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September 17, 2019 - Heifer International

Good Intentions Are Not Good Deeds

After Hiroshima, it was said: “the world now accepts the miracle of the chain reaction that creates an atomic explosion; but we still refuse to accept the miracles of the human heart - and the chain reactions that are made possible by using that power.”


I believe this is still true, we greatly underestimate the power of GOOD. But nowhere is the evidence more undeniable than the 75-year legacy of Heifer International. How did it begin? In 1938, at the end of the Spanish Civil War, a relief worker – Dan West started his movement “Not a cup – but a cow!” His real success came from the understanding that hope is not a strategy and people must unify to create abundance instead of competing for limited resources. Once individuals achieve success, they never choose the insecurity of the past. This creates a common language of change that permeates a region and stabilizes it. 

In South Korea, for example, the Korean Ministry of Agriculture estimates that 50% of all poultry in South Korea today are descended from 70,000 hatchlings supplied by Heifer after the Korean War. 


In Cambodia, Heifer has spread to half of the country, partnering not just to provide livestock – but guidance and encouragement through their “cornerstones”. This new doctrine empowers women greatly. The farm to market project has found that alcoholism, domestic violence, and disability can no longer hold back the women there. Given a few seeds, a piglet or some business training, a powerhouse network of matriarchs is building a decidedly better future for their families as well as creating a healthy local food system. 


The majority of my own philanthropic efforts are intentionally domestic; intended to alter the opportunities of the less fortunate in America - but, I believe that the most enduring  way to influence peace in the world is by fostering true Independence here, and abroad.  Heifer has a unique pay it forward ‘contract’ that puts all local participants in the position of bringing their own neighbors out of poverty. If the local program is to raise say.... chickens, the first hatchlings born to a member are given to a neighbor - and then his first to a neighbor and so on. This is done in a very public ceremony. All recipients then enter training together which fosters real friendships as well as the unanimous application of best veterinary practices. This new interdependence continues without any US involvement stabilizing locations experiencing desperate circumstances that could otherwise grow into social chaos and the need for people to migrate to survive. 


When the llama population in Peru was declining seriously due to overbreeding, Heifer helped introduce a new breeding stock able to thrive on indigenous vegetation. This practice completely revitalized herds to full vigor in less than 5 years. Without llamas, life in Peru is not sustainable for at least 40% of the population. 


It has been proven beyond a doubt that a rapidly expanding prosperity model eventually yields local funding for schools, homes, medical care, and expanded sustainable feeding projects. What has quietly been accomplished in the 75 years Heifer has operated is nothing short of spectacular! Starting with community groups of 25 the work now reaches into the many thousands. My favorite example is of a Kenyan community where heifer came in to help build boost milk yields to the dairy farmers. 


This community ended up creating a co-op producing butter to sell to local markets and hotels. As a result of that success, education has really taken off and the first medical doctor has risen from a community where 25 years ago no one could read. 

Ranjana Shrestha, another project participant, has risen to become an officially elected member of the parliament in Nepal. 


In 2002, Heifer celebrated the “passing on the gift” ceremony of their three millionth animal. When people anywhere are given an opportunity to learn and put that education into practice, transformation takes place. Small scale farmers can feed the world and build stronger communities in a way that is permanent. Heifer’s value-based leadership mentors and inspires to dramatically impact every area of life when they enter a region. My interest in their work has continued to grow through my life and has affected my understanding of what is truly possible in the future of our small planet. 

Cornerstones

  1. Passing the Gift
  2. Accountability
  3. Sharing and Caring
  4. Sustainability and Self Reliance
  5. Improved Animal Management
  6. Nutrition and Income
  7. Gender and Family Focus
  8. Genuine Need and Justice
  9. Improving the Environment
  10. Full Participation
  11. Training and Education
  12. Spirituality 

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August 15, 2019 - The Assistance League – Exceptional Phila

Transforming Lives Strengthening Community

 Many charitable organizations focus on one area of need but The Assistance League – formed in California in 1919 tackles many at once, very successfully. Operation School Bell is the one universal national program operating in all 120 regional locations. In 2018, in Atlanta alone, Operation School Bell distributed wardrobes through 235 elementary and middle schools to provide 14,707 students with every item needed for a full week of changes of brand new clothing, as well as contributions of hygiene kits, shoes, and a backpack! This work is replicated in all 120 chapters across America. All work is accomplished by volunteers, serving others, on the scale of a Federal Program!
On an annual basis these committed citizens from all the surrounding suburbs generate as much as 60 million dollars to invest in their individual regions. Add 3.5 million hours of volunteer service, worth another 50 to 70 million and it is easy to see their influence is far-reaching, and life changing.
Beyond the national program, members conduct a detailed ‘needs assessment’ in each of their own regions in order to develop responses to impact the problems they uncover. In Atlanta these programs, funded by a much loved thrift shop in Norcross, called “Attic Treasures” include all of these: 

  • New Beginnings– help for 34,000 homeless and abused adults and children in the Atlanta area by radically expanding existing services.
  • Shepard Center Patient Support– provides specially designed clothing and durable medical devices for 280 severely injured plus patients annually. 
  • WEE Help– Delivers brand new complete infant layettes to mothers in need in co-operation with 10 area hospitals.
  • Waste Not– The distribution of suitable items in support of other non-profit organizations – like prom dresses to The Foster Care Support Foundation’s ‘Prom-a-Palooza’, in this case serving vulnerable high school juniors and seniors from all over the state. 
  • Links To Education– Provides scholarships to 7 Georgia colleges, Atlanta has generated and given away $800,000 in needs based scholarships since 2003. 
  • Bears for Kids– provides huggable bears to kids in crisis through hospitals, police, and fire departments to comfort them in various traumatic circumstances.

