Young Professionals make the New Year bright for children, adults

Jan 02, 2013

The recent holiday season the outpouring and generosity exhibited by the Young Professionals of Haywood County awed everyone.

“We thought we would be able to help one family, maybe two, but the outpouring from everyone has been overwhelming, said Katy Gould, from the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce.

The Young Professionals of Haywood County partnered with Barium Springs to provide Christmas gifts to a grandmother who has legal custody of her grandchildren in Haywood County. They learned that “grandma” struggled in a very real way. She loved her grandchildren so much that she became their mother, but she had challenges every month that she barely met. Between her kids’ medical bills and the cost of raising two children, her Social Security check barely covers it all.

The family is supported through Barium Springs’ Post Adopt program. A program designed to continue to offer support services to families after an adoption is completed. These services are offered at no cost to the participants. “Our post adopt program is a way to ensure that forever families actually do last forever. All the pain and suffering a child faced prior to adoption doesn’t heal itself with adoption,” explains Adoption Services Director, Carrie Lauterbach

“The grandmother that I work with who adopted her two grandchildren was so thankful,” said Ron Stier, Adoption Plus coordinator. “She had only a small gift for each of her grandchildren and wanted to give more but was not able. What was a real answer to prayer was the infrared heater. Her trailer home is heated with oil [and she] never has enough money to pay to keep purchasing the oil. Now they can have consistent heat. She was in tears.”

The generosity of the Young Professionals of Haywood County didn’t stop with one family, in total they helped 21 individuals and had an impact on two programs — Foster Care and Hawthorn Heights (the runaway/emergency teen shelter for the Seven Western Counties).  Their impact was felt by 71 individuals plus multiple staff.

The Young Professionals of Haywood County is a division of the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce. It is made up of Haywood County professionals aged 21 to 40. Its mission is to engage Young Professionals through the core values of professional development, networking and community service to make Haywood County a better place to live, work and play. Visit

Barium Springs is a nonprofit agency serving 41 counties in N.C., including the Western North Carolina area. Its main objectives in WNC are to heal the hurt for children and teens who have been abused, neglected or who are troubled; provide a safe home through Hawthorn Heights, a runaway/emergency teen shelter that serves the seven western counties, and encourage a healthy start through intervention and prevention services. In 2012, Barium Springs served 750 individuals, families, and children in Western North Carolina. Visit or call Autumn Weil at 231-5413 to learn more about ways to partner with Barium Springs.

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