in Food for Days Backpack Meals Ministry program to help children who are going hungry by providing bags for the weekend. The bags have two lunches, dinners, breakfasts, drinks, and snacks. The point is for kids to have enough food to eat until they go back to school on Monday. Like the Mooresville Soup Kitchen, this program wants to reach out to people in need! We want to thank FBCM for their hard work in reaching out to local kids who are struggling with food insecurity!

Original Article