The Atlanta members say they build lifetime friendships within the organization, sharing their remarkable achievements, as they might golf, or bridge.
Why not make an impact? How about joining these folks and their 250 community partners? Instead of embracing your inhibitions – join retirees, working individuals and couples alike, – dive into something new that really matters! Regardless of what your own personal skills or interests are this organization has a place for you – where your strengths will be valued and wisely utilized.  

Attic Treasures

 Attic Treasures is a nonprofit thrift shop owned and operated by Assistance League of Atlanta. Located in Chamblee, Georgia, across from the post office, the thrift shop offers good quality, gently used clothing for the whole family as well as household items, books, jewelry, antiques, collectibles, and  furniture at affordable prices.   

Proceeds from Attic Treasures Thrift Shop are the major source of funding for our philanthropic programs, which help children and adults in need throughout greater Atlanta. Every time you donate an item for resale in the thrift shop, make a purchase, or make a monetary donation, you are helping those at risk.

You may bring your donations of gently used items to the Donation Door of our thrift shop located at:

3534 Broad Street in Chamblee (30341) on Monday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tax receipts are provided.

(770) 458-2038 

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May 16, 2019 - The Performance Sports and Development Foundation (PEAK)

Preparing for Greatness!

Every tale of adventure is the expression of a hero’s battle against overwhelming odds.  A drama of the oppositional forces to the achievement of a worthy goal. Sometimes it’s dragons, sometimes it’s an evil empire, but it’s always...difficult.  

That is every tale, except this one....In this story, the glass ceiling is shattered (or simply becomes obsolete) and the oppressor becomes an ally.  Also, the heroes, (except for one) are all heroines! Women who can face life as realists with the courage of dreamers. Think of this, if you’re not intimidated by the seemingly insurmountable forces around you, whatever they are – you operate in the absence of fear. FEAR is the most disabling of all emotions, and frequently negates all creative thinking.


For many years the various advantages of participating in competitive sports was limited to the worlds of men.  So, the experience of overcoming the obstacles that invariably exist in the repetitive situations presented in all team sports, was not a normal part of a womans experience.  Which challenges require just hard work? When does the team need a more informed strategy to win? Most importantly, girls learn when to rely on insight, which may mean appreciating and optimizing the skills of another player. 


Enter PEAK The Performance Sports and Development Foundation.  A honorable source of dependable leadership, PEAK is a 501(c)(3) which began in 2005 as an elite basketball summer camp.  It has grown to be so much more than that. Girls from public and private schools participate in a competitive basketball leagues, but also in aggressive academic support, leadership training, and highly varied community service projects.

The idea is to address the total child - teaching them to grow their own capabilities and their judgement. This lowers the power of “peer pressure” among adolescents and the need to take foolish risks to “fit in.” Self-esteem is the antidote to acting out.  When you respect yourself, it’s easy to exhibit respect for others.


NOW FOR THE STATS:

PEAK has served 1,100 girls from 75 public and private schools in the 13 years the program has existed.  Of 134 participants from 2011 to 2018, 108 girls have signed to participate as NCAA ATHLETES in more than 50 different colleges and universities!  That is a staggering record of success!  100% of these young women have enrolled in college – with a total of 7 million dollars awarded in scholarships, both academic and athletic.  So far, participants have garnered 50 undergraduate degrees, 6 master degrees, and 4 doctorates. One alumni, Kaitlyn Dinkins has completed her MD at Emory after finishing her undergraduate studies at Harvard as the well-loved captain of the women’s basketball team.


So who is the hero? Bruce Price, Executive Director and tireless visionary.  The designer of an unquestionably strong emotional fitness program, as well as a physically challenging one.  Bruce has raised two daughters who have become outstanding women. He learned a lot about advocacy in the process. “Acquiring a TRUE understanding of herself through positive experience, can allow a young woman to envision a reality fueled by imagination, but driven by confidence - confidence tested and 100% dependable. That is STRENGTH!” Arriving into adulthood without the need for extraneous approval is freedom… It is okay to enjoy pleasing others or being admired for being pretty; but not to view that as a prerequisite to success. Imagine what might be possible at 16 if you have seen yourself overcome every barrier you ever encountered.  Belief in yourself guarantees that you CAN accomplish anything when you have learned how to GROW and to GIVE. The world would be a different place if we all had the strength to foster in ourselves the characteristics we admire in others.

PEAK Foundation

In their own words, read what PEAK means to PEAK Alum and College Graduates, Cassidy Williams and Sydney Umeri.

What Peak Means To Featured Alum...

What PEAK means to Sydney Umeri (PEAK Class of 2013)

"When I first began my journey with basketball, it was anything but pleasant. I was what many would call a raw talent, which is often short for, "You have potential, kid, you just have to develop it." Eager to learn, I walked into my first Peak Performance tryout and met Coach Bruce Price who not only played a significant role in my development as a player on the court but in my maturation off the court as well. That narrative doesn't stop with me. Over the years, Coach Bruce and Peak Performance have impacted the lives of numerous young women, teaching us discipline, hard work, goal setting, and how to become better basketball players and women. 

