New initiative aims to build Greenville from the bottom up

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – More chairs had to be set up at the Eppes Recreation Center in Greenville Wednesday for a crowd attending a community meeting involving the Westgate Initiative.

Jermaine McNair is one of the initiative’s leaders, an idea he said started two years ago. Now, that idea is becoming a reality.

“We’re creating something where everybody can finally can step in and play a role in one process,” McNair said.

The initiative is focused on troubled areas in the community, mainly West Greenville. McNair said every two weeks, Greenville Police will send them names of individuals who’ve been arrested in, or around, West Greenville.

From there, McNair and his team will make contact and begin forming a relationship to serve as that person’s mentor. During the process, McNair said they’ll be able to provide those they’ve been mentoring with resources offered in the community.

One group participating in the initiative is Pitt Community College.

“We’ll be able to provide resources and a network for students to come in, get engaged, and be a quality citizen for our community,” said Jasmin Spain, PCC’s Director of Student Conduct.

Others involved include East Carolina University, behavioral health specialists, and Vidant Health.

Officials at Vidant said they heard of the initiative in January and wanted to join right away.

“We believe it is important to be part of the community, and there are a lot of opportunities that we would love to be able to engage the community in that involve things like workforce development, training programs,” said John Marques, Vidant’s Chief HR Officer.

The idea is that by bringing everyone together to help those in need, the community can grow from the bottom up. It also streamlines the process to get resources to those having run-ins with the law.

“If we could work with them to try to see the issues through their eyes, get a grasp of what they’re experiencing, they actually have the opportunity to not only do better in their life, but unlock some doors that we’ve all been trying to unlock,” McNair said.

The program officially kicks off on March 19th.

McNair said they want to hear from anyone, not just police, who knows someone who is struggling or having run-ins with the law.

Click here to get in contact with organizers.

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