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The North Carolina Peace Corps Association

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2022 North Carolina Peace Prize

H.E.A.R.T.S. Awarded North Carolina Peace Prize

North Carolina Peace Corps Association will hold ceremony on May 1 to honor the Durham nonprofit for its work assisting adolescent parents and their children



The North Carolina Peace Corps Association (NCPCA) has awarded its annual North Carolina Peace Prize to H.E.A.R.T.S., a Durham nonprofit organization that assists adolescent parents and their children.


Helping Each Adolescent Reach Their Spark (H.E.A.R.T.S.) works with parents as young as 13 to become more self-sufficient and gain equitable access to available resources and services. Since its inception in 2012, it has served more than 100 Black and Latinx pregnant and parenting teenagers.


“Our mission is to make sure young parents’ needs are being met, removing barriers and challenges,” said Tameka Brown, the organization’s founder and executive director. “We provide all participants with the same opportunity and access to youth experiences as teenagers and young adults who are not in the same situations.”


NCPCA will honor H.E.A.R.T.S. with its North Carolina Peace Prize at a ceremony at 3 p.m. May 1 at Pullen Memorial Church in Raleigh. 


The prize includes a $1,000 check and a hand-thrown vase from a North Carolina-based artist. Established in 1998, the annual award recognizes a community-based, nonprofit organization. A group of NCPCA judges, all former Peace Corps Volunteers living in the Triangle, selects an applicant that exemplifies the Peace Corps values of public awareness, education, cross-cultural understanding and community service. (A list of previous awardees is at


“We are honored to receive this award, which we hope will call attention to the more than 8,000 adolescent parents who currently reside in North Carolina,” Brown said. “Durham’s repeat teen pregnancy rate is 23 percent, and the city is ranked number 43 in the state. Only 38 percent of teen moms receive a high school diploma.”


Brown said H.E.A.R.T.S. will use the prize money to provide selected young parents with small scholarships for post-secondary education, along with clothing for the “LoveBug Children’s Closet” and materials for program participants.


“We were inspired by how H.E.A.R.T.S. is changing the lives of young people in our community who are often overlooked and underserved,” said NCPCA President Thomas Phillips. “It works closely with a small group of young parents every year, helping them to believe in themselves, overcome obstacles and pursue a better future, while also helping their young families and working to reduce teen pregnancy.”


H.E.A.R.T.S. teaches adolescent parents “how to deal with being a young mother, how to cope with depression, how to deal with insecurities, and how to care for yourself and your children when nobody else will,” one former participant, now a nursing student, wrote in a letter supporting the organization’s application. “Although many people see teen mothers as less than equal or too incompetent to accomplish great things, Ms. Brown continuously reassures us that we can do all things in faith because we are great and one day our greatness could change the world.”


Additional information about H.E.A.R.T.S. is available on its website, NCPA’s site is at



What We Do

The North Carolina Peace Corps Association (NCPCA) is dedicated to promoting the Third Goal of the Peace Corps, building group spirit and cooperation, promoting service, and serving as an example to others. This group of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and friends aspires to these goals by promoting public awareness, education, and support for the Peace Corps. The North Carolina Peace Corps Association is an affiliate member of the National Peace Corps Association. The group has a Steering Committee that meets bi-monthly to handle the business of the organization, and you can see those members on the Steering Committee Page.


NCPCA provides you with a community of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers in North Carolina. 

Get Involved

We have monthly and on-going volunteering opportunities. 

Have Fun

Fall Family Cookout, Members Holiday Party, Book Club, and Monthly Happy Hours provide an opportunity for fun. 

Calendar of Events

Connect with the Peace Corps community at these upcoming events! 


In spite of COVID-19, we've been busy this year:

We celebrated Peace Corps week at the end of the winter.

We awarded our annual NC Peace Prize to ISLA. View the 2021 virtual Peace Prize ceremony here

We have plenty more scheduled; stay up to date by visiting our Activities and Events calendar!

Become a Member

Join North Carolina Peace Corps Association to stay connected and support Peace Corps community initiatives! 

Looking for Peace Corps logo merchandise?

Visit the National Peace Corps Association's online store! 



We are an affiliate of the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA).

NPCA is the nonprofit alumni network at the center of a vibrant community of over 220,000 people who share the Peace Corps experience. NPCA champions lifelong commitment to Peace Corps ideals by connecting, engaging and promoting its members and affiliate groups as they continue to make a difference in communities in the U.S. and abroad. NPCA is also dedicated to advocating for, contributing to, and supporting the betterment of the Peace Corps. Visit NPCA to learn more