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I am proud to announce a partnership with MeckEd, called Charlotte Next, that will lay the foundation for better middle school OST programs in Charlotte.

For the past several years I have been out in the community hearing from parents in every corner of our city that Charlotte needs more OST programs for teens.

Of the top 20 cities in the US, only Charlotte does not have an organization dedicated to improving access to OST programs and to improving the quality of those programs.

Creating this organization was my central promise to Charlotte during my campaign for mayor and has been my primary focus during my first year in office.

This partnership is the result of the hard work and dedication of people like you who are committed to creating a better future for our youth.

Starting with the Mayor's Summit on Out of School Time in March, we have been working with members of the community, representatives from other cities, and OST experts in creating a plan for improving middle school OST in Charlotte.

This input was instrumental in setting the scope and objectives of Charlotte Next. One of the important lessons learned from other cities is that we must start small, set realistic goals, and achieve those goals as we expand. Charlotte Next will focus on three key areas:  

  • Create a clearinghouse to help parents find the right program for their middle school child
  • Offer advocacy and professional development for OST providers
  • Supply micro-grants to program providers

I want to recognize some of the many people who have helped us take this important first step.

Time Warner Cable, Foundation for the Carolinas, and Charlotte Works were gracious with their early support of this initiative starting with our summit.

I also thank Greg Schermbeck for his expertise and community outreach as well as the Council for Children's Rights for their deep knowledge in this space and Child Care Resources for their early OST work. 

I appreciate the folks at Queen City Forward and Generation Nation for helping to name this partnership and I thank Tom Warshauer and his staff at the City for their help in getting this initiative started.

And I want to thank our corporate partners who are supporting the first two years of Charlotte Next. I am so grateful to Wells Fargo, Charlie Elberson with ReEmprise Fund, and Bank of America.  

Again, I am proud to announce the creation of Charlotte Next and I am committed to continuing to work with you, and all of our partners, to ensure its growth and success in the coming years.