Fayetteville native's nonprofit provides scholarship, exposure to youth: 'Incubator for leadership'

Akilah Davis Image
Friday, March 8, 2024
Fayetteville native's nonprofit gives scholarship, support for youth
A Pine Forest High School graduate is giving back with a nonprofit that equips underserved students with leadership skills and inspiration.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C (WTVD) -- For Grant Bennett, 26, Pine Forest High School is where it all started. The alum spoke with ABC11 from the auditorium of the school about his nonprofit, the Two-Six Project. Its name holds great significance.

"Literally just means the county code for Fayetteville. It's the 26th county established," said Bennett. "The nonprofit centers as an incubator for leadership development and marginalized youth here in Fayetteville."

Bennett referenced sitting in the auditorium as nostalgic. He even called the school "a safe space for me for sure."

He is on his way to becoming a double HBCU graduate by getting his bachelor's degree in psychology from Morehouse College and is working on a Master's in business at Fayetteville State University.

By day, he works for Google, but by night he's busy transforming the lives of current Pine Forest students like Fredrick Logan.

"He said look into their eyes and be confident in what you're saying. If you mess up, keep on going," said Logan.

He is one of many students participating in the Two-Six Project who can benefit from the monthly meetings and opportunities aimed at exposing marginalized teens. Most recently, a financial literacy workshop was held.

"Understanding that you need to be saving, but also need to be setting yourself up for the future and investing your money," said senior student Nicole Wetzbarger.

The nonprofit gives scholarships each year and even holds giveaways during Christmas. In addition to exposure, Bennett aims to create memories for the youth by partnering with other Fayetteville natives like VicBlendz.

"We give back free haircuts, toys, clothes and food to the community," said Victor Fontanez. " Show positivity and hopefully put a couple smiles on kids' faces."

Besides showing leadership, it also teaches the next generation what it means to give back.

"They've definitely exposed me to that idea and it's something I'd like to do," said Wetzbarger.

Through his nonprofit, Bennett shows students what it means to take pride in where you come from.

"Two-six! Ah! Ah," Logan exclaimed with pride. "That's what we do, you know?"