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Smith and Caudle named Good Neighbors of the Year

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WAKE FOREST — The Wake Forest Human Relations Council recently announced Simone Smith and Tilda Caudle as the 2019 youth and adult Good Neighbors of the Year. Mayor Vivian Jones made the announcements during last Saturday’s Good Neighbor Day celebration at E. Carroll Joyner Park.

Simone was nominated by her mother, Loraine, who emphasized her “servant heart.”

“Last year (Simone) served over 115 volunteer hours helping youth to improve their academics,” wrote Loraine. “She did it for free realizing the importance of education. She also did that while maintaining her studies. She serves at Hope House Inc. in the Chick-fil-A Leadership Academy and several one-day service opportunities. She loves to take her time to help anyone in need!”

Eight residents nominated Tilda Caudle for this year’s Good Neighbor of the Year in the adult category, including last year’s winner Joy Shillingsburg.

“I cannot think of someone in Wake Forest who embodies the qualities of a ‘good neighbor’ more than Tilda Caudle,” wrote Shillingsburg.

She went on to highlight Caudle’s efforts in several local initiatives, including the North East Community Coalition, Habitat for Humanity, Juneteenth Celebration and food security, among others.

“She is tireless in her efforts to care for her neighbors,” concluded Shillingsburg.
“Tilda loves her community, she is an amazing grandmother and raised outstanding children who are also active in their community. She is an inspiration to me, and her personal approach is a blueprint for servant leadership.”

EnJanet Joseph also noted Caudle’s efforts in the East End Community and echoed Shillingsburg’s “servant leader” assessment.

“Tilda Caudle is the epitome of a servant leader,” wrote Joseph. “She grew up in the Northeast End community and after receiving training on how to organize communities, she has dedicated and led countless efforts to enhance the quality of life for the residents within the Northeast End community and be a bridge and connector for individuals to resources, organizations and partners. She possesses a humble and loving spirit and is well known, trusted and loved throughout the Northeast End community and town of Wake Forest. She is well deserving of this prestigious award.”

In her nomination narrative, Kenille Baumgardner noted that Caudle is “the person to talk to first.”

“I have known and worked with Tilda for many years,” wrote Baumgardner. “I first got to know her through the projects done with Habitat for Humanity and Brush for Kindness. She was and is the ‘go to’ person in the African-American community in Wake Forest. Her work in the community there radiates out from her church Olive Branch. If anything needs to be done, Tilda is the person to talk to first.”

William E. Pitts emphasized Caudle’s work at the Alston-Massenburg Center and positive attitude.

“Rev. Caudle works daily with Wake Forest seniors as well as being active with the Alston-Massenburg Center,” noted Pitts. “In addition, she works with all the food distribution centers in the region. She is positive and hard working.”

Cynthia Duarte and JuJuan Mitchell also emphasized Caudle’s tireless work ethic.

“Tilda has had a long and distinguished career of touching the lives of community members in Wake Forest,” wrote Duarte. “She works tirelessly to provide quality education to the youth and seniors. She is a teacher by design in her focus for Juneteenth celebrations. She is a preacher in her daily walk by showing compassion to all she meets.”

“Mrs. Caudle has worked tirelessly with the Northeast Community Coalition to ensure that the residents in the northeast end of town receive the same opportunities as the other Wake Forest residents,” noted Mitchell. “She creates programming to enrich their lives as well as bringing resources to the area to make residents more self-reliant. Mrs. Tilda truly cares about her community and puts in the work. She deserves this award because of her willingness to serve the Northeast Community that raised her. She wants each child to have an opportunity to succeed and prosper.”

The HRC solicits youth and adult nominations for the Good Neighbor of the Year award each year from April through August and announces the winners during Good Neighbor Day. For more information, visit and search “Good Neighbor Day” or contact Senior Human Resources Consultant Mitzi Franklin at 919-435-9493 or