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Cathy Sheafor is starting a tuition-free private school for underserved and marginalized girls. Enlarge Cathy Sheafor is starting a tuition-free private school for underserved and marginalized girls.
Aleigh Acerni Posted: January 4th, 2010 Aleigh Acerni

Crossroads Charlotte occasionally spotlights individuals who are improving the city's social capital.

A belief that education is the key to ending poverty in our community – and our country – led Cathy Sheafor to take action. She’s the founder and vision-keeper of Charlotte Community School for Girls, which will welcome its first class of fifth-graders in August. The tuition-free private school will offer a college prep curriculum for under-served and marginalized middle schoolers. Each student will get a laptop, mentor opportunities, community-building experiences and an experiential approach to learning.

“We want to challenge girls to think, question and create in meaningful ways,” writes Sheafor on the organization’s web site. Above all, She hopes students will make their community more vibrant — and that they will value their experiences so much that they will return as tutors and volunteers.

Why she does what she does? “Well, I’ve dreamt about this school forever. I believe all children can achieve. I guess for me, it was just a willingness to say ‘OK, now’s the time, and I’m going to make this happen, and I can make it happen.’ ”

What's next? Charlotte Community School for Girls' goal is to raise $300,000 by July 1 so that they can open their doors Aug. 18. They’re looking for volunteers to serve as mentors and tutors, and they’re seeking community supporters who have skills to share with students. Volunteer and donation information is on the organization’s web site.

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