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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Dr. Kelly Graves is passionate about working with children and families and helping communities empower each other.

Graves spent close to 15 years working as an associate professor at North Carolina A&T State University and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

“I taught about trauma and trauma-informed care and how to work with kids and families and make systems changes,” she said.

“But I really felt led to stop teaching it and start doing it.”

Graves says it was a conversation over coffee with dear friend Lindy Beauregard that inspired her to take her knowledge to a level that would have a direct impact on the community.

“She approached me one day in that same coffee shop that we would regularly meet at just to kind of connect and she said, ‘would you start a non-profit cause I only have a little bit of time left,’ her cancer was terminal, ‘would you start one in my honor,’” Graves said.

Beauregard decided on the name Kellin – a combination of Kelly and Lindy.

The non-profit would be named The Kellin Foundation.

Lindy was able to see the beginning stages of the non-profit before she passed away in 2013.

The Kellin Foundation opened its doors for service in 2016.

In just a few short years, the non-profit has made a tremendous impact helping individuals, children, and families experiencing trauma receive the necessary resources to move forward.

Since opening, Graves says The Kellin Foundation has helped more than 25,000 people.

Another milestone is that The Kellin Foundation was named as a partner with The National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

“We were selected as the second in North Carolina only behind Duke University which was the co-founder in 1999, so in 20 years, we’re the second behind Duke and there’s only about 100 across the country.”

Leaving a guaranteed tenured position to move into the non-profit world may have seemed scary at the time, but Kelly says seeing the impact has made the transition worth it.

“I really wanted to be able to say 30 years from now I did what I truly wanted to do.”

FOX8 is recognizing the great contributions women have made to our nation and local communities. Remarkable Women is part of a nationwide Nexstar Media initiative to honor the influence that women have had on public policy, social progress and the quality of life.

FOX8 has chosen four finalists who will be considered for Nexstar’s nationwide 2020 Woman of the Year Award. One local winner will be selected to earn a once-in-a-lifetime trip to New York City to attend a taping of The Mel Robbins Show. The national winner will be named in mid-March.

Please also follow the Remarkable Women Facebook page here for stories about these Remarkable Women across the country!