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ACSC to highlight local nonprofit organizations

By Kristy Kepley-Steward, 04/30/22, 9:00AM HST


The Asheville City Soccer Club is excited to announce a new campaign for the 2022 season, recognizing some of the most influential nonprofit organizations within western North Carolina. 

As part of our community foundation, we would like to celebrate their success and support them and the work they do within the region. 

Prior to each home game this season, ACSC will highlight local non-profit organizations which will then be in attendance at the next home game to celebrate their success and accomplishments in making Asheville a better place to live, work and play. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC
May 6 
Men vs. NC Fusion | 7:30pm at Memorial Stadium 

For 40 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been providing caring, dedicated mentors to the youth of Western North Carolina. The organization strives to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships, helping young people develop self-confidence, decision making skills, evolve future aspirations and avoid risky behaviors. 

In 2022, the organization aims to recruit new members with a goal of matching at least 60 adolescents with Bigs, as mentors are called, in Buncombe County alone. 

The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on both emotions and volunteer opportunities and the organization is hoping to rebound to serve more local children and communities. 

Being a Big only requires several hours of time twice a month and can make a lifetime of difference. 

For more information or to get involved, click here

WNC Nature Center and Street Creature
May 20 
Men vs. Dalton Red Wolves SC | 5pm at Memorial Stadium 
Women vs. North Carolina Fusion | 7:30pm at Memorial Stadium

WNC Nature Center

The Western North Carolina Nature Center is a 42-acre zoological park operated by the City of Asheville’s Parks and Recreation department. Home to 60 species of wild and domestic animals and hundreds of species of plants, the WNC Nature Center offers children and adults the opportunity to learn about and develop an understanding of their responsibility for the area’s native wildlife and habitats. 

In 2022, Asheville City Soccer Club entered a multi-year partnership with the WNC Nature Center to help raise awareness and help visitors understand their part in protecting the native hellbender. The endangered amphibians thrive in pristine Appalachian rivers, living and surviving under river stones. In recent years, a viral trend of stacking rocks and posting them on social media has negatively impacted the hellbender habitat. 

As part of the partnership between ACSC and the WNC Nature Center, a special t-shirt will be sold this season with the proceeds going to help the Nature Center in their quest to raise awareness and care for hellbenders.  

For more information on the partnership, click here. 

For more information on the Western North Carolina Nature Center, click here.

Street Creatures

The Street Creature Puppet Collective is a group of puppeteers, artists, performers, musicians and tinkerers based in the mountains of Western North Carolina.  

The organization works in the traditional territory of the Cherokee (Tsalagi) people and honor them with gratitude for their stewardship of the land for countless generations.

Founded in 2012, the organization makes puppets and pageants for parades and festivals including LEAF Global Arts, the Asheville Holiday Parade and Asheville Mardi Gras. 

Additionally, they host work parties, workshops and visiting artists, as well as field trips, school visits and performances for families. 

The group supports and collaborates with other performing arts groups in town, including Brass Your Heart Band, Asheville 2nd Line Marching Band, Daydreamz Theater, the Magnetic Theater and Asheville Creative Arts.

For more information or to get involved, click here. 

Youth Environment Leadership Program / Young Conservationist
June 6 
Men vs. South Georgia Tormenta FC 2 | 7:30pm at Memorial Stadium

Founded back in 2014, GreenWorks’ Youth Environmental Leadership Program, also known as YELP, is an eight-week paid internship program for local youth of color in Buncombe County. 

YELP helps develop life skills and provides knowledge and practical experience to be for individuals in our community to be successful in making informed decisions concerning the natural environment and our place in the world. 

Since its formation, YELP has evolved into a youth-led program, with program alumni returning to take on leadership roles and being highly sought after by environmental organizations and college programs.​

Interns work in the field locally in the City of Asheville and Buncombe County, completing environmental service work, learning from experts, and developing their own group initiatives.  The interns complete work at Great Smoky Mountains National Park two days a week throughout the internship.  As part of their work they learn to canoe and kayak, camp, hiking etiquette, and nonviolent communication skills.  Interns are given training in life skills and outdoor work as well as outdoor adventure.  We are serving this community because we are aware of the need to build understanding and action among residents around the environmental issues in their communities, provide paid employment experiences to youth, and introduce young people to career pathways in the environmental field. 

If you are interested in learning more about the program or to get involved, click here. 

Asheville Writers in the Schools and Community
June 8
Women vs. NC Courage U23 | 7:30pm at Memorial Stadium 

Asheville Writers in the Schools and Community is a North Carolina-based nonprofit organization that ignites social change through the power of the arts, culture, and restorative self-expression.

