Poe’s History

Poe Center History

1980 Inaugural meeting on January 10th.

1981 Exploration of funding begins.

1982 Commitment from Museum of Natural Sciences to provide space and time for a “seed exhibit.”

1983 Funding approved from the Wake County Medical Society Auxiliary.

Center endorsed by Wake County Medical Society.

1984 Funding received from Wake County delegation of the North Carolina Legislature.

Opening of “seed exhibit” September 27th.

Executive Committee formed with six officers: Faye Miller and Dianna Burroughs, Co-Chairs; Charles Wood and Barbara Page, Advisors; Mary Rendleman, Secretary; and Eloise Cofer, Treasurer.

1985 Decision made by Health Education Center on May 6th to become a separate organization with its own governing board and membership.

By-laws and Articles of Incorporation set on November 22nd, making it the Center for Health Education, Inc.

1986 Board of Directors expands on February 3rd with 10 new members.

Helen Majors becomes first full-term President on May 5th after the incorporation.

1987 Jean Poe Smith and her niece, Jean Poe Martin, meet with Helen Majors in May regarding the property/potential site for the health education facility.

Decision was made by the Executive Committee that a completely separate, freestanding facility was critical to the success of the Center for Health Education, Inc.

On October 12th, the first office opened at Project Enlightenment, On October 30th, the “seed exhibit” at the Museum of Natural Sciences closes.

1988 Land from Jean Poe Smith and her husband, Gordon Smith, Jr., was deeded to the Center for Health Education, Inc. on January 19th.

The Center moved to a new office at 7700 Six Forks Road in Raleigh and held their first Annual Meeting on May 10th.

Unfortunately, due to the extensive damages caused by a tornado, the Center once again relocated to Bullard Court on December 6th.

1989 Medical Campaign, led by Dr. Vartan Davidian and Dr. Blake Garside, launched with a pledge from Raleigh Plastic Surgery.

On June 20th, the Center was officially named the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education, with Dr. Thomas B. Dameron, Jr. being named chairman of the Campaign Steering Committee.

1990 Actor Louis Gossett, Jr. helped kick off the Three Million Dollar Campaign Event.

On May 21st, the first Distinguished Service Award was given to Faye L. Miller. The award now bears her name and is awarded annually.

1991 Executive Director, Pa to Jean Poe Smith and Gordon Smith, Jr. for the land that is to become the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education’s home.

The Poe Center’s new facility opens on November 21st and welcomes their first ever field trip! Seventy students from Sampson Middle School christen the new Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education facility.

1992 Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust awards $120,000 for the Poe Center’s Health Educators.

Gordon Smith Award established to perpetuate the Gordon Smith Jr. legacy.

Antique Show to benefit the Poe Center established.

1993 Governor Hunt dedicates the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education to the people of North Carolina.

The Poe Center receives a $260,000 federal grant and a pledge from WakeMed Health & Hospitals to provide building and grounds maintenance.

1994 The Poe Center’s curriculum now offers 26 different health education programs.

Annual Campaign to raise $100,000 begins.

1995 Burroughs awards $24,150 teacher development grant for in-depth health education for middle and high school teachers.

Antique Show raises $66,500 and the Rotary Golf Tournament raises $10,000 for the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education.

1996 New Executive Director, Pam Kohl, hired.

1997 23,000 students attend programs at the Poe Center through new contracts with Wake County Public Schools, Orange County Public Schools and Think First Foundation.

1998 Over 40,000 participants from 57 counties attend the Poe Center’s programs.

New breast health program created through Susan B. Komen of the Triangle grant.

1999 Dr. Henry Zaytoun, Jr. becomes Committee Chair of the “Bring Health to Life!” capital campaign, which raises $2.4 million dollars.

The Poe Center is asked to coordinate the NC Five A Day Nutrition Challenge – a statewide initiative.

Smart Start of Wake County funds Sherriff Tuffy Tooth, an outreach teaching model designed to enhance the learning experience of preschool age students about dental health.

2000 The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education teams with Duke Health Raleigh Hospital and the Fenwick Foundation to create “RAH – for Rolesville”.

May 23rd Annual meeting features keynote speakers including Dean E. Smith and Samuel L. Katz, MD speaking on the New Comprehensive Statewide Plan for Child Health in North Carolina.

2001 Thanks to State Representative Edd Nye’s leadership and the support of the General Assembly the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education receives state funding.

First Ready, Set…Poe! Sunset 5K and Family Festival is held at Cameron Village.

