Portfolio- Journalism

Client: Charlotte Observer – Charlotte, NC

Published Samples:

United Community School, a charter school, is set to open in east Charlotte
United Community School, a kindergarten-through-second-grade public charter school on Idlewild Road in southeast Charlotte, will open for its first school year Aug. 11. “I feel overjoyed that everything is falling into place,” said Erika Hedgepeth, the schools’ co-founder and director. “I’m overwhelmed with gratitude by the way parents, teachers and the community are coming together to support UCS.” Read more

Academy allows students to find their ‘voice’
Behailu Academy, a nonprofit in a 5,000-square-foot old art gallery in NoDa, provides an arts and community-service-based after-school program for 50 students who mostly attend Eastway Middle, Cochrane Middle, and Garinger High schools. Read more

Executive finds that service is her calling
DeAnne Bennett lives with purpose. On April Fools’ Day 2010, Bennett quit her job as vice president of Sales at Univision, an American Spanish-language broadcast television network. At the time, she had no idea what she wanted to do. Read more

Tutoring program tailors to kids’ needs
The Augustine Literacy Project, a nonprofit tutoring program based in Chapel Hill with a chapter in Charlotte, helped more than 50 students in 30 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools learn to read during the last school year. Read more

UNC Charlotte student wins U.N. language contest
Lauren Klein, a 20-year-old rising sophomore at UNC Charlotte, is one of 60 college students worldwide to win the United Nations’ “Many Languages, One World” essay contest. Read more

Graduates gain understanding of police in Charlotte’s Citizens Academy
Seventy-five friends, family members and police officers applauded the 34 graduates who took the stage at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Citizens Academy graduation June 24 at the Police and Fire Training Academy. Read more

Folicle Salon goes bald to beat cancer
Folicle Salon and Spa raised more than $9,000 for childhood cancer research at its Go Bald to Beat Cancer event. The event was held at Triple C Brewing Co. in South End on June 21. Read more

Program turns page on summer reading at Sedgefield– Laurie Martin, owner of Simplicity Organizers, reads aloud as 458 pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students sit legs-crossed and absorbed by “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!” by Dr. Seuss. The reading was part of Sedgefield Elementary School’s Big Read, on June 10. The event celebrates the collection of 6,250 books for the students’ home library and promotes the significance of summer reading to maintain grade-level literacy. Read more

Charlotte groups unite to celebrate World Refugee Day
Catholic Charities will join with six local nonprofit organizations, professional agencies and educational boards to host the third annual World Refugee Day Charlotte. The event consists of a week’s worth of free activities starting June 15 and culminating with a cultural festival at Freedom Park on June 22. Read more

Neighborhood Good Samaritan Center offers refugees a ‘place to belong’
In 2005, Patrice Ognodo founded the Neighborhood Good Samaritan Center, a nonprofit that provides basic needs, education and vocational training to local refugees and immigrants. “I opened the Neighborhood Good Samaritan Center to support refugees, because I am one of them,” he said. Read more

COP grads step up to the plate for police
The 13th class of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Citizens on Patrol volunteer program graduated at the Charlotte Police and Fire Training Academy on May 27. Police retiree, teacher, student, pilot, former banking CEO and flight attendant are some of the current or former roles of those who pledged their time and dedication to support CMPD police officers. Read more

Nonprofit founder pursues peace after seeing war’s destructiveness
Chris Saâde has experienced the destructive nature of war and dedicated his life to peace. Saâde, a psychological coach and spiritual teacher who lives in south Charlotte, was raised in a Christian family in Lebanon and volunteered with a peace group from the age of 13. He endured the Lebanese Civil War and continued to work for peace until moving out of the country when he was 20. Read more

Children’s Home Society fundraiser focused on adoption
People from business, faith and civic groups attended the recent Children’s Home Society of North Carolina’s annual Place to Call Home fundraiser luncheon May 15 in Charlotte at the Westin ballroom. The luncheon, attended by 575 people, benefits the adoption services and continuing family programs provided by the society. Read more

Charlotteans graduate from FBI Citizens Academy
More than 50 people gathered April 30 to dine and celebrate the FBI Citizens Academy’s 14th graduating class at Villa Antonio restaurant on South Boulevard in Charlotte. Read more

Refugee Support Services answers questions, meets needs for Charlotte refugees
Thirty-two refugees and 12 volunteers talked as they stood in the back parking lot of Shadowood Apartments near Central Avenue recently, northeast of East Independence Boulevard. They were waiting for the Help Center to open. Read more

UNC-Charlotte students discuss legal disparities for Latinos
At the first Spanish legal panel at UNC Charlotte’s College of Education on April 24, four panelists encouraged UNCC’s Spanish for Law Enforcement students to work in local law and legal positions. Read more

Choral group builds harmonious ties
In a small music room at Hawk Ridge Elementary School recently, 13 voices joined in harmony. Men and women age 17-70, from various backgrounds and cultures, sang, joked and embraced one another for more than an hour at rehearsal earlier this month. Read more

