- 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 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."
- Created on 20 March 2013
From Mar. 15-24, Atlantans are given the opportunity to interact and engage with filmmakers and industry professionals as well as some rising black artists at the37th Annual Atlanta Film Festival.
The Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF) is one of the largest and longest-running film festivals in the country, now in its fourth decade originating back to 1976. ATLFF is one of only two-dozen Academy Award qualifying festivals in the country, where independent and international films are shown at the local level before being propelled to the global stage.
Known for its general lack of African American films, this year's festival showcased the screenings of two black movies that provided audiences with eye-opening experiences and in-person dialog with some of the persons involved with the production of the works presented.
Monday evening showcased the viewing of 'Wolf,' starring a majority black cast of Irma P. Hall (known for her roles as a family matriarch; she appeared in Soul Food, andThe Ladykillers), Eugene Lee (Lackawanna Blues, Coach Carter) and newcomers Mikala Gibson, Shelton Jolivette and Jordan Cooper.
The 2012 release, filmed in San Antonio, centers a young adolescent boy (Cooper) and his family, a father (Jolivette) who is a big rig trucker always on the road and his mother (Gibson), a month away from becoming a psychiatrist.
The family's core is shaken when it is discovered that their son has been sexually molested by their most trusted confidant, their pastor. Struggling with betrayal and observing their son's obsession with his abuser, the family must overcome tragedy and trauma in a very tough to watch, but superb piece of work.
"I always do research on my characters, that's how I was trained and I had to interview a lot of mothers," said Mikala Gibson. "You see so many people talking about black people being atheists and a lot of it is because they have left the church just for this reason."
The narrative feature was directed and written by Ya'Ke Smith, a professor from Texas, who is considered to be one of this generation's next film directors to watch.
"I'm really trying to get this into churches," said Smith. "There's been a little bit of resistance when we screen. There will be a pastor that says 'Yeah, I wanna screen that in my church!' and then I never hear from then again, but it's been very positive from those who have been in the house."
'Wolf' shines light on a taboo subject that has lurked in the shadows for years within the black church community, which made it a tough pill for audience members to swallow.
"Every good actor acts and every great actor becomes," said Shelton Jolivette. "It was not easy to pick up the script and become that person on the screen. That was not me."
Many films at this year's Atlanta Film Festival were being shown at the city's oldest cinema, The Plaza Theatre. Built in 1939, The Plaza has been home to several independent, classic and cult motion pictures shown year-round as opposed to its counterparts which feature more mainstream films. The theatre currently has two screens, a large downstairs auditorium which seats 375 and an upstairs theatre that seats 175 people.
On the other side of the Black cinema platter, Tuesday night, festival attendees were welcomed to "Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp."
Produced by rapper/actor Ice-T, the documentary follows the unruly life of legendary Chicago pimp Iceberg Slim (1918-1992). Slim was known for reinventing himself from a pimp to the author of seven groundbreaking books, which pioneered what is known as 'street-wise writing.' The genre explored the world of the ghetto in poetic detail, making him a cultural icon.
Along with archival footage of Slim during his 'pimping days' and his writing, the film includes interviews from friends and colleagues such as comedians Katt Williams, Chris Rock, Snoop Dogg and music mogul Quincy Jones.
Audience members have the opportunity to vote for the best film after every showing, with an award being given to the motion picture with the best achievement in animated or live action films.
Films receiving awards will move on to other festivals to be considered to be nominated in the Academy Awards in 2014.
- Created on 21 March 2013
Herschel Walker, winner of the 1982 Heisman Trophy at the University of Georgia, will reunite with his former coach, Vince Dooley, and join a group of elite college coaches, sports journalists and professionals at "Leadership Game Changer: Developing Business Champions," a special professional development event series debuting in Atlanta on May 9.
The day-long training camp at McCamish Pavilion on the Georgia Tech campus is designed to inspire and train business people to reach their full potential. Leadership Game Changer will mark the first time so many accomplished coaches will assemble under one roof to share their secrets for success. Guided by professional moderators, participants in the training camp will emerge with a personal game plan for improving their leadership skills and performance.
The star-studded lineup for Leadership Game Changer includes:
Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self, who led the Jayhawks to the 2008 National Championship, is a three-time Sporting News National Coach of the Year, and from 2006–2012, posted the best six-year record of any men's basketball coach in NCAA Division 1 history.
Bill Battle, who as head football coach at the University of Tennessee from 1970 to 1976 was at the time the country's youngest college football head coach. Battle went on to found The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), revolutionizing the way schools market their brands.
College football coaching legend Homer Rice, who coached at Kentucky, Oklahoma, Cincinnati and Rice, and served as Athletics Director for UNC and Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech head football coach Paul Johnson, a two-time ACC Coach of the Year, who has also served as head coach at Navy and Georgia Southern, joined by basketball coach Brian Gregory. Before being named the school's basketball coach in March, 2011, Gregory coached eight seasons at Dayton, participating in the NCAA Tournament or NIT five times, and capturing the NIT crown, and winning 150 games faster than any coach in Dayton history.
Bill Curry, former head football coach at Alabama, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, and Kentucky. Curry also had a distinguished NFL playing career that included Super Bowl wins as a center with the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Colts.
Former Ole Miss and current Duke University head football coach David Cutcliffe. This past season he took Duke to their first bowl in almost 20 years. At Ole Miss, Cutcliffe led the Rebels to four bowl games in six years. He also has the distinction of having coached both Manning brothers as his starting quarterback.
Jim Grobe, head football coach at Wake Forest University, where in 2006 he was named ACC Coach of the Year, as well as Bobby Dodd and AP National Coach of the Year. Grobe has led the Deacons to more bowl games, eight win-seasons and bowl victories than any other coach in school history. He also served as head coach at Ohio University.
Vanderbilt head football coach James Franklin, who has guided Vanderbilt from the depths of the SEC to back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history, and was recently named by Bleacher Report as the Top Motivator in college football.
Rod Olson, former coach at Oklahoma State and Appalachian State and founder and CEO of the Coaches of Excellence Institute.
Herschel Walker, recipient of the 1982 Heisman Trophy at the University of Georgia, where he was also on the 1980 National Championship team.
Vince Dooley, Walker's former coach who led the Bulldogs to 201 victories during his 25 years as head coach and took UGA teams to 20 bowl games. For 15 years after his retirement, Vince remained at Georgia as the school's athletic director.
Additionally, several major college sports personalities will serve as our masters of ceremonies and the "voices of Leadership Game Changer":
Jay Bilas, college basketball analyst for ESPN and CBS sports (as well as former four-year starter for Duke under Coach Mike Krzyzewski).
Tracy Wolfson, CBS Sports' lead college football sideline reporter, college basketball reporter, and anchor of CBS Sportsdesk.
•Wes Durham Voice of Georgia Tech and Atlanta Falcons – one of only four people calling major college football on Saturday and the NFL on Sunday. Wes is the 2013 Georgia Sportscaster of the Year, honored by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association for the 8th time, including three of the past four years.
Leadership Game Changer is produced by IMG College, a collegiate marketing agency which says it represents over 200 institutions of higher education as well as the NCAA.
The Riverbend Group, an Atlanta-based people development company improving people and their organizations since 2002, is assisting in producing this event series marrying the excitement of college sports with meaningful professional development. For more information on Leadership Game Changer, including the full speaker lineup and how to register, visit www.Leadership-GameChanger.com
- Created on 19 March 2013
A lawyer for a woman who says Michael Jordan fathered her teenage son has withdrawn her paternity suit, but left open the possibility that it could be refiled.
Pamela Smith “stands by the facts alleged in her original filing,” Atlanta att...