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61-65% of people living in and around Red Springs, NC live at or below the poverty level.

Healthy Resilient Youth might look like a young teenager florist reading notebook touching plant at flower shop on Main Street.

Healthy Resilient Youth is a pilot program initiated by the Red Springs Chamber of Commerce. The program’s intended goal is to grant recent high school graduates in the Red Springs area an opportunity to gain work experience and learn some of the benefits of having a vibrant and healthy Main Street/Downtown. According to Healthy Communities, 52.8% of the population in Robeson County lives at or below the poverty level. The areas surrounding Red Springs, NC, are listed at 61-65%, one of the highest rates in the county. The high poverty rate creates an environment of unsafe housing, food insecurity, increased crime, and mental health issues. A high poverty rate significantly affects Public Health, especially among youth.

The Red Springs Chamber of Commerce will work with local partners, The Lumber River Council of Governments & Two Hawk Employment Services to achieve this task. The Chamber will also have two partners from UNC-Chapel Hill, Christina Theodorou with The Kenan Institute, and Alicia Freeman with the UNC School of Social Work to provide training and development regarding mental health, workforce development, and community prosperity.

Creating a pilot program for evaluating the health and vibrancy of local entrepreneurship.

Healthy Resilient Youth Goals:

  • Reach and engage diverse stakeholders in the community to identify employment and training opportunities. We will create a local committee of employers, community organizations, and education leaders with relevant information to support and guide this project. Outreach strategies will be developed and implemented, and their results will be tracked. Critical indicators for success will be defined and monitored.
  • Recruit eligible youth for participation in the program. Adopt criteria for youth participation. Within the guidelines of the Workforce Investment and Opportunities Act (WIOA) and labor laws, criteria for participation will be established. These criteria will be part of the outreach information campaign.
  • Recruit employers into the program. Adopt criteria for employer participation in the program. At a minimum, potential employers must meet the guidelines outlined under WIOA and NC Labor laws for youth employment. Additional guidelines may be outlined at the committee’s advice.
  • Improve mental health awareness and increase resilience at the workplace for both the employer and the youth. Provide psychoeducational training to improve employability skills, including common mental health challenges.


Community-Academic Partners

Health Resilient Youth is led by the following Robeson County community members and UNC members:

Christopher Locklear
Red Springs Chamber of Commerce
Maggy Morley
Red Springs Chamber of Commerce


Christina Theodorou
Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, NCGrowth
Alicia Freeman
UNC School of Social Work

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Events are subject to change. Please check back prior to the event or contact the event coordinator for additional details.