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'They know the sky is the limit' | After-school program offering life lessons to kids in Charlotte

They are currently serving over 100 children, giving them opportunities to learn.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An after-school program gives Charlotte children some in-depth experiences they wouldn’t normally get in the classroom. That’s what Raise a Child of the Carolinas is all about.  

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and Raise a Child of the Carolinas hosted a lesson that was all about the mouth; they talked about dental hygiene and introduced the older kids to professionals in the dental field. 

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Dr. Amanda Settle and her team from Huntersville Smiles led the lesson plan, and Raise a Child's founder and executive director Shaguana Hunt invited them to Sugar Creek Charter School to do this.  

Hunt feels this was an opportunity to expose the students to opportunities they typically just don’t get. That goes along with the organization's mission.  

Students from grades K-12 get these educational opportunities through basic lessons in science, engineering, math, reading and technology.  

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“We try to make sure they are getting those opportunities and applying them to real-life situations," Hunt said. 

Raise a Child is primarily in Charlotte's Sugar Creek Corridor, partnering with the Sugar Creek Charter School. They are currently serving over 100 children, giving them opportunities to learn.

"So often when talking to Black and brown youth, when you ask them what they want to be when they grow up they can only tell you what they are exposed to, they can only tell you what they see on a normal basis," Hunt said. "You often get basketball player and rapper, you will get what they see."

Hunt said this is a good example of why their mission helps. 

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"It's important for us to give them more opportunities than they see on a regular basis," Hunt said. "So that way they know the sky is the limit." 

For these students, it’s a chance to brush up on skills they will need for the rest of their lives. Through their reaction, you can tell it's working.  

“I learned how to brush my teeth and how long you need to brush your teeth, and how your teeth gets healthy and unhealthy," Tyrek Garvin, a third grader at the school said.  

Even in second grade, Kailee Conrad felt like she will make better choices in her food and drink selection. 

“Bad food is not good for your teeth because it will make your teeth not healthy, and you will get cavities," Conrad said.

For those looking to help, Raise a Child of the Carolinas accepts donations online and welcomes volunteers. More information about the nonprofit, including its summer camp, can be found on its website.

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