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Winston-Salem organization encourages communities to look inward to solve issues

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — If you want to look at the issues lying in different Winston-Salem neighborhoods, streets are a good place to start.

“Back in the day, you could go out and tussle a little bit in the street, and you brush yourself off and you’re friends the next day. But, there’s none of that no more,” said Lee Stewart, a local youth basketball coach.

In east Winston-Salem, the problems with their streets are largely metaphoric.

“If we had better youth programs, we’d keep the youth off the streets instead of sending them to jail,” Stewart said.

However, street issues in areas like Ardmore are literal.

“We thought they would repave the street afterward, but they just patched it up,” said Timothy Wagner, reflecting on recent pipe replacement under the neighborhood’s roadways.

However, no matter where a neighborhood is located, there is no doubt they face some issues.

“I want to see that, not being racist. I don’t care if you’re white or black, we all need to come together,” said Cassius Gwyn, an east Winston-Salem resident.

“When the guys start selling dope, and selling drugs, shooting, there’s no organization to go over there and say, ‘hey, let’s bring free lunch over there for the little kids, let’s show them that we care,’” said Alphonso Washington, who lives on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

“Young men and young women don’t have life skills no more, ‘cause they’re not getting it from their parents,” said Stewart.

“We need to come together in the community and help one another,” added Phyllis Stewart.

A local organization, Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods, wants residents to start looking inward, or to each other, for answers to their problems.

“This is a way for residents to get the things that they need, by tapping into each other,” said Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods Executive Director Paula McCoy.

McCoy said many neighborhoods have established associations, whereas others may just be getting started.

“This is an inside-out approach,” McCoy said.

Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods hold meetings for residents of all Winston-Salem neighborhoods to become engaged with each other, share ideas and resources.

They meet on the fourth Thursday of every month, at the United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church, on Metropolitan Drive.

“We have so many gifts, skills, and talents in our neighborhoods and we have little resources,” McCoy said.

An example of good communication comes out of the Ardmore neighborhood, which has its own Facebook page, which is regularly used by residents.

“It does help to know what people are thinking and what they’re doing,” Wagner said.

Whether it be safety, infrastructure, recreation, or any issue, it’s the organization’s hope that by coming together, each community can offer solutions.

“The people who live every day with these problems, and with these issues, can solve them,” McCoy said.