Jakki and Corvin Davis have learned over the last 14 years of running their organization, D-UP, that sometimes non-profits have to evolve in order to holistically meet the needs of a community. In 2007 when D-UP was founded, the Davis’ had one primary goal: to promote healthier living in their city to combat childhood obesity. They did this primarily by using basketball as a means to teach physical activity and healthy nutrition. But what they soon learned was that D-UP could step in the gap to meet even more of High Point’s needs.
“When D-UP moved to the Washington Street Historic District in High Point during the middle of revitalization in 2011, additional needs were seen, and our program evolved,” says Jakki, co-founder and Executive Director of D-UP. “The move to Washington Street gave us a new purpose and fire not only for youth but for families. We had a vision for a safe and nurturing environment that fosters courage, hope, belief, and pride to live healthier lifestyles.”
The mission of D-UP has expanded tremendously since its inception, now encompassing comprehensive services for children, adults, and families by promoting health, education, and life readiness.
“We do all of this with the goal of maximizing individual life experiences and increasing the economic self-sufficiency of families where they are thriving,” Jakki explains.
On top of the incredible work they are doing to promote these values in the community, Jakki and Corvin are also working closely with organizations and businesses across High Point to see to it that all citizens are given the opportunity to flourish in our revitalizing efforts across the city. We got the behind-the-scenes look at D-UP with Jakki, as well as the inside scoop on what’s next on D-UP’s agenda for their upcoming growth!
Q: Tell us about your organization in 10 words or less:
A. D-UP is a grassroots non-profit organization passionate about families thriving.
Q: Who do you primarily serve with your organization?
A. Youth were the primarily focus of D-UP programs when founded, and the majority of our sixteen programs currently serve youth. However, over the years with recognizing the needs of the community, D-UP now has programs to serve adults and families.
Q: What makes your organization different than others?
A. There are amazing organizations doing incredible things for the High Point community. Our leadership recognized the barriers of our families which included lack of disposable income and transportation. Everything at D-UP is free to participants with high quality of programming, including transportation to and from our center, snacks and meals, field trips, and enrichment activities. These include not only basketball but dance, art, music, and life skills, like sewing, screen printing, and photography.
D-UP also transports youth from their homes to programming and back home. These are valuable opportunities for management, administration, and staff to create lasting relationships with families by building rapport, trust, and listening to their needs. Because of these relationships, families know D-UP is here for the long haul, as consistency is extremely important in the community. No matter what circumstances and situations youth face, they are brilliant and resilient, and we have come to understand by servicing families on Washington Street, parents – regardless of their race or socioeconomic status – want the best for their children. D-UP’s desire is to provide a nurturing and safe environment to impart wisdom and expose children to activities that they may not have the opportunity to do, and to assist parents rearing diverse, cultured, and positive children. We are aware of the challenges our families face with raising children and believe: “It takes a village to raise a child.”
Q: What are the highlights and challenges of operating a non-profit in High Point?
A. We have recognized the needs of our community while also recognizing we are not experts in providing all the services. So we rely on the assistance of others, and the High Point community has not let us down. We have not had a need to advertise our Washington Street Enrichment Program since the first summer program in 2014. We have had a waiting list because of capacity issues; however, thanks to Hayden Harman Foundation (who has supported us since 2011) donating two buildings to us, we now can increase the number of students we serve and no longer have a challenge of meeting the needs of the community.
Q: What has been one of your proudest achievements or biggest highlights from your work?
A. Our proudest achievement was moving to Washington Street community and the ribbon cutting of D-UP’s Washington Street Community Enrichment Center in 2019. We started D-UP as a mobile organization proudly going across the Triad offering services, but we were blessed to have a community that believed in us, invested in our dreams, and was happy about us achieving them. Thanks to the belief of the Hayden Harman Foundation, the Congdon Family Foundation, and hosts of other individuals and organizations, we were able to put our D-UP logo outside of our first brick and mortar.
Q: What success stories can you share from your work?
A. Mariyah and Makiyah joined D-UP in 2011 when they were in the second grade and they are now rising seniors at Penn Griffin High School. They are leaders in the school and at D-UP. They started working a part-time job during COVID with a great work ethic and are excited about attending college next year as first-generation students. They have a younger sister and a nephew who are also D-UP students along with nine cousins. We are impacting families and generations.
Q: How have the citizens and community of High Point supported you?
A. One word from families to partnerships, to collaborations… RELATIONSHIPS! Our families we serve have truly embraced us, and we are grateful for them entrusting their children to us. They consistently support our programs and services. The numerous partnerships and collaborations have been significant in our growth and impact in the city. From monetary donations to volunteers, to in-kind services, these relationships are important to our day-to-day serving of our families.
Q: Where do you see your organization in the next 5 years?
A. Being a catalyst for the economic development and revitalization of Washington Street that was started years ago and identified and adopted by High Point City Council in the 2007 Core City Plan.
Q: What legacy do you want to leave in High Point? How do you want to rewrite the narrative of High Point?
A. Our legacy is to impact generations. We may not serve thousands of individuals yearly, but our focus is on changing the lives and making positive impacts of families to change the narrative of generations and break cycles.
Q: What are you excited about for High Point’s future?
A. We are excited about the growth of High Point. To name a few: the Downtown Catalyst Project, High Point Equity Project, and new City Manager and Police Chief. We are excited for this same growth opportunity in the Washington Street Historic District and to be a part of expediting economic growth and increasing safety to attract others to frequent our beautiful, warm, and cultural community.
Q: How can the reader of High Point Discovered help? Any specific needs that our readers can provide?
A. Our staff has grown over the last two years to meet the programming needs; however, volunteers and community guests’ speakers are important to us. We are a NO FEE-based organization other than special basketball camps and clinics held at other locations in the Triad; therefore, all our programs and services in the Washington Street community are FREE, and we need financial and in-kind services to ensure we continue to provide programs and services with excellence.
Q: How can HPD readers find you online or via social media?
It’s people like Jakki and Corvin who are true changemakers in our city, impacting multi-geographic, multi-generational, and multi-cultural needs in our community! Stay tuned for more information on D-UP, their story, and the tremendous evolution of their services in the High Point community later this year. Until then, consider how you might get involved in supporting or serving with D-UP to see the generational impact in our city.
Discover our High Points,
The HPD Team
Photography by Maria West Photography