NC Deep Dive

Bridging Gaps and Building Unity: A Deep Dive into the Unity in the Community Initiative

August 19, 2023 Amanda Lunn Season 2 Episode 3
NC Deep Dive
Bridging Gaps and Building Unity: A Deep Dive into the Unity in the Community Initiative
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wonder how unity can be fostered within a community? Our special guest on this episode, Minister William F. Ball, III, co-founder of Unity in the Community, is doing just that. Offering an in-depth look into this vibrant community event happening on August 26th at Hope Community Church in Apex from 11 to 4, Minister Ball gives us an exclusive tour into the heart of an event that aims to connect local law enforcement, businesses, organizations, and citizens in Apex, Fuquay Varina, and Holly Springs.

Unity in the Community is much more than a day-long event. It's an ongoing commitment to bridge gaps, provide resources, and build relationships within the community. Key figures like Mayor Jaques Gilbert of Apex, Mayor Sean Mayefskie, and Roy Tempke of UNC-REX Health, Police Chief Armstrong of Apex, Police Chief Medina of Fuquay Varina, Police Chief Liquorie, and Lane and Associates Family Dentistry are part of this initiative. Beyond the entertainment and food, Unity in the Community is hosting this event to create safe traffic stops, offer high schoolers various pathways upon graduation, and provide services such as mental health services, a blood mobile, fluoride treatments, and health screenings as well as resources and donations for those in need.

To wrap up, we explore the transformative stories of individuals who've journeyed from humble beginnings to remarkable success. Minister Ball underlines the essence of equipping our youth with the necessary skills and a growth mindset for future accomplishments. From interview preparation to envisioning long-term career goals, Unity in the Community is lighting the pathway to success for community members. Don't miss out on this enlightening conversation that takes us to the heart of community building and unity.


Unity In The Community
Saturday, August 26th 11-4
Hope Community Church in Apex
(accepting donations starting August 21st)
www.UnityInTheCommunityNC.org

Facebook Page: Unity in the Community (Apex, HS and FV)

Minister William Ball
William.Ball@icloud.com
(919) 946-3846

Support the show

As always, if you are interested in being on or sponsoring the podcast or if you have any particular issues, thoughts, or questions you'd like explored on the podcast, please email NCDeepDive@gmail.com. Your contributions would be greatly appreciated.

Now, let's dive in!

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Hello friends, you are listening to the Holly Springs Deep Dive, soon to be called the NC Deep Dive. I am your host, Amanda Benbow Lunn, and today I have the pleasure of speaking with Minister William F Ball III. He was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and serves the Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ. Minister Ball spent most of his professional career as a business manager for Mercedes-Benz. He is also associated with several ministries, including Spread the Word, which involves coaches, scouts and players of the NBA, NCAA and NFL, as well as Hope for Haiti, Compassion Day, and is co-founder of Unity and Community. Minister Ball is an ordained elder under NROCC and a licensed minister under UCC. Minister Ball has a heart for serving his community and his mantra is Send me Lord. He has partnered with many local businesses and organizations to serve the unserved and underserved but is willing to help anybody and everybody realize their full potential. You may recognize Minister Ball from the musical Finding Patience. He was also involved in the music video that has won several national and international awards.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Today, we will be speaking about the organization and local event happening this Saturday, August 26th, at the Hope Community Church in Apex from 11-4, entitled Unity in the Community. This event is open to everyone and will be completely free. It will include food, entertainment, school supplies, food, clothing and other resources for those in need, mock traffic stops, play spaces for children, various vendors and organizations, the local police and fire departments, and just a moment for us all to come together and build community bridging Apex, Fuquay Varina, and Holly Springs. Unity in the Community's goal is to reunite the people of the community and provide a helping hand to anyone who needs it. Without further ado, friends, let's dive in. Amanda Benbow Lunn (Host): You were just two guys who had an idea.