South Charlotte’s Wag and Wine fundraiser returns for a second year
Animals First Rescue of the Carolinas will host its second Wag and Wine fundraiser and adoption event at Cru Wine Shop in Ballantyne, off Johnston Road. The event will be 4-7 p.m. May 3; the wine shop is at 12206 Copper Way, No. 124. Read more

Summit at UNCC presents research on issues for women and girls in Mecklenburg County– In her keynote address at the Women + Girls Research Alliance’s 2014 Summit on April 11, former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe urged women to band together to create policy change that improves the lives of women. To do so, said Snowe, a Republican from Maine, will require focusing on the facts and electing officials willing to reach out beyond political party lines. Read more

Race to benefit Down syndrome will be held April 26– The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte will host its second 5K, ‘3-2-1 Dash for Down Syndrome’ in Blakeney Professional Center on April 26. The race raises money for the Research Down Syndrome Foundation for cognitive research and funds local educational opportunities. Last year’s race raised $6,000; this year’s goal is $8,000. Read more

Gastonia twins turn Christian hip-hop into musical
Angela Houser and Tangela Brown continue to evolve their storytelling talent from singing to also performing their life’s greatest lessons. Read more

SHIFT Charlotte presents natural living options
The smells of essential oils drew visitors into a large room, where spiritual healers, health practitioners, jewelry and candle makers, yoga teachers and many other businesses showcased their services. Read more

Zombies in Gastonia? Check ’em out on YouTube
Voices became excited as the relaxed atmosphere of Zoe’s Coffee House on South Street turned into a booming gathering at the premiere of Gastonia’s first apocalyptic Web series, “Eat Men Like Air” on Feb. 10. Read more

Winter Praise Fest features live entertainment
We R Forgiven brings local Christian music and entertainment to CommonGround in Stanley from 4 to 8 p.m. Feb. 22 for Winter Praise Fest. Read more

Social media had precedent in 17th century
Allison Stedman wrote a book to answer a question she’d had since writing a thesis for her first master’s degree in comparative literature at Dartmouth College in 1997: What do these hybrid texts written within stories in French rococo literature represent? Read more

Alliance focuses on transit choices Sustain Charlotte launched Transportation Choices Alliance on Jan. 9 at UNC Charlotte City Center’s “Made for Walking” event. Transportation Choices Alliance is an organization that advocates for transportation options in Charlotte and the surrounding area. Read more

Raising money for terminally-ill children in Charlotte
Celebrity Charity Wishes Inc. asks for $10 donations to raise money for Bears for Buddies Initiatives, their event that gives away teddy bears and special gift bags to terminally-ill children in Charlotte and Atlanta, Ga. Read more

Charlotte swimmer completes challenge, goes 34 miles in pool
Carolyn Sachsenmaier, 77, was the first to swim the length of Lake Norman at the YWCA Swim Challenge. The challenge ran from Aug.1-Nov.5 with free open enrollment to all YWCA members. Lifeguards keep track of laps – 36 equals 1 mile – at the YWCA pool, as participants have the opportunity to compete against themselves to swim the 34-mile length of Lake Norman in their own time. Read more

Charlotte child with rare metabolic
Jonathan Chase Page of Crismark subdivision in Indian Trail was a developing 2-year-old boy until he experienced a metabolic crisis after getting the flu. On Dec. 17, 2012, he became sick with the flu. His mother, Loree Oliver, said that he wouldn’t stop vomiting, even after taking medication. Two days later, she woke up and found Page having a seizure. Read more

Singer to get a second shot at the Apollo
On New Year’s Day 2011, Brandie Drumwright performed in her first singing competition, an event called “It’s Your Time” in Rocky Mount, hosted by Joe Gray, stage producer of New York City’s legendary Apollo Theater. She won first place that day, but that’s not all. Read more

Her line of greeting cards laughs at life
Judy Allen Miles, 55-year-old lifetime resident of Gastonia, has always lived her life out loud. Miles is known for her 25 years on stage at the Haid Theatre of Belmont Abbey College and The Little Theatre of Gastonia, playing roles such as Anna in “The King and I,” Laurie in “Oklahoma,” and Truvy in “Steel Magnolias.” Read more
Sewing is the craft that has inspired her entire life
To Marcia Young and her family sewing is more than just putting needle to thread. Young, 37, of Callonwood subdivision in Matthews has been sewing since she was 13 years old. Young decided, after intently watching her grandmother, mother and older sister sew for years and being the recipient of many heartfelt, handcrafted gifts, to ask her mother, Vera Hammond of Buffalo, N.Y. to teach her. Read more

She wants everybody to be a good parent
Every parent faces challenges, and no matter how much a parent loves their child, circumstances can get overwhelming. Dr. Tara E. Egan says she believes parents shouldn’t feel guilty about asking for help. “There’s a belief that only ‘bad’ parents need help,” said Egan. Read more
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