Mission: We exist to connect adolescents and their support systems to programs and resources that influence positive life outcomes.

Vision: To see adolescents grow into thriving adults. CONNECT Community, Inc. connects adolescents (ages 10-24) as well as their caregivers and support systems (ie school faculty and staff) who live in rural Robeson County to resources and opportunities that lead adolescents to higher rates of successful transitions into adulthood.

At CONNECT Community, we aim to facilitate purposeful learning opportunities, foster positive relationships, and assist adolescents and their support systems across various aspects of life. Through continuous dedication and collaborative efforts with educational institutions, government agencies, and other non-profits, we strive to promote positive outcomes for our youth and their caregivers.

Founder Kewanda Merritt had the incredible opportunity to teach in the United Arab Emirates and explore various countries, witnessing iconic landmarks like the Taj Mahal and Egyptian pyramids that she had only previously seen in encyclopedias. This experience made her reflect on the fulfilling life she had created for herself, especially from a small rural town in southeastern North Carolina. Kewanda realized that her ability to build such a life was due to the exposure and opportunities provided by her parents and the presence of positive female role models in her community. Inspired by this realization, she took the initiative to organize a girls' development conference for young girls residing in South Lumberton. The event started as a one-day gathering in 2016 but gained so much momentum that it expanded into a two-day meeting in 2017. It eventually evolved into a monthly program throughout 2018 and 2019, continuing to empower and inspire young girls in the community.

In 2018, while working as a Student Success Advocate for the local school system, she recognized that for adolescents to thrive and grow their network to include caregivers, they must also be supported. Thus, CONNECT Community Inc. was established to nurture the bond between young people and their support systems which are critical for their development. Additionally, we aim to connect families with resources, tangible assistance, and an emotional support network.

In 2020, CONNECT Community Inc. was incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, allowing us to expand programs for male and female adolescents and their caregivers

Our mission is to connect people, adolescents, and families to valuable resources. We aim to create nurturing relationships that positively impact adolescents’ behavior and development, foster connections with community organizations, institutions, and service providers, and connect caregivers to an emotionally supportive network. CONNECT Community, Inc. is dedicated to empowering families and youth, building community, and offering necessary support and opportunities for families to flourish.
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