The organization aims to amplify the voices and create a support system for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities in Asheville by providing free arts and cultural programming.  Founded in 2011, the organization provides youth and adults with opportunities to voice their experiences and their passions, through innovative arts and creative placemaking activities. 

One of their most impactful programs is Word on the Street/Voces de les Jovenes which began in 2016 as a youth program that centers the leadership and creativity of black and brown youth, ages 13-19.

For more information or to get involved, click here. 

Campaign for Southern Equality
June 11
Women vs. Wake FC | 5pm at Memorial Stadium 
Men vs. East Atlanta FC | 7:30pm at Memorial Stadium 

The Campaign for Southern Equality, or CSE, works across the region to promote full LGBTQ equality. According to the organization, more than one third of all LGBTQ Americans live in the South. Yet, across the region, LGBTQ people lack basic legal protections, face robust opposition to their rights and have limited resources for advocacy and direct services. 

In this region alone, LEBTQ people are also at an elevated risk of poverty and health disparities. 

The community meets every definition of political powerlessness, evidenced most recently by the wave of anti-LGBTQ bills sweeping the South and by a lack of elected representation in local, state and federal offices. 

While funding to the LGBTQ South is increasing (it has grown from less than 8% to 25% in recent years), the majority goes to large metro areas and large organizations. At the same time, LGBTQ Southerners live each day with courage and strength and grassroots organizers across the region are doing heroic work to create equality. 

For more information or to get involved with the cause, click here. 

ASPCA Behavioral Health
June 21 
Women vs. Charlotte Independence | 5pm at Memorial Stadium 
Men vs. One Knoxville SC | 7:30pm at Memorial Stadium 

The ASPCA’s Behavioral Rehabilitation Center applies behavioral and medical expertise to rehabilitate dogs with behaviors that impact their adoptability and quality of life. Experts work with dogs who are so fearful that they cannot be placed in homes or be companion animals. The organization has an 86% success rate in rehabilitating and placing these dogs in homes where both the dog and the adopter have a good quality of life. 

The ASPCA provides employment for around 30 team members, providing volunteer roles for community members interested in animal welfare. They work to support local animal welfare agencies and strive to place wonderful dogs into the Asheville community.  

The ASPCA is the only facility dedicated to this work in the country. Eligible dogs from around the country visit this facility and graduate into loving homes. 

With the organization's Learning Lab department, they are able to share the tools and process with other shelters so they too can help dogs with behavior challenges.

The organization hopes to continue to strengthen the program, our relationships and the support of the shelters that place graduates of their program. They also hope to grow our network of foster families and adopters in the Asheville community.

For more information or to get involved, click here. 

WNC Bridge Foundation
July 6
Men vs. South Carolina United FC | 7:30pm at Memorial Stadium 

WNC Bridge Foundation focuses on expanding access for those in need through local partnerships. The community-based charity organization works to provide funds to support and assist in meeting the health challenges that the local community faces. 

The WNC Bridge Foundation raises funds to support programs that connect individuals in the community with essential resources. Unlike our grants, which are funded through endowment investments, our 5 Community Initiatives rely on the generous support of individuals who donate money and support our fundraising efforts. 

Every cent donated to WNC Bridge Foundation goes directly to support community initiatives. Those initiatives include Rathbun House, You’re Special Fund, WNC Greatest Needs Fun, Health Scholarships and Children Services. 

Through their work, the WNC Bridge Foundation serves a total of 18 countries throughout the region. 

In 2022, they aim to expand the reach of their philanthropic impact throughout the region in the counties they serve. Their hope is that by increasing their outreach and community awareness outside of Buncombe County, they will begin to bridge the gap between those in need and access to equitable healthcare for families and individuals in more rural parts of the region.

For more information or to get involved, click here. 

Bloom Fitness
July 9 
Women vs. North Carolina Fusion | 5pm at Memorial Stadium
Men vs. Tennessee SC | 7:30pm at Memorial Stadium

Bloom Fitness is a program specifically designed to motivate adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to engage in a lifetime of fitness and community involvement. Bloom offers classes in Pilates, strength, yoga, indoor cycle, chair and dance through live classes, videos and online services called BloomLive! 

Bloom’s mission is to lead adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to a lifetime of community-based health and wellness. 

Bloom works to bring wellness to a population that does not have access to fitness and/or wellness programs with hopes of helping them create a healthier lifestyle. 

Their goal is to have 1500 Bloom athletes in the program by the end of 2022.

For more information on how to get involved or on how to donate, click here. 

Founded in 2016, ACSC was created as a way to help local players pursue their dreams and grow the game while using soccer as a way to give back to the community. Asheville City’s women’s and men’s teams will return to play in the summer of 2022.

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