empowering strength and resilience

ESR honors clients with awards

WINSTON-SALEM – ESR is continuing to honor the successes of our graduates each and every year. This year we have awards to honor the successes of some of our graduates that have completed our program and are giving back their time and expertise to our community.  2 of the  Award Categories are named after 2 outstanding past Executive Directors of Experiment in Self-Reliance. Both directors dedicated their lives to aiding impoverished citizens, strengthening our community and provided wisdom and leadership to ESR for over 25 years. We encourage all of our participants to be active members of our community both as tax paying citizens and lending a hand to “helping people help themselves.”

The 3 award categories are:

  • The Robert Law Self-Sufficiency Award
  • The Louise Wilson Community Service Award… and
  • The New Century IDA Homeownership Award

The Robert Law Self-Sufficiency Award

The Robert Law Award is named after Mr. Robert Law Executive Director of ESR from Jan 1986 to June 1998, he first became employed with ESR beginning in 1964. Mr. Law gave outstanding service to our agency and we are proud to name an award after him.

The criteria for the Robert Law Self-Sufficiency Award:

  • Someone who is highly motivated and has persevered and triumphed over many obstacles
  • Has maintained ongoing contact with the success coach and
  • Has met and exceeded his/her program goals based on ROMA

The recipient of the Bob Law award

Ms. Goldsmith is a part of the Inspire 340 program with ESR. She is a single mother of 2 boys. When I met her, she had no goals and was only participating because the school referred her to the program.

After speaking with her, she began to think about the idea of going back to school to obtain her High School Diploma. On March 5, 2020, Ms. Goldsmith obtained her diploma and graduated from High School. She was the first of 3 generations to complete high school.

Currently, she is attending Forsyth Technical Community College taking healthcare courses online. She is also working towards obtaining her driver’s license.

Ms. Goldsmith has a new view of her life and what she can accomplish. She is very excited knowing that the sky is the limit.

The Louise Wilson Community Service Award

The Louise Wilson Community Service Award is named after Mrs. Wilson, who was the Executive Director of the Experiment In Self-Reliance from 1968 to 1985. She first became employed with ESR as the Assistant Director June 1965. Wilson was a visionary for the agency and was responsible for starting many of our programs such as the transitional housing program and elements of the self- sufficiency program.

The criteria for the Louise Wilson Community Service Award

  • has graduated from the program and has given service to the community and volunteering based on passion and needs.
  • has given back to the community who was helped by ESR
  • is fulfilling ESR’s mission of helping people help themselves

The recipient of the Louise Wilson Community Service award

Mr. Brown was a homeless man that previously resided at Old Vineyard psychiatric center. After being released, he moved to the Bethesda homeless center in Winston-Salem. He reported that before being hospitalized he was living at an older ladies’ barn. He reports that he was staying in her barn for a year in 2017 and 2019. After leaving her barn in March 2019 he was on the streets under a bridge a month and a half in Lumberton, NC. He was eventually picked up off the street and put into the hospital. He reports that he can’t remember how long that he was in hospital.

While at the Bethesda Center he was provided a case manager at ESR to assist with his homelessness. At first, he struggled to identify housing and having difficulties interacting with the leasing agents. After case manager role played scenarios with Mr. Brown, he was able to be comfortable with interacting with leasing agents and was able to find housing.

Mr. Brown successfully completed and provided all necessary documentation for his new apartment. James moved into his apartment and was able to furnish his apartment on his own. Since working with the case manager he has shown initiative and determination by engaging with case manager and following directives and goals that were set for him. Mr. Brown has aspirations to complete school by attending Forsyth Tech and obtaining his GED. Mr. Brown has navigated his way through the community on so many levels. He has given back to the community by sharing supportive services information at the Bethesda Homeless Center and other homeless facilities in the Winston-Salem area.

Mr. Brown holding the keys to his own place

The New Century IDA Homeownership Award

The criteria for the New Century IDA Homeownership Award

  • Someone that has overcome tremendous obstacles and graduated from the IDA program and has purchased their first home
  • Has increased their annual income
  • Maintaining family stability and using credit wisely (cleared up credit report) and still living in their house – (no foreclosure

The recipient of the New Century IDA award

[Written in the voice of her Success Coach, Anthony Wright] This year’s IDA award winner is a graduate from Wave 41 – Ms. Boston. Ms. Boston is a single mother of two children and a school teacher in Winton Salem/Forsyth County. As Ms. Boston’s Success Coach, I was able to witness firsthand her journey to homeownership.

The first thing that stood out to me was her willingness to ask questions and get clarity on the homeownership process. She asked the questions that everybody in the room wanted to know and did not ask and I commend her for this. Budgeting and debt reduction is one of the practices we monitor on a monthly basis and Ms. Boston went above and beyond to establish this.

Another thing that stood out to me was her determination and drive. During one of our meetings she told me that she wants to purchase a home and does not want to wait two years to do it. She was tired of the neighborhood that she was in and wanted a better environment for her children. She believed that she was not living up to the expectations of what she wanted in life and could do better.

Ms. Boston could have gone another route and used her parents to cosign and help her with the purchase of a home, but this is something she wanted to do herself. And she did just that!

Ms. Boston balanced her budget, lowered her debt, raised her credit score 61 points and was the FIRST participant in her class to purchase a home. She did all this WHILE GOING TO GRADUATE SCHOOL, WORKING A FULLTIME JOB, AND RAISING TWO YOUNG CHILDREN, ages 6 and 3.

Congratulations Ms. Boston on your next steps to generational wealth!


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