Art Trunkfield and Navante Johnson


opendoors-3050+copy-2285018255-OLisa Whittenburg, mother to Jyquwan Boyd, 21, Navante Johnson, 12 and Jaheim and Cynthia, both fourth graders, sees her relationship with OpenDoors as a joint effort. “OpenDoors is helping me break the poverty chain for my kids so they have hope for a better future – we’re breaking a generational curse and to me, this is what community means. OpenDoors has impacted my dreams for my kids so much. It all started when Paige Sergeant was Navante’s reading buddy at Vance Elementary. When Paige’s schedule wouldn’t allow this anymore, her dad, Art Trunkfield, started working with him. They developed a really tight bond, and we got to know the whole family when Art invited us to a picnic at his lake house in Morganton. The kids swam and played together – we really felt included.”

Whittenburg’s family began their formal relationship with OpenDoors about a year ago through Art’s other daughter Courtney. Lisa cites an example of how OpenDoors partnered with her to obtain specialized and costly academic testing from community partner and owner of the Academic Assessment Center, Nicole Baker, in an effort to pinpoint his learning challenges. This led to his diagnosis of a type of dyslexia and with that, Navante’s family, teachers and OpenDoors support network set about creating a plan to help him. “After the testing, it was such a relief to know what we were dealing with,” Whittenburg shares. The advocacy that OpenDoors provided proved key for her, and she continues: “I was amazed that Jen and Art came with me to meetings with school administrators and teachers – they helped me express my wants and needs for my kids. Navante has done so well in such a short time; without OpenDoors, I don’t believe he would have made this progress. They also looked at my whole family, asked what we needed and they’ve helped me with all of them.”