PEAK has sent more high school girls to college by developing their skills and talent to play at the next level than most girls basketball organizations I know. The opportunity to play at the next level is more than the chance to further develop our skills as athletes; it is the opportunity to set our futures up for success by attending colleges across the country under scholarship. Knowing what I know now as a college graduate with both bachelors and masters degrees, the value of a paid for college education continues to show its worth far beyond the three to five years we spend at any institution. It sets us up to be able to build our futures outside of the constructs of debt, and in this day and age, that's priceless.

Though my time in women's college basketball, did not go as I planned, it taught me and further developed the skills Peak began instilling in me in 6th grade: discipline, hard work, perseverance, etc. I'm very thankful to Peak and Coach Bruce Price for helping me become the young woman I am today, for giving me vision towards what I could become and what I could do through my sport, and for continuing to do so with this younger generation of girls striving for the same opportunities."


-Sydney Umeri

University of Virginia, Class of 2016

University of Kansas, Class of 2017

What PEAK means to Cassidy Williams (PEAK Class of 2015)

"I had no idea of the magnitude of what Peak Performance means to me until now.  


At the beginning, as a young player…. I saw PEAK as the perfect avenue to provide me the opportunity to travel around the country, compete against top tier competition, all in the hopes of exposing my game to a coach who was looking for someone like me.  PEAK was the program for me because it was simply just “all about the right things”. I trusted all of the coaches and genuinely loved each of my teammates, it truly felt like everyone had my best interest at heart.  


All the things I just said above is wonderful and true, but as I have grown up and have gained a newer perspective on my life… I am able to see a more mature, clearer picture of what Peak Performance basketball did for me in my life.   


PEAK gave me these BLANK things: 

Kyrie Chandler - When we met at Peak, she was just my PG and I was her shooting guard. Fast forward 5 years, during college, Kyrie’ was the person I texted/FaceTimed/called when I was at my breaking point with college basketball. We willed each other through so many tough practices, unfair coaches, and circumstances that were out of our control. Not only is she one of my closest friends to date, but she will also be one of my VIP invitees to my wedding next April.  


Kiesha Brown - She was a Peak coach that turned into a mentor and best friend. I can’t even tell you how many hours we’ve spent in the gym together…me crying out of frustration over too many missed jump shots, blasting music and dancing to keep me light, and really just getting to me refall in love with the game over and over again.   


PEAK created the foundation for me to not only become a fundamentally sound basketball player, but more importantly it prepared me to be resilient. College basketball almost broke me multiple times, but that resiliency that I had developed over my years as a Peak player helped me to persevere and never give up.  


PEAK also taught me to pursue excellence in all areas of life, not just basketball. I really took that to heart when I got into the college classroom. Peak did not tell me to email my professors weeks in advance of a road trip, or to have assignments completed prior to long stints of time being gone…. I just did that on my own because it is INGRAINED in me to be professional and excellent in everything I do.  


I listed four things, but it is impossible to pinpoint all of ways that PEAK has influenced and impacted my life. The list is never-ending. 


Bottom line is, I am SO GRATEFUL to God for placing me and my family in the same path as Peak Performance Basketball and Coach Bruce Price. I am even more grateful for the opportunity to play ball and build relationships with the people that mean so much to me, even when the ball stopped bouncing.   I have no doubts that I will be using the skills Peak taught me in every facet of my life moving forward.   


I am a PEAK girl FOR LIFE!!!"

-Cassidy Williams

University of Samford, Class of 2019

Learn More About Cassidy...

"Cassidy Williams is a 2019 Magna Cum Laude graduate from Samford University.  She was on the Dean’s List eight semesters out of eight.  She was the two time Captain of the Women’s Basketball Team. Cassidy was awarded the Dr. Jim Angel Award for being the most outstanding and best overall student in the School of Health Professions.  The Dr. Angel Award is presented to the student who is most influential, demonstrates professionalism and excellence, and lives out the “idea of calling”.  Dr. Angel was in the U.S. Navy and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy.  At Samford, Dr. Angel was the missionary who developed all the majors to what they are at Samford today."

-She never missed a single practice in 4 seasons and 2 summers, despite being sick or hurt on multiple occasions.


-She was the ONLY PLAYER in the history of the women’s program to report to school the summer before her freshman year….in order to learn the system, offense, etc.  And the $ to attend that summer was not covered under her scholarship.


-She set the school record for number of 3 pointers made in one game = 8


-She led the conference in 3 point shooting percentage for the year = 43%

And that was 17th best in the country.


-She was nominated to speak at commencement.  The only Sports Administration major to ever be nominated in the history of the school.  


-She graduated magna cum laude and on time in four years.  She had two UNPAID internships that she got entirely on her own. 


-She was on the Dean’s List every single semester and was on the Southern Conference All Academic Honor Roll all four years.  Last year, and likely again this year (not issued until August), she was awarded the SoCon Commissioner’s Medal for academic performance.


-At the Sampsbys (Samford’s version of the ESPY’s, an all sport award ceremony for only the athletes) she was nominated for “Breakthrough Performer of the Year” which designates the athlete who made the largest improvement in their performance vs. prior years.  She was also nominated for Miss Bulldog, which goes to the female student athlete who has demonstrated excellence in the sports arena, classroom, and community/public service.  She did not win either category, but she was the only women’s basketball player to be nominated in more than one category.

-Mike Williams

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April 2019 - InCommunity

What's my excuse?

