Two men who have been friends since middle school banded together recently over their interest in making the community a better place.
David Rodgers and James Shivar became co-workers at Buddy's Home Furnishings and are developing a nonprofit with several goals in mind -- the most immediate being to support teachers.
"So many teachers don't get paid enough and they pay out of pocket for school supplies -- I want that to end this year, along with what Stuff the Bus is doing and what other people in the community are doing. I feel like we can achieve this," Rodgers said.
Rodgers had wanted create a nonprofit for years, which came to fruition earlier this year when he formed The Father In Me, a website and blog site, which he hopes will one day lead to programs supporting and encouraging fathers. Its logo features a headless person, which illustrates his underlying message.
"My daughter asked me one day, 'Why doesn't your logo have a head?'" he said. "I explained to her because there's mothers that are fathers. There are so many single households where mothers are raising kids where they have to play the father."
Not everyone grows up with that father or father figure, Shivar added. He said he'd like to eventually offer programs teaching men to be fathers and then supporting them however they can.
He is dad to three children, including two teenage daughters and a 6-year-old son with autism.
The latter prompted him and his wife, Sabrina, to form a nonprofit support effort years ago, Ourhavenofhope.com, for parents of children with autism, or special needs in general.
Rodgers, now the father of two daughters, ages 14 and 16, said his motivation stems from the loss of a third.
"When I was 19, I had a daughter that passed away," he said. "I have a big passion when it comes to kids."
The men say they have a lot of plans for the future, all under the premise of aiding wherever they can.
Their imminent goal is helping out local educators, in a donation drive they call Operation 500.
"Operation 500 is pretty much a mission that we have right now. We're kind of doing it jointly," Shivar said.
The effort is to collect 500 book bags for children -- 250 for Wayne County and 250 for Wilson County.
Donations of school supplies are also appreciated.
"Crayons, notebooks, scissors -- we know the teachers are going to come later with more specific lists," Shivar said, noting that they are targeting more in the area of elementary and middle schools.
"Hopefully, our plan next year is to do more."
"We don't want to be your typical nonprofit," Rodgers added, mentioning a recent drawing it sponsored with a 58-inch TV as the prize. There are also efforts in the works for coat drives and food drives later in the year.
"This is only the beginning. We plan to do much more," he said.
Shivar said he hopes they can not only forge partnerships in the community with organizations in need, but other nonprofits as well.
A lot of times, he explained, businesses may not work together. That could change, though, he said.
"To us, being a nonprofit is not a competition," Shivar said. "We really want to assist and push other nonprofits out there, like we're encouraging each other. That's another goal of ours."
Drop-off locations around the county include Silver Spur on A Street, Studio 33, Security Mini Storage, Hometown Sheds, Elite Athletics, Dancing Butterfly, Double D's, Wood Cycles, Flying Shamrock, Elks Lodge No. 139, HabitTats, Saloon Sei Bella and the Goldsboro, Mount Olive and Stantonsburg police departments.
Monetary donations can also be made on the website, thefatherinme.org.