Minister William Ball:

Oh, yeah, it was John and I. I mean, you know, we kind of came together. We realized we were in the fourth quarter or maybe even in overtime. We said look, what can we do? You know, John had been with me through Compassion Day for over seven years. John was an undercover agent in Harlem, New York as a very young man. He had a very successful law enforcement career. I was in sales with Mercedes and you know, we just started something just to help people and we kind of got together and realized that we weren't going far enough. Here you had two guys. We came together and said man, how can we help some people? And John kind of looked at me. He goes I got it, let's create unity in the community. And I'm like, man, that sounds great, right, we go online and they're like 50 unity in the communities. We're like OK. So we kind of got a logo and realized, we had to put the NC behind it and we just kind of started with our own funds. You know, I think I reached out to my buddy that has the pest control company in Washington, told him what we wanted to do. He sent us a check and said I'm coming down to help you guys. Next thing you know we kind of reached out to the senior population and he goes. Well, you know I'm here all alone. You know, I think John did some meals on wheels.

Minister William Ball:

At that time we were with the MLK group and we just kind of felt that, you know, nobody's reaching anybody. And let me tell you, God just kind of took over. I mean, it just grew and grew. It's much larger than us. It wasn't us; it was just two old guys sitting around, you know, and we just had to be obedient. And the more we looked at it and it just kept growing and growing and it literally consumed us and we were just obedient. You know, I'm sure our wives looked at us and went what are you guys doing? You know what happened to the one day event. You know we go like well, and then we realized we needed to form a company.

Minister William Ball:

I called Elaine Marshall. She heard about it and she was like oh, this is fabulous. So the next thing, you know we're a nonprofit. I call UNC Health. I call Roy Tempke. At the hospital he's like let's do it. Then Jaques Gilbert heard about it. It was like a virus that spread, but it was a good virus.

Minister William Ball:

You know, we started Unity in the Community this year as an offshoot of a program that I headed up for the last seven years called Compassion Day. I noticed in our efforts in Compassion Day that we were serving the same population of people over and over and over. So my partner and I, John Combo, we decided that we wanted to branch out and serve the entire community, particularly focusing on the community of Apex, Holly Springs and Fuquay, and not just the underserved or disadvantaged, but everyone, to bring our communities back together. We have been so polarized with the latest topics in our country and in our society that we felt that we wanted to embrace the common values, the common needs. What we wanted to do in the community is not only just bring our community back together, but engage the law enforcement community, not villainize them, but realize that they have a tough job, and our first responders.

Minister William Ball:

Same thing they have such a tough job and it seems that either communities have villainized them or we've just been polarized. So in these efforts we identified, going through the local high school, a population of over 4,200 homeless students in Wake County.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Oh, wow.

Minister William Ball:

We were floored with that.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

What was that number?

Minister William Ball:

again, it's over 4,200 and they use the term transition students. When we think of homeless, we think of a person living in the woods, but that could be a family that's displaced, either living in a motel, some living in automobiles, some with non-permanent housing. So in our efforts to start Unity in the Community, we identified that population. We also identified a population of senior citizens that either were alone, either had no family, some had no health care, some had very little food. So we really wanted to serve those populations.

Minister William Ball:

And then, back with the George Floyd incident, we, John and myself, had started a meeting with then, I guess, the police chief, then I forget his name the interim police chief that took over and now we have the new police chief, Chief Liquorie. We wanted to circumvent any situations that may arise that we would have a George Floyd situation in our community. So we did a couple of studies to find out just how many traffic stops there were in Holly Springs and of those traffic stops, how many of those stops were minorities. The numbers were staggering. And we also wanted to know how many minorities that our police force had on his staff. And those numbers were just staggering. So instead of really just shooting down the police department, forgive the pun. We wanted to encourage them to hire minorities or hire females, hire Hispanics.

Minister William Ball:

So when we presented the numbers to the then interim police chief, we found that we had one minority on our police force. Yeah, the numbers were staggering. We found that the traffic stops that involve minorities in Holly Springs was well over 75% and we brought these numbers to the attention of the then interim police chief. I think Chief Liquorie started within the year. We had another meeting with him and he addressed the situation immediately and we have a great police force. Chief Liquorie has done a wonderful job. I think we have double digit minority participation now, which is good. That's awesome.

Minister William Ball:

Yes, we have female, we have African American, Hispanic. So he really took notice to the statistics that we presented before him and so a lot has changed. So when we started Unity in the Community, we were offered, I do believe, Ting Park, which logistically could have worked, but there was a baseball camp going on at the same time so we couldn't secure the stadium. It was then suggested that we move to Sugg Farm and we went and viewed the site and realized, with the extreme heat and the logistics of Sugg Farm, our handicapped community, our elderly community, would have trouble getting there and participating with that venue All along. We had incorporated Hope Community Church in Apex. They approached us sometime later that we would sit down and talk and after our conversations they offered us a portion of that church to do Unity in the Community.