I recently watched a TED Talk about a beautiful young woman radiant with pride, describing her years of training to run a marathon. She was born with multiple sclerosis, (MS) and the twisted, uncooperative limbs that frequently accompany this disease. She trained for three years to accomplish this dream. When she was ready, race producers agreed to let her start twelve hours prior to start time so she would be on the track with the other runners for a thrilling few hours. Our successful runner did this on crutches for a period in which some runners could do three back to back marathons. But she did it; she finished the course eight hours after the last runner and was clearly thrilled by the experience.


To understand this is very humbling.  How dare I ever think anything I do or endure is hard? This instantly redefined my idea of what was even possible! Where did she get the Will? And why was it summoned in the first place?  This started me on an inquiry about what it is, that sometimes comes with specific limitations, that forces people to really push the envelope way past traditional challenges. 

Australian activist, Stella Young said, “Most journalists seem utterly incapable of writing on, or talking about a disability without using phrases like....brave, overcoming the odds, wheelchair-bound, or my [her] favorite inspiration.” Young’s objection is that these observations are generated by pity. The real goal for inclusion is to see each of us as equal but different, regardless of the actual specifics.  I understand the range of possible differences is huge; some invite inclusion easily, others, more severe – physical, intellectual, or emotional, require special adjustments for environments and for the people in these places as well. 


How can we do a better job?  Can we acknowledge and admire the resilience and creativity we see in people managing difficult differences without pity or condensation?  What behavior from a so-called able-bodied person is read as respect for these achievements? When we actually may be… (dare I say it)...inspired?


My inquiry led me to enAble of Georgia originally founded in 1979, now rebranded InCommunity.  This organization is a 501(c) (3) supporting people with developmental disabilities and their families. They create programs and innovative services for 10,000 qualified participants in Georgia alone. State of the art education and employment services, residential housing, family guidance and a rich and diverse menu of enriching social events. 


This is a purpose-driven organization fortifying and supplementing people’s lives so they can reach their full human potential, whatever that may be.  

I was starting to understand that beautiful marathon runner. 

Choosing inclusion in activities in the general population takes somewhat for granted, is normalizing – even in the highly varied difference of that experience. People can be transformed having an experience their disability SHOULD have, and COULD have denied them. A triumph of the will, and of intention, over the well assumed limits created by the disability. 

The result is a huge dose of self-respect for who they are, not for who they might have been. 


Our limited ability to love beyond artificial boundaries is, in itself, a handicap. Understanding this makes it our job to learn how not be awkward or uncomfortable in the presence of difference. It just IS a fact of life. That means it is necessary to work on ourselves and the world we live in to make day to day life more welcoming for all people - celebrating our humanness together instead of defining what actually constitutes our differences. 

InCommunity Services

For residential services in Fulton County

Kimberly Wilder

Director of Community Support Services 

770.664.4347, Ext. 134 kwilder@enableofga.org


For services provided in individuals’ private or family homes by county

Kimberly Wilder

Coordinator of Community Living Services 

770.664.4347, Ext. 134 kwilder@enableofga.org 


For Day and Employment Services and Summer Day camp in North Fulton

Latorya Burch

Support Manager of Day & Employment Services

770.664.4347, Ext. 113

lburch@enableofga.org

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March 18, 2019

Finding personal fulfillment through self-less action

I must admit I am somewhat addicted to being useful.  Some of us gain our identity from our title, or what we own, or our ethnic or religious origins;  but some of us – like me, identify with being able to constructively influence the present, and thereby the future.  It is still enlightened self-interest I guess, but when it reaches beyond the bounds of what affects us, it brings power to others.  


I was fortunate to be born into a loving middle class home. So, I believe people who have been nurtured and taught to share, possess all of the tools needed to be philanthropic. But, frequently people see a middle-class income as incompatible with real giving; or the ability to make a difference.


Think of this, – if 1,000 people each gave one dollar a week for a year, at the end of the year, no one has spent more than $52 but there is now $52,000 to be spent for good!  If those same thousand people chose to give these gifts when they would be multiplied by being matched…like the program at BurgerFi restaurant on Windward, where Ron Altman shares the work of the charities suggested by his customers on a big screen every month. Then he then matches their gifts to those charities to double them.  When using these great programs, $52,000 becomes $104,000.  I would call that influential!  


When we join forces, even huge problems can be humbled.  What shapes your personal perception of what possible? What biases make you shake your head instead of joining in to make the change want to see? We all have something to leverage on behalf of others – resources like time, money, wisdom, construction skills, even the ability to really listen. If you can give a dollar or an hour a week, you can join your neighbors in quietly changing the world.


Civic commitment doesn’t mean having to run for public office, it means deliberately working towards betterment where you see lack.  Complaining serves to clarify what needs to be done but only a motivated, constructive, civil society can choose and promote general prosperity instead. 


Social isolation is what fragments our communities. Right now it is a natural consequence of disconnection – the automated ways we now communicate, shop, learn, and socialize.  How do you interpret your own value as a human being?  And how do you value and respect others? 


In the recent Matt Damon movie, Downsizing, Matt starts out as a marginally successful, nice person trying to capture enough trappings of wealth to satisfy his self-absorbed wife and feel truly upper class. But, in the end, he learns that it is only in his service to others that he really feels his worth; and he becomes rich without any proof at all.  Sadly, most viewers missed the point.


70% of adult players of the avatar game, The Sims spend more than 10 hours a day online in this artificial world, connecting to other pretend people.  It is a choice they make because they know what to expect there. It feels safe. 


