WILMINGTON — Dustin Pearce and his team at Makeshark Website Marketing in downtown Wilmington have launched “Real Change Wilmington” — an online and print resource created to help empower individuals in need and educate the community on topics like addiction recovery, housing, child care, and more.
For the past few months, Pearce and his team have been engaging with community members, organizational leaders, and sifting through existing documents to curate a list of resources available in Wilmington and also communicate what organizations are doing behind the scenes to create real change, according to a news release.
“Last summer I noticed a lot of people asking for money outside of Kroger. I wanted to help, but I was skeptical that they actually needed the money, because I knew of many resources in the community that provide food, shelter, etc. So to solve this dilemma, I decided to use my skills to create a resource that both helps people in need to get resources and helps those who want to give, get the education to give wisely—and not just pocket change, but ‘real change’ (hence the name),” Pearce said.
Pearce said Real Change Wilmington launches with two key intentions. The first being empowerment.
“Part of what we are trying to do is empower people, eliminate excuses, and expose true gaps in resources. We live in a small town where information travels by word-of-mouth, but often secondhand information can be misinformed or incomplete. For instance, the other day a friend of mine said someone approached him thinking I was his son! We laughed, but it proves my point that even in a small town, where most people know each other’s business, sometimes we can be wrong. Maybe there is transportation, child care, housing, etc., options for you, or maybe there is really a gap that someone needs to address. Whatever the truth is, I believe knowing can empower us.”
The second intention of launching Real Change Wilmington is education.
“The other part of what we are trying to do is educate people, reduce frustration caused by lack of communication, and improve a sense of community pride. There seems to be a few issues and organizations in our town that stir up a lot of controversy. I have volunteered at some of those organizations, and still don’t feel like I really know what goes on there. So, we also started a podcast to talk with leaders of local organizations to get a first-hand understanding of who they are and what they do. In our second episode, we talk with Crown Staffing about how they are employing people who want to work, but are homeless or have a felony that makes it hard to pass a background check. Because of our conversation, we are now working with them to build a list of local background-friendly employers.”
Pearce ended by saying that Real Change Wilmington is not “perfect”—“there are still bugs and missing information they are working on”—but that isn’t keeping them from trying to help the community and people who have real needs right now.
“I am confident that we will only get better because we are willing to take imperfect actions forward. I believe Wilmington is ready for real change, and I am encouraged by the support we are receiving.”
For more information, please visit www.realchangewilmington.com.