Minister William Ball:

They then contacted us and offered us the entire church, 120,000 square feet, Once we informed them of the populations we had identified and who we wanted to serve, and we made it very clear we wanted to serve everybody but we wanted to highlight those underserved and those that were challenged in our school system, in our senior community, as well as highlight the relationships with the police force, and that would be the police force of Apex, Holly Springs and Fuquay Varina. So we reached out and we addressed each police chief Chief Armstrong, Chief Liquorie once again in Holly Springs, and Chief Medina in Fuquay Varina and they were all very enthusiastic about participating or engaging with the community and found that this was a good venue not just venue, but good opportunity to address the three communities. Simultaneously, we also reached out to UNC Health, which indicated immediately that the event that we had envisioned was exactly what they wanted to do to engage the community.

Minister William Ball:

But as we gathered more information and really discovered many populations that needed help, we also did not want to abandon the three towns of Apex, Holly Springs and Fuquay you know, a lot of times we look at a homeless person or a transition family as the only one that has needs, but we quickly found out that there are homeowners, there are renters, there are populations of people in the three towns that still have needs. So we were able to secure food. I think we have over 400 backpacks right now to give away and the one thing about this event is everything has to be free. Soon UNC Health and inquiring about some of our needs. They have proposed health screenings for everyone, not just the students or the elderly, but for everyone. We also will provide and this is very important for those of you that would hear this we also are able to provide the menigocococcal vaccine for incoming seniors, which is a requirement for Wake County that they have both their meningitis shots. So we're going to be able to provide up to 50 menigocococcal vaccines.

Minister William Ball:

There have been a number of families that have contacted us that couldn't necessarily wait on August 26. So we have been providing assistance to those families and to those in need. We started with maybe three organizations and now we have over 20 organizations, including the Hope Center, which is the mental health arm to our event. They provide mental health services to, I think from ages from five to 20 and their families. We also have What Gives LLC. They provide financial assistance to those in need. They do vet those that are requesting financial assistance and it could be for a car note. It could be for a car that's disabled, that you need to get to work. It could be the first month's rent. It could be a security deposit. We've just brought on Safe Child, which is another organization that protects children. Autism Speaks is another organization, the Valchos, they have been instrumental in helping us to move forward with this event, as well as a Voice for All. Each of these groups somehow have a goal to improve police relations and how the police engage with those children.

Minister William Ball:

That may be nonverbal but, those that may suffer I shouldn't say suffer that thrive with autism, because we want to look at a kid or a person that's autistic and think they're suffering. But some of the kids that I've met are geniuses. They make straight A's but their reactions may not be what we may call normal, but it's perfectly normal for them. It is important that we create a sense of unity within our community, hence the name. So that's a brief explanation.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

In so many ways we are divided and what I kind of take from what I gather from the news and people speaking on social media and what I just overhear when I'm out and about throughout our communities, is that everybody seems to feel that we are divided, but I don't often hear about the ways that we are actively working to break down that divide, where we're actively working to come together. So this is kind of where, when I heard about unity in the community, I'm like, yes, that is what we need. We need organizations and we need people to work towards creating space where we can realize how much we are alike, because ultimately I believe that we are way more alike than we are different and it opens up space for differences to be okay, that we can still get along, we can still see the humanity in one another and work within our communities in a way where we all have an opportunity to thrive.

Minister William Ball:

And that was very important to us. We wanted to embrace our similarities versus highlight our differences. So we kind of came together and said no matter your political affiliation, no matter your sexual orientation, no matter what you believe, we all want the same things. We want a safe space for our families and our children, we want a good education for our children and we want to be able to get along and feel safe and secure in our own communities. I think the three towns are three of the best examples Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay. There's always going to be crime, so we need our police, we need our first responders. When I call 911, I want a police to show up at my house to help me.

Minister William Ball:

When I call the 911 for an ambulance. And it's funny, I suffered a heart attack about three and a half years ago and that was before the hospital was here. And my hats off to Roy Tempke, the president of UNC-REX Health. He has just been amazing in our community. Every event that we've sponsored or put on, they have supported 100%.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

I have seen them be so active in the community and it's really great to see them come in and, of course, they're serving a need right. It's important and awesome that we have the hospital there, but it's great to see them be such an important part of our community and to step up and to help, and I do see them sponsoring so many different events and it is really, really appreciated. Yes, it is.