Suicide rates are up, overdoses are now rampant; maybe caring that this is true is a start.  It doesn’t matter what it is you have passion for; there are other people who agree with you. Dog rescue, disabled children, literacy, sobriety, mental health, childhood cancer, early education, safe driving, water conservation, family court, veterans, low income housing – there is a place for you to be welcomed to do that work you want to see done.

Learn More

 For a great list of civic and non-profit organizations listed by their specific area of focus, visit the Appen website.


There you can choose where YOU want to make a difference. Expand the radius of your understanding. Let strangers mean more to you then go lend a hand, or a dollar, or an hour…as soon as you can.

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February 18, 2019 - Foster Care Support Foundation

All kids count

In our current political climate aggressively seeking positive solutions and change could look like anarchy.  The despair and uncertainty we can feel rarely yields ideas. 


When I think about Rachel Ewald taking on the limitations of the foster care system...in her own garage with only enough space to help a few dozen kids, I know that garage could not remotely have contained her boundaryless intentions, her bravery, or her will. 


Kids in her grade school (who were in care) were teased and humiliated because their clothes were clearly substandard. Rachel decided then in that she would find a way to make those kids look like everybody else in school; somehow. The Foster Care Support Foundation was born of that vision.


What has she accomplished since then? 


The “center”, as she calls it, is the size of a small Walmart there they provide full wardrobes, books, blankets, backpacks, and much more twice annually to all children who qualify in care. Then you can add bikes, cribs, strollers, toys, coats, Halloween costumes, Christmas gifts...

Nearly 60,000 children have been served out of this one location in Roswell. 11,000 volunteers have given 34,000 hours to accomplish this feat. As they grew, undaunted by complications, Rachel’s volunteers provided the same services to kids well outside of the metro area by building parcels of needed items gathered to match each child’s age, size, and special interests. These welcome care packages are sent weekly to locations all over the state.


Hope 4 Tomorrow is a remarkably successful one-on-one mentoring program created and funded by FCSF. Students 12 and older residing in all forms of foster care in the six metro counties qualify to participate. The concept is to connect vulnerable kids with engaged, positive people they can learn from and trust.  These are adults – who know how to establish and achieve goals, resolve conflict respectfully, and can calmly enjoy sharing an outing together.  The diversity of participants greatly enriches the program. Currently involved mentors include retired professionals, teachers, CDC employees, bus drivers, pastors, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and city of Atlanta employees. Busy people just like us who somehow find the time to also be a lifeline.  A year ago, my own match – a quiet high school senior, could not possibly see herself going to a private college on an academic scholarship. But, on August 17th she will move into a dorm on the campus of 125-year-old Wingate University as an honored freshman. This year she has developed a lot of confidence. Elizabeth can now see her own strengths as I do. Her expanded sense of self is evident as she redefines the world, and her own future, as a place where she now sees for herself, all the opportunities available to the rest of us. 


The prom-a-palooza, is an annual event providing gowns and accessories to juniors and seniors in foster care from all over Georgia.  228 very happy girls were fully outfitted in 2018 accompanied by a volunteer ‘personal shopper’ to help them create their own individual ‘look’. They came by appointment in cars and busses traveling to Roswell from as far away as Valdosta. It is wonderful to see them go from being a cenacle teen to a smiling and glowing young woman in less than a few hours.


Fostering Hope is a small thrift shop, also in Roswell, where donations are sold daily to fund the programs of FCSF. Small furniture, books, artwork, and other desirable items can be donated there daily. 


If you are not already disturbed by what is happening to the traditional American family today, you are probably not paying attention.  Drug and alcohol abuse are the primary culprits sending 15,000 children into the foster care system in Georgia and another 250,000 children into fostered ‘relative care’ outside of their original family unit.  The most recent change is that now 75% of the children served at the center have been placed with grandparents; many of whom are on fixed incomes and get absolutely no monetary assistance from the state.  FCSF Partners with the Department of Children and Family Services but receives no state or federal funding of any kind. All support for their amazing services are from individuals and private community resources.  Most impressive – the center annually provides 5.5 million dollars in goods and services to children in need with an annual budget of only 850,000 dollars.  That means more than 500 dollars in goods and services for every dollar spent.


As Ronald Reagan once said, “Hope is not a strategy.” Radical change requires innovation – but only the believers are brave enough to try to change the world so it is they who will do so. 

Foster Care Support Foundation

Do something that matters.

· Be a mentor

· Contribute meeting space for training

· Donate funding and clothing and household goods

· Volunteer

· You can sponsor a child for a year for $79.00 


FCSF Distribution Center

Address: 115 Mansell Place

Roswell, GA 30075

Main Phone: 770-641-9591 

E-mail: info@fostercares.org 

Appointments: 404-729-3374 

or 770-280-7831

appt@fostercares.org  

Volunteers: 770-375-0865 

vol@fostercares.org


Mailing Address: Foster Care Support Foundation, Inc. 3334 Trails End Rd NE Roswell, GA 30075-6101    


Fostering Hope Bargain Sale

Address: 608 Holcomb Bridge Road

Roswell, GA 30076

Phone: 770-641-8081

E-mail: mentor@fostercares.org 

Contact: Jordan Rayburn, Mentoring Coordinator

Contact: Sue C. Kath, Communications 

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January 14, 2019 - POSSE Foundation

Leveraging potential for the greater good

Imagine you could help motivated high school students in your community – those with extraordinary academic and leadership potential, who would not have access to advanced education for financial reasons. What if...you could offer these kids an education at one of our great colleges at no expense to them? The POSSE foundation has done exactly that. The program extends four-year full tuition scholarships, by partnering with one of 60 universities and colleges.   Each institution agrees to support 10 students as a group from a specific community – like Atlanta. The students are placed in carefully curated multicultural teams.  POSSE also provides the crucial social support required for these kids to fit in and thrive in an environment where the enrichment experiences of other students may differ greatly from their own. The amazingly successful structure of this program has shepherded over 8400 students to graduate successfully; which represents over 90% of those initially selected to participate. 