Governor Hunt & Carmen Hooker Odom speak at Annual Meeting.

With financial support from Rex Healthcare, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Wake County Smart Start, Duke Endowment and Cannon Foundation the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education launches the Cranium Connection.

2002 The Cranium Connection officially premiered at the Cerebral Soiree Under the Skull with a ribbon cutting by Lt. Governor Beverly Perdue.

Web sites “poehealth.org” and “healthyteachers.org” are launched.

2003 Annual meeting features speaker Commander Penny Royall of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.

Ground breaking ceremony for new playground is held.

2004 WakeMed’s Playwell Park at Poe is opened with a three day celebration.

New CEO for the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education is hired- Sheila Ryba.

New Mission and Vision Statements adopted by Board of Directors for the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education.

New logo created to reflect the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education’s new mission and vision.

2005 Interior paint and carpet, Teaching Theaters, and website all updated.

Legislative Reception held at the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education.

2006 The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education provided health education to 59,487 participants this year.

Since opening, The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education has provided programming to over 675,000 participants in 62 counties across North Carolina.

The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education taught offsite programs to 14,322 students in schools and communities across the State this year.

Admissions increased 40% over last year.

The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education’s operating budget for the fiscal year ’07 is $1.2 million.

Management and development expenses use approximately 18% of the operating budget.

The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education receives $150,000 from the Governor’s Recurring Budget each year. It is approximately 1/8 of the operating budget.

The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education is debt free and owns the building in which it operates.

$0.87 from every $1.00 goes directly to programming.

The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education saw students from two new counties this year: Stanly and Hyde Counties.

Four week long day camps took place during the Summer of 2006 for the first time.

The Wholesome Routines program was designed and implemented. It is the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education’s first comprehensive, school and research based, continuous nutrition and physical activity education program.

Staff has doubled in the last two years to 13 full time staff members and 13 part time staff members.

A partnership was established with the North Carolina PTA and NC Healthy Schools.

Harnett County signed a new schools contract with the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education.

2007 The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education was named the Most Outstanding Nonprofit Organization of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Triangle Chapter. Participants increased to over 72,480; an increase over last year of almost 13,000.

The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education began designing its second comprehensive, school and research based program that will deliver alcohol and substance abuse prevention to middle schools students. The program will begin in four Wake County schools with funding from the Wake County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education hired a full time, bilingual educator and began converting its entire curriculum into Spanish. Eight programs were delivered in Spanish during the 2006-2007 school year.

During the summer of 2007, eight week-long summer camps took place at the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education; twice as many as the previous year. For the second year, the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education established a contract with the North Carolina Department of Social Services to provide free nutrition and physical activity programs to qualifying schools.

Poe Center CEO, Sheila Ryba, resigns after three years in the position due to a promotion received by her husband that required the family move to Tennessee. The Board of Directors appointed Kim Raynor, Poe Center Vice President of Business Development, Interim CEO as they conduct an executive search.

2008 The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education received a $25,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation to improve the use of technology in educating North Carolina Youth. Cargill donated $30,000 to the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education towards purchasing two vans to move equipment and materials to the center’s offsite programs for over 19,000 youth in preschool-12th grade annually.

Kim Raynor, Poe Center Vice President of Business Development, won a Triangle Business Journal Women in Business Award for Nonprofit Leadership for her dedication to the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education as Interim Chief Executive Officer during an eight month CEO search. Pam Highsmith joined the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education as Chief Executive Officer on March 27, 2008.

The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education hosted the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation commission to Build a Healthier America in June 2008. The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education and several Triangle agencies participated in a round table discussion about health issues facing America’s youth with experts from across the United States.

The Eagle Award was presented to the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education by the North Carolina Alliance for Healthy Communities. The award recognizes a corporation, organization or individual that exemplifies innovative programs that improve the health of North Carolina communities.

Drugs Uncovered: What parents need to know! launched in February 2008 as the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education’s first program for adults. The program educates adults on current drug trends, signs of substance use and abuse and how to talk to children about drugs and alcohol.

The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education renewed its contract with the North Carolina Department of Social Services that funded free nutrition and physical activity programs for schools and organizations with at least 50% of students are enrolled in the Free and Reduced School Lunch Program.

2009 The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education was awarded a grant from the North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund to provide Tobacco. Reality. Unfiltered (TRU) leadership and support in Wake County.