Minister William Ball:

So we've come a long way. I've been in Holly Springs, now moved here in 04. So 19 years, I think, we've built our house in 04. Yeah, and I've seen us come a long way. Now the traffic has certainly changed.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Yeah, it has.

Minister William Ball:

But you're going to have growing pains with any small town that gets larger or it's desirable to move to. But, I moved here when Dick Sears was mayor and he attended every event that we did.

Minister William Ball:

We even shared a worship space at our church at Holly Springs United Church of Christ on 116 Third Street. They shared that space with us for a while until they got their own space, which is actually our old church that they're using, and I've seen us just come a long way, you know, and embrace the different ethnicities and the different cultures that have come to Holly Springs. It's been fantastic. But once again we want to embrace our similarities here. We want to bring people together and create a space or place where we can live harmoniously and together. In that, Jaques Gilbert, the mayor of Apex, got a wind of what we were doing and he has supported us 100%. That's awesome. Hope Community Church reached out to us and provided a space for us to hold this event. The Hope Center in Fuquay, Chief Medina in Fuquay They've just been incredible Lane and Associates Family Dentistry they just recently came on board.

Minister William Ball:

At the event we will have a blood mobile. You'll be able to get fluoride treatments. There's a mental health arm that'll be there. The United States Army will be there. Wake County Sheriff's Department will be there and this is important.

Minister William Ball:

They will be doing a mock traffic stop, which we've attempted in the past and we like to have good turnout for this mock traffic stop. This is where your teen, your husband, your wife and you don't have to be a teenager to go through a mock traffic stop. Two of the most dangerous calls that a police officer will get will be a traffic stop and a domestic violence call, because they don't know what to expect. So if we could make it easier on the police force and make them more comfortable, of the less likelihood a situation will occur that could be detrimental to that officer as well as to that citizen. So we want to create things of that nature that will make it more palatable to go through the day to day rigors of life, from shopping at a grocery store to being stopped by the police to getting your kid to school on time.

Minister William Ball:

The traffic has, as I mentioned, has changed tremendously in Holly Springs. I think the town does a good job because we have three schools. In our area alone we have three schools, two of which have the same attendance time, so you can only imagine the traffic trying to get your kid to school if he's not on a school bus. I mean it can be incredible. We have businesses coming to Holly Springs, we have corporations coming to Holly Springs and one of the other functions that we really like to do.

Minister William Ball:

On the long term, we'd like for these companies that are coming to Holly Springs to create an internship for our high schoolers for our students maybe start in the 11th grade giving a kid a job on the weekends at Fujifilm or Sequirus or any of the major corporations that's coming in. If that job works out and by their senior year they have a summer job or they have an after school job. If this school, if this child is identified as not being college bound and going to Wake Tech, then he'll have an area that he could study to move right from high school to Wake Tech, to the job. Or for that kid that may not make it to Wake Tech, if he starts his junior year with one of these corporations and they create a relationship, then we've successfully moved a student through the school system into employment and it gives that company an advantage or head start if having a relationship at a very young age with that kid. So that's what Unity in the Community is all about building relationships, building relationships Exactly.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

All right. So Unity in the community NC is a 501c3 organization, and then it's also an event that we are hosting on August 26. It is a Saturday, and what time is the event?

Minister William Ball:

The event is from 11 to 4 and let me clarify something we are in the process of completing the IRS form of our 501c3. Elaine Marshall, our Secretary of State, was absolutely wonderful and brilliant, even in the loss of her husband, as to making us a legitimate nonprofit organization in the state of North Carolina. We are finalizing our 501c3 on the federal level. But, yes, once again, August 26 of Saturday, from 11 to 4 pm Now from 11 to 1, you'll be able to take advantages of all the organizations that we will have providing services.

Minister William Ball:

We'll have clothes, we'll have food boxes, we'll have backpacks, school supplies, all the food is free. Chick-fil-a has even jumped in to serve us. We'll have the town of Holly Springs having a hiring event there. The town of Apex will be represented by their Chamber of Commerce, the town of Fuqua will be represented by their police chief and the Hope Center. So from 11 to 1 is where you can really come and take advantages of the services that will be provided to the public, and it's not for just a disadvantage, it's for us to come together.