To tap the talent and leadership potential of post 911 veterans, they are now qualifying for the scholarship process. In September 2019, the first class of vets will proudly matriculate to the University of Chicago, on their way to a new life, and new ways to serve.


Opportunity starts as a circumstance of birth. Possibilities exist here in America that do not exist anywhere else in this world; including excellent public education. This coordinated effort recognizes clearly brilliant and capable kids are born to all kinds of families, of every race and every economic bracket. These scholars are our future; a natural resource of great potential that must be cultivated to the fullest. Let’s elevate great minds and change the world.


POSSE was the vision of Deborah Bial who in 1989 engaged colleges and universities in co-sponsoring the education of kids clearly exhibiting drive and brains. How can you help? The college provides an excellent full boat academic scholarship and private individuals (like me!) and insightful corporations pick up what’s left. The auxiliary cost is about $4,000.00 per student per year, much of it from small private gifts. This includes the guidance, transportation, and everything needed to insure success. We can help kids with limited options but unlimited potential; become world class leaders in one generation of enrichment.


Astute corporations are also stepping up to capture these scholars in prestigious internships, further enriching their experience – Judges , Senators, Museums, Hospitals, regardless of their own area of study an opportunity exists.


The alumni network is also becoming a powerful pipeline. The 4500 graduates from every discipline are able cross pollinate ideas to serve needed strategies for positive social change all over the world.

POSSE Foundation

POSSE – National Office

14 Wall Street, Suite 8A-60

New York, NY 10005


POSSE – Atlanta Office

101 Marietta Stree, N.W. Suite 1040

Atlanta, GA


Contact POSSE

info@possefoundation.org

atlanta@possefoundation.org  

ATL Office: (404) 751-3340 

Posse Partners

College and University Partners

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  • Agnes Scott College
  • Boston University
  • Brandeis University
  • Bryn Mawr College
  • Bucknell University
  • Cornell University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Davidson College 
  • Franklin & Marshall College
  • Hamilton College
  • Lafayette College
  • Middlebury College
  • Mount Holyoke College
  • Northwestern University
  • Oberlin College
  • Pepperdine University
  • Smith College
  • Syracuse University
  • Trinity College
  • Tulane University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Vassar College
  • Wesleyan University
  • Wheaton College
  • ...and more!

Career Partners

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  • 20th Century Fox
  • The Allstate Corporation
  •  Alnylam Pharmaceuticals 
  •  American Honda Motor Co
  •  Blue Cross Blue Shield 
  •  Boston Museum of Science 
  •  Capital Group 
  •  CBS Television Studios 
  •  Central Intelligence Agency 
  •  Discovery Communications 
  •  Fidelity Investments 
  •  Google 
  •  Health Net 
  •  Kroger 
  •  Liberty Mutual 
  •  Morgan Stanley
  •  Norwegian Cruise Line 
  •  Pandora 
  •  Paramount Pictures 
  •  Reebok International, Ltd. 
  •  Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD 
  •  Sony Pictures Entertainment 
  •  Teach For America 
  •  Turner Broadcasting System 
  •  United Talent Agency 
  •  Viacom Media Networks 
  •  The Walt Disney Companies 
  • ...and more!

Nomination Process

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The Posse Scholarship is neither a minority nor a need-based scholarship. It is open to students of all backgrounds. 

To be eligible, a high school senior must:

  • Be nominated by their high school or a community-based organization
  • Be in the first term of their senior year in high school
  • Demonstrate leadership within their high school, community or family
  • Demonstrate academic potential
  • Apply on time; depending on the Posse city, nominations are accepted between the spring and early August before each new school year begins

Posse seeks students who are:

  • Leaders in their high schools and communities
  • Committed to their education and demonstrate academic potential
  • Interested in teamwork and diversity
  • Positive, motivated, talented, ambitious young people

The Nutcracker, The Metropolitan Ballet Theatre

December 12, 2018 - The Metropolitan Ballet Theatre

Enrichment is the great equalizer

Unlike a typical dance school, stepping through the doors of Metropolitan Ballet Theatre reveals an unexpected atmosphere of calm and warmth. No cell phones, they have been placed in a basket at the front desk. Interaction with friends here is real, not virtual. 

Metropolitan Ballet Theatre founder, Prima Ballerina Maniya Barredo took her final curtain call on the stage of the Atlanta Ballet after twenty years. When she departed, she was already planning to establish a ballet school that would produce artists totally prepared for the demands of a professional dance career. Keep in mind even if you have what it takes, training as a lead dancer takes as long as it might to become a brain surgeon and also costs thousands of dollars. You have to LOVE it!


Tickets to the nutcracker in Atlanta can easily cost 1,000 dollars for a family of four; far from the reach of most middle class families.