Duke Raleigh Hospital received a 2009 AHA NOVA Award, which honors local partnerships that improve community health. The hospital was recognized for two of its health education programs “Really Awesome Health (RAH) for Rolesville Elementary School and Wholesome Routines. RAH, a model program for the larger initiative Wholesome Routines, was established in 2000 by a collaboration between Duke Raleigh Hospital, the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education and Rolesville Elementary School.

BlueCross BlueShield awarded the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education with a $12,000 capacity grant to conduct an organizational assessment leading to a strategic business and sustainability plan to expand capacity to improve the lives of youth through health education.

2010 Less Fork More Foot 5k Race & Fun Run held on April 11, 2010 to benefit the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education. More than 160 runners and walkers registered for the 5K held on the campus of Meredith College.

The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education hosted a group of professionals from Tatarstan, Russia on December 14 as part of the United States Agency for International Development’s Community Connections program.

WEB DuBois Community Development Corporation contracted with the Poe Center to provide services to families enrolled in your Community Services Block Grant. The Poe Center provided WEB Dubois space rental and health education classes for all ages.

Pam Highsmith, CEO, resigned in April 2010.  The Poe BOD contracted the services of Ann Rollins in May 2010 as the CEO.

Grace Edwards Aycock Nelson bequeathed more than $88,000 to the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education in her will.

2011 Dr. Robert P. and Helen Majors donated $25,000 to the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education that helped the Poe Center update TAM in the General Health Theater as well as replace the benches in PlayWELL park.

The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education named Ann Rollins executive director. Ann had served as interim executive director of the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education since May 2010.

In September 2011, the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education celebrated 20 years of providing quality health education in North Carolina.

On September 11th the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education’s Executive Director, Ann Rollins, was joined by members of the community for the National Day of Service at the Poe Center’s PlayWELL Park to begin the planting of vegetables and seeds in the Poe Center’s new POE and Grow Garden.

The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education added new programs including “Food Friends,” a preschool nutrition program; “Parents Matter!,” five sessions designed to teach parents the skills to effectively communicate with children about sexual health; “Don’t Stand By: Be a H.E.R.O.,” a class on bullying prevention geared toward 4th and 5th grade students; and “Healthy POEtential,” a 4-week series that consists of one hour sessions covering a variety of nutrition topics.

The Teen Health Advisory Council was founded in November 2011 as an initiative to positively impact the health of Wake County residents. The mission: to construct healthier and more equitable Wake County policies, programs and organizations.

2012 The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education provided health education to 36,766 participants in 2011-12.

The following counties contracted with the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education to provide health education programming in their communities: Bertie, Greene, Halifax and Lee.

In August 2012, the John Rex Endowment awarded the Poe Center about $36,000 to improve PlayWELL Park for the community. Funds allowed the Poe Center to partner with Wake County Human Services to extend park hours, offer park events and update equipment. The PlayWELL Park hours were extended to be open on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays.

The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education launched a six-part series of nutrition and physical activity-focused programs for the Kinship in Action (KIA)-Raleigh Group in September 2012.

The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education added the interactive exhibit Seymour Poe.

Replaced our roof and HVAC unit.

Dr. Robert P. and Helen Majors donated their life insurance policy valued at more than $60,000 in honor of Helen (and Faye Miller) to the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education.

2013 Faye Lee Miller, one of Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education’s founding patrons, passed away on Tuesday, January 22, 2013.  Faye was instrumental in the building of the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education’s Sunnybrook Road facility in Raleigh. The Poe Center established the annual Faye L. Miller Service Award to honor Faye’s commitment to the health and well-being of North Carolina children, youth and their families.

The Poe Center collaborated with the Town of Zebulon, the Zebulon Boys & Girls Club and the Rival Skateboard Team to put on “Passport to Party,” a middle school dance and health fair at the Zebulon Community Center. The dance was concurrent with “Drugs Uncovered” programming for parents.

The Poe Center sponsored, Teen Health Advisory Council researched and promoted smoke-free parks in Wake County.

The Media Smart Youth was launched to help rising 6th through 8th grade students become aware of – and think critically about – how the media can affect their nutrition and physical activity choices.

The Poe Young Professional Network hosted its first cocktail and silent auction event in February 2013 with great success.

The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education launched Bully Free Friends: Everyone’s a Star – a bully prevention puppet program targeted to PreK-2nd Grade and Decisions…Decisions…(ideal for 4th-5th Grade) designed to help kids with everyday situations by teaching a decision making framework for dealing with stress, conflict, and peer pressure.

