Care Ring is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower individuals with limited resources to establish and maintain good health. This organization has worked tremendously hard to build partnerships and connections within the Charlotte community, emphasizing neighborhood engagement and collaboration.

In early 2023, Care Ring launched The Bridge, a community-based health effort that would launch a ‘clinic without walls.’ Tchernavia Montgomery, Executive Director of Care Ring, recalled what prompted the project. “We had to acknowledge all the external needs we were observing and evolve our system of care – but it would have been unwise for us to undertake that alone.”

Care Ring launched a mobile unit in the Grier Heights community that would bring healthcare services directly to the neighborhood each week. Sunday Shobowale is a Community Health Worker for Care Ring and helps staff the mobile unit.

“As community health workers, it is important for us to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. It helps us understand the mistrust or hesitancy around healthcare initiatives such as vaccines and builds trust that improves health for community residents.”

When the organization was forced to move from its original location, it shifted operations to the Grier Heights Community Center but struggled with the lack of visibility to a more public audience. Help came from an unlikely partner – the local 7-11 store. “At the beginning of the project, I would never have imagined that 7-11 would become such an indispensable partner in this work. They provided a visible spot that was already a gathering area for the community. Forget healthcare. It was a space that was convenient for people,” said Montgomery.

As word spread, attendance at the clinic boomed, ultimately serving more than 200 people. The traffic attracted other partners to the site, including WellCare, Legal Aid, Mecklenburg County Health Department and Loaves & Fishes, Crossroad, Novant, Project Bolt and UNC Charlotte’s School of Nursing. Attendees received healthcare support, as well as food, legal advice and more. “Each partner brought their best to the table, and it unified to create something bigger and better than any one of us could have created alone,” noted Montgomery.

When it comes to Community Voice, responsiveness is one of the things that counts most. “You can’t be risk averse and you can’t be afraid of what you’ll hear,” Montgomery said. In this case, it was the quick move to a spot that was already valued by the neighborhood and honest conversations with the store owner that prompted trust among the neighbors and partners, creating a project greater than the sum of any of its parts.


Stories Matter – The Anatomy of a Community
Do’s & Don’ts for Community Voice