60 Years of Growing
“Our present staff and facilities are operating at peak load. We need more people, more equipment, more time. Truly our work has just begun. Will you help?”
- From the booklet "Years of Growing 1955 – 1963: A Report by Heart Services of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County" about Care Ring's early years in Charlotte
This week we stumbled upon a remarkable timepiece that was buried in a back office box that hadn’t been opened in years.
A handy little booklet on our founding, “Years of Growing 1955-1963,” shares the story of Care Ring’s first years – and reminds us of our mission, purpose and impact.
Sixty years ago, United Community Services (the forefather of today’s United Way of Central Carolinas), approved a grant of $15,917 to launch Care Ring’s predecessor agency, “Heart Services of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.”
In partnership with the health department and Charlotte’s Junior Women’s Club, one of our very first projects was helping to start the Children’s Heart Clinic.
We were rolling by 1957, hosting the first Occupational Health Conference, and starting what were called “Heart and Home” educational demonstrations in places around the city to raise awareness about proper diet, exercise and health behaviors. A series of talks on preventing disease, known as “Heart-to-Heart” conversations, were delivered on local radio station WSOC.
In 1961, our first “Keeping Fit is Fun” event was held at Ovens Auditorium, and in cooperation with the Red Cross, a “Heart Party” was held to honor heart surgery patients in the region. In 1962 our report on senior health needs in Charlotte, “The Outlook for Oldsters in Mecklenburg,” was picked up by national columnists and read in papers across the country.
What is striking in reading through the history of our formative years is the commonality and consistency in our work right up to today.
From there very start our founders recognized the power of partnership to advance our mission. From the health department, to major corporate donors, to civic and social clubs like the Junior Women’s Club, leaders of Care Ring’s early efforts knew that our impact would be greater if we worked in partnership with others.
From our earliest days we strategically engaged the media to help promote and advance our message – all with an eye to help those with limited resources establish and maintain good health.
And the common denominator to all of our work – the original inspiration that has allowed us to blossom over these last six decades – is the United Way of Central Carolinas. Without the support of the United Way our work and our agency may never have even started.
The United Way lit a fire to get us started, and their steadfast support and belief in our mission has kept us going for six decades.
Here’s the next 60 years!