To share their passion and grow lovers of Ballet, MBT spends thousands of dollars annually to provide enrichment to our community through: 

-quality in-school and community programs 

-free Nutcracker performances 

-free tickets to all performances for area charities

And annual scholarships for students committed to the work required for professional ballet career.


Real change in the world is possible through gifts like these. How could you estimate the positive impact on the imagination of a child seeing a real full production ballet…for the first time? Unaccustomed as they are to their share of life’s cultural treasures.

The dancers are always striving to improve their personal best, but incubating the unity of the company is the ultimate goal.  Growing wonderful people through parents and students working together to create a quality production and to share the beauty of a spectacular performance.


The dancers are taught that their education here must consist of more than conquering the perfect pirouette. Self-reliance, responsibility, integrity, and compassion are all part of what it takes to succeed; not just in art but in life. Discipline, focus, responsibility, and respect for others are all essential to the work year.


MBT devotes itself to the highest standard of classical training. This program is built on encouraging students in the rigorous and exact technique required to be more than a hobbist.  20 years ago MBT was one of very few programs in the world where a small town girl could train in a way that would actually prepare her for the New York Ballet.


Like large prestige programs in New York and San Francisco, MBT places many of its graduates directly into highly competitive professional dance companies. The remarkable internal strength training… serves its “civilian” alumni just as well.

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker, that herald of the Holidays, is coming with five performances December 14, 15, & 16. Staged at Blessed Trinity High School, this year marks Metropolitan Ballet Theatre's 17th production of the celebrated classic.


MBT's full-scale production follows Clara from her victory over the evil Mouse King, to a voyage with her Nutcracker Prince.  The travel through snowy hills to the Land of Sweets - a magical world of sparkling sugarplums, twirling angels, and dancing confections from around the world.

About MBT

Our Mission

The mission of Metropolitan Ballet Theatre (MBT) is to train young dancers in the art of classical ballet and promote excellence based on the highest standards of integrity and professionalism. Each dancer will be taught with respect, love, and responsibility.
The goals of Metropolitan Ballet Theatre are

  • To create performance opportunities
  • To introduce and expose dancers to different dance styles, choreography, and choreographers
  • To nurture dancers into the artists of the future

The purpose of MBT is to create an atmosphere of self-competition and inner growth, nurtured with love and mutual respect. Through this process, students learn the values of discipline, commitment, hard work, passion, integrity, respect, trust and excellence. 

The Admission Process

Metropolitan Ballet Theatre focuses on the individual needs of each dancer as it conducts pre-professional classes for students ages 10 through 21 in ballet, pointe, jazz, and modern dance.

  • Students 10 years and older must call to schedule an audition.
  • Training is offered for children ages 5 through 9 without audition.
  • Private coaching is available for currently enrolled students.
  • Professional dancers, former dancers, and instructors are welcome on a drop-in basis.

The Maniya Barredo Scholarship

Metropolitan Ballet Theatre is a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable tax-exempt organization. The leadership of the school is of minority background and a serious commitment exists to offer ballet and dance education to all interested students, regardless of their ability to pay for the world-class instruction they can receive at MBT.​If you would like to make a tax deductible donation in support of MBT’s scholarship program, please contact us!Awarded to a female dancer who has a passion for the Art of Dance and

  • Is committed to excellence
  • Shows dedication to professional ethics in class, rehearsals and performances
  • Possesses leadership skills in motivating others to strive for their personal best
  • Strives for educational achievement
  • Is goal oriented
  • Realizes her dream

November 12, 2018 - Erin's Hope for Friends

Providing acceptance for special people

Erin was a gentle, sensitive girl just slightly different in her manner than other kids her age…now because of that small variance she is gone. She took her life at 17.


Kids on the autism spectrum frequently have difficulty making friends – and even if they feel like they are making progress during the week, social networking posts prove to them they are not. Never invited to a party, or a movie, they can clearly see their classmates enjoying these activities – always without them.


In their grief, Erin’s parents Darren and Stacy Horst, wished there had been a place where Erin could have experienced the relief and comfort of true acceptance. Relief that could have made enough of a difference to save her life. 


So, from that dark and hopeless place, The Horst’s created E’s Club a bright comfortable place where other kids on the spectrum frequently excluded like Erin, could always feel welcome, accepted, and included. The Horst’s were determined to help protect other parents, from experiencing such a unbearable tragedy. E’s Club was born out of their sheer determination and the resolve of that vision, to serve others.


Frequently toddlers seem to be developing as expected – then without much warning it becomes clear this beautiful child is going to require a uniquely varied combination of opportunities to reach their true potential. Parents learn that the range of differences in these kids is so drastic that even getting help to define what is possible for them can be a nearly impossible.


While other students immerse themselves in the excitement of the college application process, many of these kids will experience this common rite of passage as further evidence that they are, and will always be outsiders. Entering adolescence brings a growing self-awareness for all kids. For kids on the spectrum it clarifies their difference – compounded and reinforced by the reactions of others.


In my own experience as a chaperone at E’s club I have spoken to high school seniors (who are college bound) about the philosophy of a civil society and the complex challenges of negotiating policy with North Korea. 


Sometimes I just sit at the table with members drawing quietly. The most socially confident students can even learn to play Pool. There are kids playing video games while more may choose to watch them in silence. However these young adults do, or do not, participate is totally ok. Here it is comfortable, because their silence or lack of eye contact is always unremarkable in this wonderfully predictable haven. 