Minister William Ball:

Maybe you're a family and you have space, because we've identified, even at Apex-F riendship, at Holly Springs High, and at Fuquay High we have a number of students that don't have a place to live. Maybe you're that family that could host a student until he graduate and of course we do a vetting process to make sure everything is comfortable for the student as well as the family. But there are going to be many opportunities to serve for the public or to receive services. We just like everyone to come out and participate. We'll have a number of gospel groups there. We'll have a national recording artist there and our own ABC News, Joel Brown, will be the emcee.

Minister William Ball:

So, we're looking forward to a great time.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

All right, and then will food be available throughout.

Minister William Ball:

Food will be available throughout. I would imagine our caterer, who is Digs Catering, he's already said he will be able to start feeding people at 11 o'clock. I would imagine that would go on through the one o'clock hour but at some time he would have to wrap up. We've had the Lomi group donate 120 pounds of pork chops.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Oh, wow.

Minister William Ball:

I think we ordered 750 hot dogs and 750 hamburgers and once again, Chick-fil-a's bringing some food and please, by all means, bring a non-perishable food item so we can restock our food in Apex, Holly Springs as well as Fuquay. Bring a school supply so we could give a student the gift of a composition book or pencils or wipes All the items that we don't give out to the students we will present to the schools for their needs. So there's a lot to get involved with Unity in the Community. You can come and receive services, you can come and give or you can do both. So perfect.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

And after one o'clock, what is the idea or format of that time frame?

Minister William Ball:

So that's when the entertainment will begin. We have four different acts. We have gospel rap artist, which I thought was pretty neat for the kids. We've hired a cinematographer and she is amazing. She is a senior high school student that beat out 15 other cinematographers, so she's going to be doing some videos. We'll have a band to open up. Once again. We'll have Joel Brown as the emcee, Pastor Doug Stride We'll welcome everyone.

Minister William Ball:

Mayor Jaques Gilbert will introduce his police chief. We'll have a speaker that survived a school shooting. I don't want to give away everything, but we'll have some entertainment for everyone. We'll have sign up tables for those families that may want to host a student. We'll have sign up tables for those students that may need extra needs. We'll have sign up for seniors that may just need meals on wheels or companionship. We plan to offer a lot of services as well as give the community an opportunity to get engaged with the police force, with the fire department and with the community. You never know, just spending 30 minutes with one of our seniors or getting to know a police officer how it could change your circumstance in the community or in your life.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

All it takes is one relationship to change the format of one's future. So I love that you're bringing everybody together and that it is so multifaceted. So one target would be school children of all ages elementary school students who need backpacks and school supplies. High school students that need backpacks and school supplies. You will have some backpacks for all ages to be able to get what they need.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

You will also have food donations, so families in need, if they are having a lack of food, this will be an opportunity where they can come and they can have some donations provided and that can be brought to their car.

Minister William Ball:

That is correct. We have a number of volunteers that have joined us, you being one of them, amanda, and thank you so much.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Oh, you're quite welcome.

Minister William Ball:

Yes, so we will be addressing food insecurities. There will be a number of clothing items there for free as well. My understanding it's a preponderance of women's clothes and these are nice garments and they will all be free. We'll have shoes. We've encountered even an infant that has needs and so far we've only got one infant, but UNC Hospital has been so gracious to provide services for this infant. For those families with extreme need, please feel free to contact us prior to the event so we can set up special services for you. For those that want to give, Hope Community Church will start receiving donations for Unity in the Community August 21st, which is Monday. They will start receiving donations all the way up until the event, so you could stop by Hope Community Church, Apex campus, drop off school supplies, drop off non-perishable food items or even put your name on a list if you have special needs.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Perfect. And to get back a little bit to the clothing, you will have a room there solely for women. Just in case they are uncomfortable, or perhaps due to religious reasons or whatever reasons they might have, there will be space for them to be in a room solely with women, with items for women. Is that correct?

