The Covid-19 pandemic and economic climate have forced many nonprofits to confront underlying issues and make decisions that will impact the future of their organizations. After 37 years of being a leader in North Carolina to improve the sexual health of adolescents, SHIFT NC has found itself to be in the same place as many other nonprofits, determining the future of our beloved organization.
It’s with a heavy heart that I share with you that the Board of Directors and leadership of SHIFT NC have decided our current organizational operations are no longer sustainable, and the organization will close as of June 30, 2022. We know that this is a shock to many and a devastation to the young people, communities, and families we serve in North Carolina. Please know that the Board and leadership did not come to this decision lightly and we respect and honor the vast legacy that SHIFT NC has held for the past 37 years.
For more than three decades, SHIFT NC has played a vital role in shaping the sexual health landscape, and increased access to education and sexual and reproductive health care services for adolescents in North Carolina. Many of you have played an important role in our legacy. Together, with our partners and stakeholders, SHIFT NC:
- Launched Let’s Talk Month in 1986 to encourage family communication about sexual health. This campaign is now recognized and celebrated nationally.
- Worked with other NC organizations to expand funding for school-based health centers and the Adolescent Parenting Program.
- Convened the Healthy Youth Coalition to lay the groundwork for the Healthy Youth Act, which was signed into law in 2009. The Healthy Youth Act requires public schools to provide students with health information that is medically accurate and age appropriate.
- Hosted state-wide convenings to support youth and professionals. State-wide convenings included the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Conference, Adolescent Health Advocacy Day (AHAD), and the State of Adolescent Sexual Health Forum.
- Developed innovative programs and initiatives that support adolescents including those who are historically marginalized (young people in foster care and juvenile justice, LGBTQ+ young people, and pregnant and parenting teens), health care providers, teachers, parents, and whole communities:
- Community-wide Initiatives: Gaston Youth Connected (GYC), North Carolina Youth Connected (NCYC), Alamance Youth Connected (AYC)
- Every Teen Counts Initiative
- Clinic Improvement Initiatives: All Together Now (ATN), Healthy Tomorrow Alliance, and High Point Access
- LGBTQ+ Capacity Building Initiatives
- WISE Initiative
- Hispanic Outreach Network
- Pregnant and Parenting Teens Initiative
- Male Involvement Initiative
- 100 County Campaign
- Youth Engagement Initiatives: Teen Health Now and the Youth Advisory Council
- Technology Initiatives: BrdsNBz Text Line (now with the American Sexual Health Association), Playbook.org, and PreparedParent.org
We are ever grateful to our staff, board, partners, champions, funders, and stakeholders for helping us to make this work possible for the past 37 years.
Although SHIFT NC will no longer exist as its own entity, we hope that other organizations will continue to carry our vision forward so that all young people in North Carolina continue to grow up healthy.
With warm regards,
Kia Thacker, Interim CEO