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The Relatives Family Update

Please ensure you scroll down to read all of the recent stories in this newsletter.

My name is Genine Donovan, and I am the Program Manager of The Relatives On Ramp Resource Center. Every day I work to provide young people in a crisis with an accepting environment where they can feel empowered to achieve stability and independence.

My colleagues and I expect to welcome every young person who walks through our doors with arms wide open. This spirit of acceptance is at the core of everything we do and is especially relevant as we recognize May as Mental Health Awareness Month.

Many of the young people I work with at The Relatives have suffered severe trauma. Over 50% experienced abuse and neglect in their homes and over 30% have been involved with the criminal justice system. Over my past 7 and ½ years with The Relatives, I have learned to meet a youth in crisis exactly where they are by first meeting their basic-needs and focusing on their mental-health.

Before my colleagues and I can begin to help a young adult pave their path to success, we must address their mental health. Mental healthcare at The Relatives can mean access to our onsite counselor, wellness workshops, or proactively connecting with outside community resources.
But mental healthcare at The Relatives also means celebrating a young person’s accomplishments, walking beside them during the difficult times, and letting them know they’re not alone.

Thanks to your continued support and partnership, the young people at The Relatives will always have someone in their corner who cares, who will listen, and will help them work through their challenges in a healthy, productive way.

I am so grateful you’re a Relative!

Genine Donovan
Program Manager

Include The Relatives In Your Summer Plans!

Summer is a perfect time to volunteer with The Relatives, as both The Youth Crisis Center and On Ramp Resource Center see a rise in young people experiencing crisis.

“In the summer, we tend to see the highest rate of runaways,” say The Relatives Runaway Prevention Specialist Ceasia Louallen. “Many times, our children and young adults don’t want to be at home in the summer months because they don’t feel safe, or they’ve been neglected, mistreated or abused.”

“At On Ramp, we see an increase on hotter days,” says Program Manager Genine Donovan. “They are looking for a cool place to rest and get out of the heat, but once they meet our staff and build trusting relationships, they began to take advantage of the programming we offer.”

Summer at The Relatives’ Youth Crisis Center means a need for daytime activities and lunch volunteers. “Simply put, our children and teens are now with us around the clock,” states Quentisha Daniels, Youth Crisis Center Program Manager. “Our goal is to provide them with fun and engaging activities during the day to keep them active and encourage their creativity and imagination.” And since the children and youth are out of school, lunches are now needed each day, as well as dinners, and more snacks are required.

“We want our children and teens to enjoy fun summer activities and make memories, just like their peers,” Daniels explains.

If you would like to serve as summertime volunteer at The Relatives, then please click here to learn more and view a calendar of upcoming needs and opportunities.

The On Ramp Resource Center Celebrates 2 years on Freedom Drive!


Since moving into our new location at 2219 Freedom Drive in May 2022, The Relatives On Ramp Center has served over 1,000 young people with access to GED tutoring, on-site mental health counseling, life skill workshops, tailored case management, as well as assistance with employment and housing.

With over 10,000 square feet, a teaching kitchen, as well as shower and laundry facilities, The Relatives is on track to serve over 900 young people in 2024.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible and for supporting The Relatives as we continue growing to meet the needs of young people experiencing crisis in our community.

Are you interested in visiting The Relatives On Ramp Resource Center? Please join us for a Family Meal or a Meet The Relatives tour.

An On Ramp To Happily Ever After


Have you ever felt as though you’ve been here before? That’s exactly how Kent Smith felt when he visited the On Ramp Resource Center last year with his wife, Annabet.

Before The Relatives moved in, 2219 Freedom Drive had seen plenty of Charlotte history. Originally built in 1953, the property has housed a school, a nightclub, a theatre, as well as recording and film studios.

A few years ago, Kent, a local filmmaker, was searching for studio space when he came across a listing from the John Nichols Company for the property on Freedom Dr. While he saw the space’s potential and loved its history of film production, he found the idea of renovating the space a bit daunting.

While Kent ultimately passed on the property, he did strike up a deep and lasting friendship with John Nichols. It was through this friendship Kent met John’s cousin-in-law, Annabet. The two quickly hit it off, fell in love, and have been together for 9 years and married for 7 of those years.

Annabet and Kent’s history with The Relatives has come full circle, as they chose to support The Relatives with a multi-year financial commitment.

“Kent and I were looking for a good cause to support,” shares Annabet. “I was very picky about choosing since I wanted my gift to really go to work for those in need. We heard about The Relatives through an acquaintance and after learning more about how The Relatives changes lives, I knew this was the place I wanted to support. Plus, I knew my company would provide matching funds!”

Empowering Change through Mental Health

The Relatives has recently expanded access to mental health counseling services both at The Youth Crisis Center and On Ramp Resource Center.

Responding to the mental health challenges faced by our young people carries a cost of $115.00 an hour.

You can help support young people in crisis as they journey towards stability by making a gift today.

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PS: Tonight, May 17th, the Charlotte skyline will be lit green in support of Mental Health Awareness Month.

Trish’s Corner

It’s an exciting time to be a Relative as we continue to celebrate 50 years of relief, acceptance, and empowerment. I hope you will join me and other friends and family of The Relatives for a fantastic event commemorating our 50th anniversary on Thursday September 5th. Please see below for a “Save The Date.”

I also hope you’ll help us celebrate this golden milestone by sharing your Relatives story. Hearing your memories of The Relatives and the impact its made in your life means a great deal to me.

To share your Relatives story, click here.


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    For young people in crisis, The Relatives steps in where no one else can. With a 50-year history, The Relatives is unmatched in finding solutions for the countless challenges that confront the youth they serve. Supporting The Relatives means you are giving relief in place of despair, acceptance in place of rejection and empowerment in place of hopelessness

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