Minister William Ball:

That is absolutely correct. We have designated an area just for our female population, with bathroom facilities, changing facilities, clothing, hygiene kits for women and that's done through Deri Washington and Women for Community. She will be there. We will have security for your kids. We have six playgrounds, I do believe one, two, three, four, maybe four playgrounds. We will have face painters there as well for the younger kids that want to get a face painting. We have an indoor playground, the fun zone. There's going to be a lot of things to do and services to get or give.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Awesome. So I want to try to make sure that we're including all of the things, so we have the backpacks that will be available. We'll have the room for women, which will include clothes, but there are other clothing donations as well that might be available. We will have UNC Health providing health screenings, giving the menigocococcal vaccine and doing health screenings.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

We will have law enforcement there, the fire department there, so the kiddos can look at the various vehicles and start forming relationships with people who provide those services. There will be various vendors, all geared towards helping some sort of population in need, like a voice for all. What am I missing?

Minister William Ball:

There's food. Yeah, we have a fluoride bus coming. Fluoride treatments will be provided through a dental service. Lane Family Dentistry will be there passing out swag bags with toothbrushes and toothpaste. The blood mobile, if you want to donate blood, will be there as well. The Wake County Sheriff's Department will be doing a mock traffic stop as well.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

And when we say mock, traffic stop can I have you explain a little bit in detail what that entails?

Minister William Ball:

So I don't know if you've ever been stopped by the police, Amanda, but the rule of thumb for an officer that stopped you is they want to see your hands. So many times that we either get nervous or we're unaware of the danger that the officer is trained to avoid. So typically you want to have your hands 10 and 2 on the steering wheel. And when the officer gives you a directive, you want to obey that command. Whether there is license and registration For myself and I have been stopped I usually gather my license and registration before the officer even gets to the car. I'll have my hands 10 and 2 on the steering wheel or outside the driver's window so my the officer can see my hands. We want to have a safe conversation, and when I say safe conversation, we don't want to be belligerent with an officer. We don't want the officer to feel endangered at any point. The goal of a traffic stop is to get home safely, not just for the citizen but for the officer also.

Minister William Ball:

I think we've seen too many times on our news where a citizen was either killed or injured from a misunderstanding, either because that officer could not see if the citizen had a weapon or a driver's license, it's because they could not see their hands. So our teenagers, our new drivers, don't necessarily notice, and I found out that some of our adults don't even know this. So we want to enlighten the community and educate the community on how to get stopped by the police or the Sheriff's Department or state patrol. I think that's a needed area. If we lose one life, one life to a traffic stop, that's one too many for a broken tail light.

Minister William Ball:

It is we will have an insurance group hiring the town of Hollis Springs Hiring. We will have speeches by each of our police chiefs, as well as Mayor Jaques Gilbert, as well as Sean Mayefski. It's gonna be a lot, a lot of things that'll be available. A mental health arm once again.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

And again, that is from 11 to 4 on Saturday, August 26th.

Minister William Ball:

That is correct.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

So I wanted to chat just a little bit. You mentioned there will be a couple of organizations hiring. So one of, I guess, the missions of Unity in the Community is to recognize that some students might not have a path, might not know their path, might not understand where they fit in Into the next steps after school. Some students, of course, are gonna go off to college. Some will go directly into the workforce. Maybe their parents own a business, maybe they just have a streamlined path, but for some students they don't necessarily have that path. So you are looking to provide an opportunity for these students or families to see what might be available as an alternative or how to healthfully help them through that next step. Is that correct?

Minister William Ball:

That is absolutely correct. We want to also provide a pathway to law enforcement. We have partnered with a Wake Tech. My partner, John Combo, is affiliated with the assistant police chief at Wake Tech. There's an opportunity to have a law enforcement career, there's an opportunity to have a firefighting career and, once again, we want to encourage our big corporations that are coming to Holly Springs and Apex, to create internships for our high school students, those that may not make it to Wake Tech, those that may not make it to UNC. They may go straight from high school into the workforce.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

You know, so many times we have high school students that graduate with nothing, absolutely nothing to do and Looking towards your vision, you're also looking at some point to operate a business hub where people can learn about the basics of gaining employment interviewing skills, dressing for success, basic skills toward high school diploma completion and starting a local business in North Carolina. Do you want to shed some light on that?

