Winston-Salem Foundation Listens to the Voices of the Children
The Marshall B. Bass Children’s Fund is taking a new approach to helping children in Forsyth County.
Marshall B. Bass began this entity in 1997 after retiring from R.J. Reynolds as a CFO. This group supports organizations that serve area children. In 2011, it conducted a multi-phased study called The State of the Children in order to identify the most prevalent social issues facing youth in grades six through nine. Sixty-four children between the ages of 10-to-14 participated in focus groups and they were asked what positive and negative things strongly impact their lives.Thursday afternoon in Winston-Salem, the Marshall B. Bass Children’s Fund presented their findings to several non-profit groups and business leaders during a luncheon at Bridger Field House at the BB&T Field. Marsha Bass is the daughter of the fund’s name sake. She’s also the group's vice chairperson and a board member. According to Bass, many of the children say they want to be more involved. “These children really want activities and mentoring opportunities," explains Bass. "They find they’re often alone at home or they don’t have access to activities after school or they don’t have a ride to a program at an event. But what they’re really looking for are ways they can participate and really feel a part of something.”Children who were interviewed also talked about the importance of non-parental adults in their lives; mounting stress from a perception they must be high achievers in and out of school and of how technology shapes their relationships with others. Bass and others encouraged the audience to be more aggressive in creating opportunities for youth who want to engage in social and volunteer activities. They also suggested to business leaders to invest more in after-school, tutorial and summer programs.