Community Spotlight: LINC, Inc. continues turning setbacks into comebacks after 20 years

Updated: Feb. 13, 2020 at 7:55 AM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Twenty years of changing lives. Leading Into New Communities, better known as LINC, celebrates two decades of providing resources to turn lives around.

The Wilmington non-profit provides supportive services and programs for people getting out of prison. The Youth Development Program, called L.I.T.E. Manhood, serves African-American males from 16 to 21 years old to reduce barriers in education or employment and to avoid involvement with the juvenile justice system.

Another program LINC offers is called Residential Reentry. The program, for both men and women, works to help people who have been incarcerated figure out how to navigate life.

“We’ve all made mistakes,” said Frankie Roberts, cofounder and executive director of LINC, Inc. “We don’t want a person to be treated based on their worst mistake. We want people to be treated based on what they can be and where they are going.”

Roberts cofounded LINC in 2000 after the death of his brother who spent part of his life in and out of jail while fighting a battle with addiction. He made a commitment to help others who faced similar challenges -- and has since helped thousands find a way to normalcy.

“We provide love, mentorship," said Roberts. "They say it’s better to build a boy or a girl than to mend a man or a woman because we find ourselves in the mending process which is two steps: undoing a lot of negative things and then try to pour in some of the positive things.”

LINC not only provides a bed, warm meals, and a place to call home, but the program also provides counseling and work experience.

That's why Ronald Petty knew he had to get into the program after serving his time.

“I looked and I said ‘yep. That’s where I want to go. Where I want to come. To start a fresh life,'” said Petty, who moved into LINC’s Marvin E. Roberts Transitional Living (MER) Campus, named for Frankie’s late brother, in February.

Petty grew up in the foster care system. He said it wasn’t a great place. Petty ended up spending most of his life fighting addiction and spending time behind bars. But he said he was ready to make a change. That’s where LINC comes in.

The MER campus houses 25 men and 20 women and provides full kitchens and laundry rooms, along with exercise equipment, and computer labs. There is a farm with various fruits and veggies, even chickens, that not only helps feed the residents, but provides good work habits, especially during the first few weeks living on campus.

“It allows us an opportunity to work on work ethic, also an opportunity to work with impulse control, and just a few intricacies just so a person can kind of land and get settled and we can work with promoting that person’s success," said Roberts

Most residents stay about six to 12 months. Roberts says 85 percent of the men and women who go through the program stay out of prison.

To learn more about the work LINC, Inc. does or to find out how to donate items, time or money, visit their website.

If you would like to recommend a non-profit organization that does big work but gets little attention, send it to The charity organizations that will be featured the first Thursday of each month on WECT News at 6 will receive a $500 donation from our sponsors at Rose Brothers Furniture.

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