Minister William Ball:

Yes, we have organizations Launch Holly Springs as well as Launch Apex. They assist entrepreneurs and starting their own business. We'd like to create counseling sessions so, as you mentioned, how to dress on an interview, how to conduct an interview or participate in an interview. So many times we may go unprepared and we disqualify ourselves before we even give the employer a chance to even consider. So, but in our climate right now, I mean, there's so many jobs available. We need to take advantage of it.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

So one of the things that I think, looking in, we tend to judge a little bit there are all these jobs available. Why can't you just get a job, and sometimes that goes a lot deeper in that one? You have to know about the job, you have to have access to the internet or a means of finding that that job is available to. You have to have transportation to get to the interview, or, again, the internet if it is an online interview or a phone interview. You have to have the clothing that makes you look presentable. You need to have the opportunity to take a shower or bath. You have to have the opportunity to have your haircut or to look groomed, and so there are so many steps for someone who might be housing insecure to have that opportunity To be even at a successful foundation for a successful interview.

Minister William Ball:

That's so correct and it's important that we educate our youth as to how to prepare for an interview, how to look at an interview, what do you need for that interview and, more importantly, identifying what's gonna best fit that student or that person that's looking for a job. You know, a lot of times we will go Interview for a job just to get a job, not thinking of the future. I look at the model with Chick-fil-A. Their employees can go from part-time to management to literally managing a Chick-fil-A. I have an acquaintance I've known for several years. He started on French fries at McDonald's at the age of 15. I do believe his mother had to sign a work permit at the end of his career, he owned 12 McDonald's.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Wow.

Minister William Ball:

He has participated with us in Compassion Day, but his name is Keith Manning. He was a young man that did not go to UNC, he did not go to NYU, he started on French fries and it's quite a success story. There are going to be a number of success stories that you'll be able to access, people that I have another gentleman. He started with Paramount Pest Control in Northern Virginia and now he has his own pest control company and has been doing the White House for the last 12 years. He's been doing the pest control for the White House. He has a number of naval bases and army bases.

Minister William Ball:

These are gentlemen that didn't make it to Harvard, they didn't make it to NYU, but they took what they had and they made the best of it. So many times we hear those success stories and you don't hear those success stories on the news. You may hear of that employee that comes in and kills everyone, but you don't hear of that employee that started on French rise and wind up owning 12 McDonald's or started just killing rats and roaches and now does the White House. These are people that are going to be at the event that you'll have access to, that you can talk to to see what made a difference in their life. That's what Unity in the Community is all about. We are one community. We are one race, the human race. If we don't look out for each other, I mean, what's going to happen?

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Something that comes to mind as you're speaking. Of course, we are all different. There is not one way to proceed. We all will have different paths that resonate with who we are, and I think it's important to highlight those people who have taken different paths, because so many times it's emulated that there is just this one path and if you don't do that, then you're not worthy, you have little value. But I love that, by coming together, that there will be people whose stories are different and, again, it's relationship building, it's networking, it's meeting various people and understanding their life journey. It may not be your life journey, but it is an option for a life journey that may resonate with you or somebody that you know, possibly your child. Just a little tidbit to put in your head so that somewhere, maybe 10, 15, 20 years down the road, you can say oh wait, I did know of somebody who had this experience. Maybe that will be helpful for you.

Minister William Ball:

That's so true and we have a number of people that have success stories, that travel different paths, some not so glamorous, and there are those that went to college and obtained a degree and were successful.

Minister William Ball:

That's not disqualify the opportunity that education gives us, but just because your parents may not be able to afford college, if you have the aptitude to get into a college and you have to take a student loan, that could be your pathway.

Minister William Ball:

But if you have to go to Wake Tech, there's a story about a doctor and a plumber and I won't be labeled this, but the plumber gets out of high school and immediately becomes an apprentice, where the doctor has to now go to college for four years, goes to med school, then does an internship and in the meantime he's accumulated over a million dollars in debt. Where that plumber starts making money right out of high school. As an apprentice, he soon becomes a licensed plumber, only to open his own business, and then he teaches other people his trade. Now this plumber has 15 trucks in his own business. The doctor is just getting out of his internship. Who is more successful? I would say they are equally as successful because on one hand, that doctor may be saving lives and, on the other hand, that plumber may have created a life for someone else. So it's not always about the money.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

No, and they save us at our family gatherings when something goes awry.

Minister William Ball:

Oh yes.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

They're saving lives just in a whole different way.