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E's Club for Teens and Young Adults

More than a meeting place

E's Club is a place where teens ages 12 to seniors in high schools and young adults ages 18 to 24 with HFAS can meet to have fun, and develop meaningful friendships in a safe and encouraging environment. 

Open and Inviting

E’s Club features an open and inviting space where teenagers want to hang out so they can make meaningful connections and lasting friendships.  

Superior Staff on Hand

E's Club staff and volunteers are always on hand to provide oversight and encourage positive engagement. 

Fun and Interactive

Foosball, billiards, ping-pong, tables, board games, playing cards, and XBox gaming consoles for 2 or more players all help entertain and encourage interaction. 

Regular Social Outings

Planned around the specific interests of the group, social outings and field trips are scheduled for sports events, concerts, and outdoor activities like hiking. 

Activity-based Activities

Periodic social gathers are planned with a new theme or major activity introduced at each event. 

Contact Erin's Hope Today

About Us

Erin's Hope for Friends is a non-profit organization on a mission to create lasting relationships through joyful interactions for HFAS teen and young adults.


"A friend loves at all times; a brother is born for adversity." - Proverbs 17:17


www.erinshopeforfriends.org

Alpharetta Location

11940 Alpharetta Highway, #110 Alpharetta, GA 30009

678-390-4812 info@erinshopeforfriends.org

Hours

Open today

7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

This is a true story: Loren's Story

Loren had taught college all of her life. She loved it so much she could not bear to think of retirement. Happily married, a grandmother of six, she had lived a charmed existence 50 year marriage, that wasn’t until August 2018. It was then that Loren was diagnosed with a bad case of shingles. Common enough then it progressed to be a very serious case; and just when it started to look like it was getting better it doubled back with a vengeance. Sleep became impossible and simply showering and dressing became terribly painful. Traditional OTC pain meds were inadequate at this point so Loren and her husband were referred to a pain specialist. By this point she had been away from the University for 45 days and her husband had to leave his job to care for her.  She lost 25 pounds and had now stopped eating entirely. 


The pain specialist said it was the worst case he had ever seen and gave her a prescription and it helped a little but her usually vibrant health was failing. Being in this state for almost 2 months was now affecting her blood pressure, electrolytes, hydration, and multiple cellular systems that affect every function and organ in our bodies. This was a very rough road, shingles have become a systemic disease – unarmed. Loren did not seem in any way like the person she had become. No one understood what was happening. She was in and out of the hospital for a wide range of symptoms for the next two weeks and ended in rehab. Drugs with methadone were prescribed and now her body was addicted and insisting on more. 


Loren was not aware of her cravings because she had not chosen to take something that could be addictive. Her pain specialist said they did not offer step down services for people who became addicted in treatment. WHAT? How are people never involved with drugs supposed to figure this out? 


Loren was now a remnant of her former self. Her family and friends were in a total panic as she spiraled down; displaying symptoms more associated with mental illness than anything. She just wanted to die and get this now three month ordeal over with; – there was no hope in sight. Her husband Dean and their children were emotionally shattered and paralyzed and no one offered help, including the doctor who said to go back to on the methadone while they try to figure it out, by themselves! 


Luckily the story ends happily as a friend of theirs from church said a doctor in Florida did infusion therapy with colloidal silver to wash the bloodstream of opioid toxins and then flood the body with nutrients.  The next day the couple made the trip to Florida and in five days Loren was back from the brink. If she had not found this option or she could not afford it, like many seniors, she would’ve died for nothing from a bad case of shingles. She started out a full healthy person mind and body and her treatment –nearly killed her. 

September 2018

The Price of Freedom

James was 19 years old when he and his regiment began their 600-mile march to Gettysburg in 1862.  He was 95 when he returned there for the 75th Commemoration of that battle in 1938. It seems impossible to think that James and then 2 year-old John McCain could have both attended that event.


When I realized that my sister, who is still living, had been bounced upon James’ knee, it made that ancient Civil War something brand new and very real to me.  My mother‘s grandfather was a freer of slaves. What could have made him go? How did the issue of slavery have real relevance to him or to his community?  And what motivated the other 360,000 northern soldiers who lost their lives…in the interest of others.


Imagine the negative impact on wives and children left behind to face the natural dangers of a world without any convenience and vulnerability to much worse. This choice was made purposefully. Was it actually undertaken to gain the freedom of strangers whose welfare had no direct impact on these men or the lives of those they loved?


I have come to understand that they were defining the nation they wanted America to exemplify. A country built on freedom. 


This was a time of Nation building - by farmers and teachers and blacksmiths and barbers. Justice and righteousness were the tools of a people determined to create a civil society. Their intention was to create individual sovereignty unlike the monarchies of Europe and the rest of the world. 


So how is it possible to have a conversation about race in America that is not informed by the sacrifice of those 360,000 mostly white men given to gain the freedom of slaves?


I once felt like a revolutionary when I boarded buses to walk in Washington DC with Dr. King, but I was not; anymore than those who choose now to take a knee. In a world where we are all hungry for evidence of wisdom, or even commonsense - for compassion and natural virtue, I offer this column. It will be about how human experience is altered by those serving ideas or ideals beyond their own personal needs. How real transformation is possible when communities of people join to build solutions to inequality. You will be inspired by their insight, but I also hope you’ll be empowered by them to join in building a more civil and inclusive society.  


“Do not despair of our present difficulties. We believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.” - John McCain 1936 to 20

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