The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education led a drug prevention campaign and updated the “It’s All About Me” program with funding from the AMA Foundation.

In partnership with Moe’s Southwest Grill of the Triangle, the Poe Center provided nutrition education in Triangle Moe’s locations and offered two $500 grants for elementary school gardens.

Working with Executive Service Corps, the Board of Directors developed a strategic plan through 2017 for the Poe Center.

About 50 Cisco RTP employees volunteered their time at the Poe Center, marking one of our largest volunteer groups on record.

Every Wednesday during summer 2013, WakeMed’s PlayWELL Park hosted Wake County Public School System’s first ‘open feeding site’ as a part of the Summer Food Service Program. Kids under 18 received free lunches.

2014 In May, 2014, the Poe Center served its one millionth North Carolinian since opening our doors in 1991! Poe educated children in six new counties this year.

The Poe Center acquired a contract with Alliance Behavioral Healthcare to provide intensive, small group substance abuse prevention education to at-risk youth in Wake County.

The Poe Center implemented a new evaluation standard, following up with participants six weeks after program delivery. Students are asked what they remember from the program and if they made any changes in their behavior to measure Poe’s impact on knowledge retention and behavior modification.

The Poe Center hosted the Summer Food Service Program on WakeMed’s PlayWELL Park at Poe every Wednesday during the summer months with an average attendance of 120 children.

The Poe Center’s Nutrition Team created a social marketing campaign to encourage residents of Bladen, Columbus, Halifax, Sampson, Wake and Warren Counties to “Move More!” using advertisements on Facebook, television and radio.

2015 Through a grant from the Susan G. Komen NC Triangle to Coast, the Poe Center employed a lay educator model to increase women’s knowledge about breast health awareness and screening referrals in Halifax County. This project has served more than 800 women!

In July of 2015, the Poe Center partnered with Wake County Public School System Child Nutrition Services and the Carolina Panthers to bring the Play 60 football Camp and free lunch to over 200 children at Enloe High School.

TRU Youth Leaders visited and educated 22 tobacco merchants, logging 246 hours of tobacco efforts in Wake County. The TRU (Tobacco Reality Unfiltered) program encourages high school students to educate themselves and others within the community about tobacco and nicotine use issues and risks.

With a grant from the National PTA to the Wake County PTA Council and additional funding from our SNAP-Ed grant, the Poe Center delivered our Energy Balance (EB) series and events with preschoolers and their families. Additionally, the Poe Center serves as the backbone organization for the EB Coalition that was created a year ago.

The Substance Abuse Prevention Team was recognized for program success and organization excellence with a 100% on their annual program audit from the NC Department of Health and Human Services, securing continued funding.

Lead Empower Achieve with Poe, a Substance Abuse Prevention series, is committed to enhancing leadership skills and empowering youth to achieve positive outcomes at school, at home, and in their community. 216 youth have graduated from this program!

The Poe Center reinstated its NCSU Field Education Program and continues its Duke Nursing Program to allow college students to engage in hands-on experience in health education.

The Poe Center implemented a new 6-week series of cooking classes called Cooking Matters at Fort Bragg. The nationally recognized curriculum helps families to get the most nutrition out of limited budgets. The Poe Center celebrated the conclusion of our successful four year Teen Outreach Program, focused on pregnancy prevention in Halifax County.

The Poe Center developed a new high school program, Science of Addiction, with increased focus on science, technology, engineering, and math surrounding addiction in AP Psychology classes around the state.

The Poe Center introduced a new Family Life program series for middle and high school students, which can be delivered as a series or individual programs. New programs include Myth Busters, Healthy Relationships 101, Changing Lanes and Puberty Detectives.

The Poe Center’s Substance Abuse Prevention Team developed and began offering #YouthCulture to empower parents and guardians by providing insight into the environment and culture surrounding youth.

The Poe Center’s Teen Health Advisory Council increased collaboration with the Department of Public Instruction’s 2015 Student Leadership Institute at Pfeiffer University’s Misenheimer campus focused on leadership through healthy relationships.

The Poe Young Professionals hosted their third annual cocktail and silent auction fundraiser, “Poe Rodeo,” in February of 2015. Since their first fundraising event in 2013, the network has raised more than $50,000 to support the Poe Center!

With a generous donation from Dr. Durgesh Kudchadkar, a former staff member and now pediatric dentist, the Poe Center upgraded the Dental Theater technology to better serve our participants with engaging and interactive displays.