Minister William Ball:

In a whole different way.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

All right. So let's see In the future. The goals are to become a hub for meals on wheels for senior citizens needing food services and establishing a critical utility bill system that will provide elderly and marginalized citizens with temporary financial assistance toward their utility bills and water bills. So what I feel like my understanding is that y'all have seen various needs in the community and you are trying to bring it all together, Because I think one of the things that I see is that somebody gets in need or somebody knows of somebody in need, and I do think that we have a lot of resources in place, but we don't always have the education or the know-how about what those resources are and how to find them. So it looks like y'all will be a really good avenue for people in need within the communities and people who just know of people in need within the communities to say this is a place where you can come and find some resources and let's meet you where you are and see how we can best be of assistance to help you thrive.

Minister William Ball:

That is correct. We want to help the community and if we gather all the partners and resources, we may not have the resource, but one of our partners may know of a resource. So if it's one place you can go to address your food insecurity, to address your housing need, and that's another long-term goal We'd like to accumulate properties to provide housing for these families that, if they can just get their kid through high school and help them get their own apartment, help them get their own home, maybe find a resource for the father or the mother or the partner, whatever the situation may be, we want to give a fishing pole and not a fish sandwich. That way you can feed your family forever. A fish sandwich may feed you for a day, but a fishing pole will feed you forever.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Well said, all right. Anything else that you would like to share about Unity and the community, either the organization or the event that's happening in August, on the 26th?

Minister William Ball:

Sure, go to our website. It is www. unityinthecommunitync. org. I'll repeat that UnityI n TheC ommunityNC. org. Our Facebook page is Unity in the Community Apex HS for Holly Springs, FV Fuquay Varina, and reach out. Maybe you can contribute, maybe you need help. We're here to provide that for you. We will have our inaugural event on August 26th at Hope Community Church in Apex, from 11 to 4. And everyone is invited. We'd love to see the entire community come out. Either receive or give, or both.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Perfect and starting August 21st, Hope Community Church will start receiving donations, whether that's non-perishable food items, school supplies, feminine hygiene products, anything that will help those in need, and you can also bring those items on August 26th when you come to the event. If the items are not utilized during the event, if they're not given out, then they will still be used to be given to schools and people in need as they are needed. That is correct. If people would like more information, maybe their families in need, maybe they are people who see a way that they may be of service where should they reach out?

Minister William Ball:

They can go to our website or to our Facebook page. We have a sign up genius on our Facebook page where you can sign up to volunteer and once again, that's Unity in the Community Apex HS FV. Or you can give us a call. You can certainly reach out and call me, Minister William Ball at 919-946-3846. Or you can go to our website UnityInTheCommunityNC. org.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

I love little metaphors and analogies. You started a ripple that is still moving and will continue to move even after our passing. So kudos to you. I appreciate that.

Minister William Ball:

Thank you so much and we say that all the time. We want this to continue long after we're gone. We could be in heaven and go. You see that little Unity in the community group and you've been amazing, Amanda, let me tell you. Just for you to coming up to us and coming up to me, I just thought it was great. I think this is great, I think what you're doing is great and we just have to come together as a community and help one another.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Because we all have strengths. We all have a place where we can reach others, and just tapping into that strength and working together is how we do Unity in the Community.

Minister William Ball:

Come on.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

And that brings this episode of the Holly Springs Deep Dive Podcast, soon to be called the NC Deep Dive, to a close. Unity in the Community begins with us. Thank you for listening and I encourage you to come out and join us this Saturday, August 26th, from 11 to 4 at the Hope Community Church in Apex. Remember, everything will be completely free and is open to all those near and far, so bring a friend and share the information wherever you can. Hope Community Church will also be accepting donations of school supplies, feminine hygiene products and non-perishable food items starting August 21st. So let's come together and help replenish the local food banks in Holly Springs, Fuquay Varina, and Apex.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

I will include details of the event, including contact information from Minister Ball, in the show notes. Breaking the divide and bringing the community together requires active participation. We hope you'll join us in starting a ripple and making this world a better place. And remember, as always, if you have thoughts or concerns you'd like to share, you may contact us via email at hollyspringspodcast@gmail. com or through social media. You may find all our episodes at our website, HollySpringsDeepDive. com, or wherever you currently listen to your podcasts. Until next time, my friends namaste Bye.

Unity in the Community
August 26 Unity Community Event
Unity in the Community
Pathways to Success and Community Support