Who We Are
The Ari Advocacy Center is an independent, non-profit, family support organization. Our model provides a comprehensive range of support services for children, young adults, parents, family members, and caregivers of North Carolina’s school-aged children. Authentic family engagement allows us to cultivate active and sustained participation from family and community members committed to advocating for the academic success of Black students.
We offer a suite of Family Impact Services, which are the direct result of the experiences of our team and the families we serve. Lived experience has shown us that wins for our children do not come in broad strokes or necessarily by traditional means. We know that a varied collection of supports and services may be needed to enhance a student’s education, for example, access to advanced coursework or studies, externship opportunities, or remediation. We also know that these services may transcend the walls of a school building. However, obtaining desired supports and services, in schools and in the community, can be a complex and difficult process to navigate. Most often, we have found that for individuals and groups of children families are expected to approve plans and agendas, not to help shape them. We do not place blame on families instead we use a strength-based approach to support how families engage on their terms.
The Ari Center begins with one question “How can we help?” We are a brave space, where individuals can show up and be their full selves without leaving parts of themselves or their experiences outside. Authentic family engagement allows us to cultivate active and sustained participation from family and community members committed to advocating for the academic success of Black students.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
We are a professional network led by a Black parent of a young adult son with special living and learning needs and nearly 20 years’ experience in navigating education and mental health systems. She is also the mom of two children, who did not need special education services but did benefit from additional academic supports. Nicole Jimerson is dedicated to the mission and purpose of The Ari Advocacy Center and certainly understands the challenges faced by parents as they pursue educational supports for their children. She credits her lived experiences as her greatest teacher; however, she also holds a Masters in Public Administration and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from North Carolina Central University. She has worked as a Special Education Teacher, Reading and Learning Disabilities Specialist, Facilitator of Special Education programs and Transition Specialist. Nicole has also earned an Education Specialist (EdS) certification from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a licensed Principal and Central Office administrator. Her involvement spans local, state and national capacities. She has served as a member and Chairperson of the Durham County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council and as a member and Chairperson of the North Carolina Council on Educational Services for Exceptional Children (CESEC), which is North Carolina’s State Advisory Panel to the State Board of Education. Nicole is also a member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) and serves as a Parent Advisor for The Education Trust, a national nonprofit that works to close opportunity gaps that disproportionately affect students of color.
Learn About Our Work
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