Raeford military spouse, husband launch mobile mentoring unit to mentor underserved communities in Sandhills

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Alberta Lampkins knows many children who grow up in disadvantaged communities are less likely to succeed. She said students living in Hoke and Cumberland Counties struggle to meet the state standards.

"Reading and math scores for these counties fall below 50 percent of the national state average," said Lampkins.

She runs Fayetteville-Raeford Cares, a mentoring program aimed at targeting underserved communities by providing education, health and wellness to boys and girls in the Sandhills.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit and the organization struggled to get off the ground. Lampkins watched as families suffered too as they adjusted to students learning remotely at home.

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"They're not able to keep up or do the work. The virtual learning is just too much for the youth who already struggle to keep up. This only made it heightened. The struggle for them," said Lampkins.

The military spouse and her husband Albert used $3,500 of their own money to purchase a school bus from Harnett County Schools. In order to move forward, the inside of the bus needs to be transformed.

Organizers are planning to remove some of the seats and bring desks on board for student sessions.

"We are going to sand down the school bus and get it painted. We want a smart board on board. School supplies and fill the bus with hand sanitizer and disinfectant," said Lampkins.

She just received her first grant from the Starbucks Foundation of $5,000 for the initiative and plans to continue applying for others to fund this operation. It's her way of giving back and thanking the mentor who contributed to the success in her life as a child many years ago.

"If I can play that role or the mentors that are apart of Fayetteville-Raeford Cares, can instill a desire to move forward and succeed, then that's exactly what we want them to do,"said Lampkins.
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