- Created on 27 March 2013
ESPN is staying in the family in giving its Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Robin Roberts at its annual ESPY awards this summer.
The “Good Morning America” anchor is being saluted for how she kept viewers involved in her treatments for two serious illnesses. She had breast cancer in 2007 and last year had to undergo a bone marrow transplant...
- Created on 26 March 2013
When 20-year-old Adam Lanzashot and killed 27 people — 20 school children, 6 educators and his mother, Nancy Lanza — in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, before turning the gun on himself, politicians and gun lobbyists vowed that it was a watershed moment and swore to figuratively hold hands and come to a consensus on the m...
- Created on 24 March 2013
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded Saturday to widespread criticism of his plan to close 54 Chicago Public Schools, saying he wasn’t interested in doing what was politically easy and that the pain of the closings doesn’t compare to the anguish of “trapping” kids in failing schools.
“If we don’t make these changes, we haven’t lived up to our resp...
- Created on 25 March 2013
Thousands of participants gathered to raise awareness and funds for a long standing issue in the Atlanta community. More than 15,000 people came out to Turner Field for the 5K Hunger Walk/Run and tackle the fight against hunger. Participants walked and ran through Downtown Atlanta in the 29th annual race.
Every year, the Atlanta Community Food Bank joins five other faith-based organizations to put on the Hunger Walk/Run. The race prides itself on being one of the few events in the Atlanta area that benefits more than one organization. Last year, the walk raised over $560,000. This year's goal was $600,000.
While the Food Bank has not yet tallied up the funds donated this year, online donations can still be made through March 31. Those donating can choose which of the benefiting partners they want the money to go to.
Benefiting partners include the Episcopal Charities Foundation, the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Lutheran Services of Georgia, Presbytery of Greater Atlanta and St. Vincent de Paul, Inc. Donations can be made under the 'Donate' tab on the organizations website www.acfb.org. All of the proceeds collected from the event will benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank and its benefiting partners.
The Hunger Walk also prides itself on its longevity. The walk began in 1984 and was coordinated by the founder of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Bill Bolling. Initially, the Hunger Walk was a grassroots movements started in response to local and global issues with hunger. In 1988, the Hunger Walk/Run became a "special project" of the Food Bank.
"The Hunger Walk basically started with a small group of people who met up at Piedmont Park," said Angie Clawson, public relations manager for the Atlanta Community Food Bank. "Bill wanted to bring together people who supported the food bank and supported the cause of fighting hunger."
Now, 29 years later and Bolling's vision of bringing together the community to tackle one of the world's biggest issues is still a success.
Bolling called the Hunger Walk/Run "one of the Food Bank's most important fundraises each year." Many of the Food Bank's benefiting partners have been involved with the Hunger Walk/Run since it began.
"We have been partners with the Food Bank for at least 20 years now," said Ginny Heckel who currently serves as the chair of board of directors for the Episcopal Charities Foundation. "We are considered the giving arm. We follow the Matthew Mandate, which comes from Matthew 28:16-20. The Mandate says take care of the least among us and that's what we strive to do."
Each benefiting partner will receive a percentage of the proceeds collected to support their direct hunger relief programs such as food pantries, soup kitchens and grant programs.
The Episcopal Charities Foundation plans to distribute its portion of funds through its grant program. The Foundation usually gives between 80 and 90 grants a year to organizations such as the Northeast Georgia Food Bank and Food Pantries, New Hope House, Feeding the Valley and Good Samaritan.
St. Vincent de Paul Georgia, another longstanding partner of the Food Bank, has taken a unique approach to serving its community through 5 Family Support Centers, 10 thrift stores and 38 food pantries.
"I believe we were one of the first benefiting partners," said Terri Medina, the director of marketing and communications for St. Vincent de Paul Georgia. "Our goal was to raise $30,000. We typically have between 350 and 400 participants from approximately 25 teams helping us raise money and feed the hungry."
Other benefiting partners like the Lutheran Services of Georgia have even funded some of their own employees to participate in the event.
"Being an almost overly-obsessed runner, often taking my lunch breaks to run and enjoy the outside, my supervisors at Lutheran Services of Georgia thought that I would be a perfect candidate for this event," said Chad Steinborn, who currently works as a marketing coordinator for the organization. "Also, being a volunteer with the organization with little money, they decided to sponsor me, which persuaded me even more."
As a new Atlanta resident, Steinborn participated in the Hunger Run for the first time this year.
The Lutheran Services of Georgia has set organizational goals of continuing to feed thousands of residents in the Atlanta area, which they do every year. Last year, the church raised $12,591 at the Hunger Walk/Run and recruited more than 100 participants.
The slogan for this year's Hunger Run/Walk was "Take the Next Step." Organizers were determined to recruit record numbers of participants and raise more funds than ever.
Major sponsors for this year's Hunger Walk/Run included The Arby's Foundation, AutoTrader.com, Walmart, Georgia Power, Hall, Booth, Smith, P.C. and The Coca-Cola Company.
- Created on 22 March 2013
When Sarah (name withheld) came to Our House, she was living in a homeless shelter with her 4-month-old daughter,
jobless and abandoned by the baby's father. All she hoped for, she says, was a job that would allow her to get out of the shelter and be able to pay bills.
Today she is in the Master's Program at Emory University and currently employed part time at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and as a Research Associate at Emory.
"The person at Emory who showed me I could do this I met through my family advocate right here at Our House," says Sarah.
"People ask me how did I do it... it's because I had Our House. I trusted them with my baby. I trust the people here," she adds. "They were with me all the way."
Our House is celebrating its 25th anniversary helping to end homelessness through comprehensive support services and early childhood education.
"We are proud of our 25 years of providing a place where homeless children can learn and get a great start on their lives and education," said Tyese Lawyer, Our House executive director, "and where their parents can find the support they need to 'break the chains of homelessness.'"
Our House was founded in 1988 by a group of shelter volunteers who saw a need to assist homeless women with their childcare needs. The women were required to vacate homeless shelters each morning with their children in tow and not return until the evening.
"These women had to juggle finding a job, securing a home, acquiring job training and getting access to mainstream benefits, all while caring for their children. They did not have dependable, affordable childcare assistance," Lawyer says.
The reality is that homelessness most negatively impacts the children involved, she notes. Statistics show more than 41,500 children experience homelessness in Georgia every year. Additionally, 16 percent of homeless children are not as proficient at reading and math as their classmates and fewer than 25 percent go on to graduate from high school.
Our House, a 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award recipient, has as its primary objective to make certain every child that comes to them is school ready. The students are taught in small classrooms that are geared towards providing more structure for those students who may have emotional and behavioral issues and developmental and cognitive needs. The children who attend the program range from infant to Pre-K.
The teachers at Our House use a creative curriculum in their classrooms that is focused on supporting the development of pre-literacy skills, self-help skills, confidence and resiliency all geared towards helping the children to accelerate in kindergarten once they leave the program.
"As a mother, you want the best for your child, and with Our House, they have advanced with my son, and I can see when my son hits kindergarten, he will be ready," says Ivory (name withheld) whose 5-year-old son attends the program. "That's what Our House does for my child from the time I leave him here until the time I come to pick him up."