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Nonprofit delivers clothing, toys for the holidays
Brittany Ward is
founder and executive
Some of the toys collected in the toy drive by HOOPS4L.YJE. for the children are shown.
Photos by Timothy Ramsey
BY TIMOTHY RAMSEY
With Christmas coming this Sunday, there are many
families that need assistance in filling the gap underneath
the Christmas tree. The HOOPS4L.YP.E nonprofit
organization, led by Founder And Executive Director
Brittany Ward sought to assist families during the holiday
season by providing toys and winter coats for the kids.
Officially founded in March of 2014 the
HOOPS4L.YPP organization's mission is to empower
and redirect at-risk youth in community-based afterschool
programs in an effort to engage youth in academics,
increase their exposure to a variety of activities and pro
vide students with a safe space.
Ward says the idea for the giveaway started about four
years ago with a friend of hers who has his own nonprofit
group. Each year they compile a list of children who are
in need and find out which toys and clothes sizes the chil
Materials for the giveaway are donated from the com
munity, Winston-Salem State University, the Winston
Salem/Forsyth County Police department, local churches
and close friends of Ward. She says the children are cho
sen on the basis of those who have the biggest need.
"Growing up I experienced difficult times during the
Christmas holiday because it was either get gifts for us or
pay bills and my mother is a very logical thinker," says
Ward. "I thought it was very important to not only help
these kids in giving them gifts but also to inform them
that family is the most important thing around this time of
Ward says she started with the collection of the toys,
shoes and clothes a few weeks ago and has drop oflfs at a
few locations around the city.
She says she would love to expand the giveaway, but
would also love to connect with other nonprofit organiza
tions such as the Salvation Army, the Josh Howard
Foundation and the Chris Paul Foundation. She thinks
the cooperation with multiple nonprofits will enable them
to reach more children who are in need.
"We want to have the kids to have a sense that some
body cares besides their parents," Ward continued. "We
have to make it a community again because I don't feel as
though we are one." ,
The toys and other gifts will be dropped off to the
children on Christmas Eve.
Anyone who wishes to donate or inquire about more
information visit HOOPS4L.Y.F.E on all social media
platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and
Snapchap at HOOPS4L.YP.E.
City beginning new program for immigrants and refugees
BY TODD LUCK
Winston-Salem will be providing serv
ices to help immigrants and refugees
through its Building Integrated
Communities (BIC) partnership.
BIC is an initiative of the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill to strength
en immigrant communities around the
state. UNC partnered with the city's
Human Relations Department to do a
needs assessment of local immigrants that
included surveys and public comment
meetings. Various needs were identified,
like transportation, education and health
City Human Relations Director Wanda
Allen-Abraha said the BIC program will
offer a 30-day "pipeline" for refugees and
immigrants entering the community, giv
ing them a series of "crash courses" on
vital local resources that will last about an
For instance, there will be courses pre
I pared by vari
Wanda Allen-Abraha 'n't'at!ve
cover a wide
services, including Novant Health, Legal
Aid and Second Harvest Food Bank.
There will also be a resource guide
available online and in printed form at the
various partner agencies.
"It's been something that we all agree
is needed and we think will really result in
being very helpful to those immigrants
and newcomers when they come from
their various countries of origin," said
She said that the program is currently
being developed and will begin in the
spring or summer. Also part of the BIC
proposal approved by the City Council is
the hiring of an Integrated Communities
Liaison to assist in the city's outreach to
foreign populations in Winston-Salem.
The re're also plans to add an option to
translate the city website into Spanish,
whi?h will be placed prominently on the
Foreign-bom newcomers will be able
to refer themselves to BIC or other agen
cies may refer them. One of those agencies
is World Relief, a global organization that
the State Department contracts with to
resettle refugees. Jennifer Foy, director of
the group's High Point/Winston-Salem
office, said in the past eight years, about
600 refugees have been resettled in
Winston-Salem. Most of the refugees are
from Myanmar and others are from places
like the Congo and Syria.
She said refugees often fear the police
and government due to corruption in then
own countries. She said BIC, which
includes police and other government
agencies, will help orient them and put
them at ease in their new community.
"It's a great way for newcomers in the
Winston-Salem communities to become
more comfortable with the communities
they're living in," said Foy.
Foy said refugees go through an exten
sive vetting process by the United States
government. The minimum time it takes a
refugee to go through the process is 18
months with most taking 7-9 years on
average. Governments on all levels are
aware of refugees that are resettled locally.
She said she has quarterly meetings with
local government officials about them.
They're also entered into a state-main
tained database and registered with the
departments of social services and social
The bfrd has
Photoa by Tevin Stioson
(Above) Local artist Aaron Gibbons
explains how he came up with the idea
for "Interactive Bird," the city's newest
sculpture, in Winston Square Park.
On Tuesday, Dec. 20, Mayor Allen
Joines unveiled a new sculpture in
Winston Square Park known simply as
"Interactive Bird." The 8-foot bird was
designed by local artist Aaron Gibbons.
and Arts Council
BY TEVIN STINSON
What stands 8 feet tall,
13 feet long and has wings
and a beak? If you guessed
a giant bird, then you are
correct, but you probably
didn't guess that this one
of-a-kind bird is in the
heart of the downtown
Earlier this week.
Mayor Allen Joines offi
cially unveiled the city's
newest piece of art, known
simply as "Interactive
The giant bird made of
welded steel tubing, was
created by local artist
Aaron Gibbons and was
the winner of the
UNRULY design competi
The competition, spear
headed by the local section
of the American Institute of
Architects (AIAWS), in
partnership with The Arts
Council of Vfinston-Salem
and Forsyth County,
artists and designers to
explore the relationship
with the built environment
through constructed archi
tectural elements in
Winston Square Park.
Although they received
dozens of submissions, a
ALAWS said what made
Gibbons' piece stand out
was that it was interactive.
The viewer can sit inside
the sculpture and move the
bird's beak and wings.
While discussing his
latest work. Gibbons a
native of King, said the
structure started out as a
simple geometric drawing.
He said once the drawing
began to resemble a bird,
he started trying to make it
"Once I realized it was
going to be a bird, it made
sense to tie in elements to
make it interactive," said
Gibbons. "I wanted to get
back to that raw state and
the creativity of a child. I
feel that it's important that
we get back to that."
After the unveiling on
Tuesday, Dec. 20, Mayor
Joines was the first to put
the giant blue bird into
motion. Joines said the
sculpture was a nice addi
tion to the city known for
its art and innovation.
He told those in atten
dance to be on the lookout
for more in the future.
"We proudly call our
selves 'a city of arts and
innovation' and we are
moving toward the day
when that is really apparent
in downtown and in every
section of our city," he con
tinued. "The new Twin
Arches installation on
Highway 52 on the
approach to Innovation
Quarter is an immediate
announcement of this fact
to visitors from the south,
and upcoming work on
Martin Luther King Jr.
Boulevard will make
another bold statement
about our Winston-Salem
mindset. There is certainly
more to come."
"Interactive Bird" will
be on showcase in Winston
Square Park for an entire
For more information
on the sculpture or the con
test visit the art council's
official website at intot
heartsjcom. You can also
visit the AIAWS website at