Wednesday, January 30, 2008


“Turning Disabilities into Possibilities” may soon be everyone’s favorite phrase in Alpharetta since The Marcus Institute opened its fourth statewide clinic in this dynamic and growing community. This move is part of The Marcus Institute's plans for statewide expansion to meet the need for pediatric developmental disabilities treatment in Georgia. Other locations include Athens, Savannah and Columbus.

According to the recent findings by the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, there are not enough sub-specialists around the state providing services to this population. The Marcus Institute Alpharetta, at 3300 Old Milton Parkway, Suite 360, is the fourth of 10 Child Psychiatric Clinics to open throughout the state of Georgia. Dr. Helen Panarites at The Marcus Institute, will begin holding monthly clinics on the second and fourth Fridays.

"It is The Marcus Institute‘s mission to fill this void," said John R. Lutzker, Ph.D., executive director of The Marcus Institute. “Historically, families seeking treatment have had to travel to Atlanta. Soon The Marcus Institute’s services will be available throughout the state.”

The statewide expansion will increase access to services for children living outside of Atlanta. Clinics will accept both Medicaid and private insurance. Psychiatry will be the first clinical sub-specialty to be introduced; additional services will be added based on the needs of the particular community.

“Our goal is to help children with developmental and behavioral disabilities participate as fully as possible in family, school and community environments,” said Dr. Lutzker.

Any child who might be able to benefit from involvement in the clinic is welcome. The clinic is currently accepting referrals for new patients. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact the intake department at 404.419.5300.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dillard's Celebrates Long Standing Partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities

Dillard's, Inc. (DDS-NYSE) ("Dillard's or "the Company") announced today that it will make a significant contribution of over $76,000 to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC(R)). This donation was made possible through the sale of Dillard's exclusive holiday CDs entitled Give a Little, Get a Lot.

In recognition of the varied musical tastes of its customers, the retailer produced two versions of the CD; one version featured country artists such as LeAnn Rimes and Randy Travis and another CD had renditions of Christmas favorites by contemporary artists such as Jewel and Tyler Hilton. Profits from those sales were earmarked to benefit Ronald McDonald Houses serving local communities in which Dillard's operates.

With this year's contribution, Dillard's has now donated over $3.8 million to Ronald McDonald Houses over the past 14 years. Denise Mahaffy, Vice President of Advertising for Dillard's, said, "Our long-standing commitment to Ronald McDonald House Charities and the support we lend to the good work the Houses do in our communities continues to be a source of pride for everyone at Dillard's."

Marty Coyne, Vice-President of Ronald McDonald House Charities, said, "Once again we are thankful to Dillard's for its steadfast support of Ronald McDonald House Charities over these many years. It is corporate sponsors like Dillard's that provide the invaluable help we need to fund our work helping families during those difficult days and nights when their seriously ill children are receiving medical care in hospitals away from home."

About Ronald McDonald House Charities

Ronald McDonald House Charities, a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation, creates, funds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well being of children. Its programs are grassroots-driven to enable the Charity to offer help where children need it most - right in their own communities. RMHC makes an immediate, positive impact on children's lives through its global network of local Chapters in nearly 50 countries and its three core programs: the Ronald McDonald House(R), Ronald McDonald Family Room and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. RMHC and its global network of local Chapters have awarded more than $440 million in grants and program services to children's programs around the world. For more information, visit

About Dillard's

Dillard's, Inc. ranks among the nation's largest fashion apparel and home furnishings retailers with annual revenues exceeding $7.8 billion. The Company focuses on delivering maximum fashion and value to its shoppers by offering compelling apparel and home selections complemented by exceptional customer care. Dillard's stores offer a broad selection of merchandise and feature products from both national and exclusive brand sources. The Company operates approximately 330 Dillard's locations spanning 29 states, all with one nameplate - Dillard's. For more information, visit

First Lady Hosts Kids First Event for “Totes 2 Tots”

1/18/08 Today First Lady Mary Perdue collected bags and suitcases for the sixth annual “Totes 2 Tots” suitcase drive. The drive, hosted by Georgia Cancer Specialists (GCS) and WSB-TV, is a volunteer event designed to provide suitcases to area foster children. Mrs. Perdue’s event in Decatur is a part of her ongoing effort through the Kids First Initiative, a program to highlight volunteer opportunities with abused and neglected children.

“Today’s event highlights the efforts of Georgians to help improve the lives of foster children in our communities,” said First Lady Perdue. “By traveling the state to talk about the Kid’s First Initiative, we can encourage others to make a difference in the life of an abused or neglected child.”

“Totes 2 Tots” delivers new or nearly new suitcases to foster children in Georgia, whom undergo frequent locations and must shuffle their few belongings from home to home – often in garbage bags or grocery sacks. The event expanded from 13 locations in 2003 to 25 locations this year where volunteers gathered to collect bags. The annual volunteer event was first launched by GCS in 2003 and has collected and distributed over 8,200 bags.

Kids First is an initiative of the Our Children Campaign. First Lady Mary Perdue travels across Georgia hosting monthly activities highlighting an area of volunteerism with abused and neglected children. Past Kids First events have included a baby shower to benefit Families First, Foster Parent Appreciation Night at the Governor’s Mansion, a book drive in North Georgia to benefit a local child advocacy center and an event for the children of the Atlanta Children’s Shelter.

“Some people may impact the lives of many children, but everyone has the ability to impact the life of at least one child,” said First Lady Mary Perdue. “It is my hope that every Georgian will make volunteerism a lasting part of their daily life.”

To find out more information or to learn how you can support the foster children in your community, visit and follow the link to the First Lady's Our Children Campaign or call 1-866-786-6661.

Monday, January 28, 2008

YMCA re: Bethel Park / Lake Lanier in Forsyth County

Our Metro YMCA Association has a huge opportunity to serve thousands of children and familes with an over night camp at Bethel Park/Lake Lanier in Forsyth. Currently our over night camp has a waiting list and many children are missing amazing experiences. The property to be developed is the Corps of Engineers.

The Corps of Engineers has opened a public comment period. After the period, it will decide to lease the property to the Y for the camp development or to Forsyth County for development of a 75 spot RV park. Additional information on the precise plan can be explored at .

The YMCA has a long history of delivering quality, mission driven inclusive programs. Remember your own Y experience and build upon that for thousands of children whom the Y impacts on an annual basis.

We need your help:
It only takes a few moments to make comments. Comments in support of the YMCA proposal can be submitted at the end of this E-Blast or you may go to the Corps website at:

Letters supporting the Metro Atlanta YMCA's proposal are welcome and needed. They may be forwarded to me by Feb.11. Fayette Family YMCA, 215 Huiet Road, Fayetteville, GA, 30215.

Your local YMCA Board, volunteers, members, and staff thank you for your assistance. We appreciate all each of you do throughout our community.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Caregivers Learn About 'Compassion Fatigue'

Many servicemembers who have experienced combat, and their families, are familiar with the term "combat stress." The effects of combat, however, aren't limited to those directly connected to the experience.

Stress can affect anyone who cares for those individuals, Dr. Joseph Bobrow, a clinical psychologist, told representatives of more than 100 troop-support organizations gathered at the Pentagon for the third annual America Supports You National Summit here today.

America Supports You is a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

"One of the things that we've learned from experience and research is that 'compassion fatigue,' and the potential for burning out, is not just limited to psychotherapists," he said. "Family members who are caring for wounded veterans are at risk. Veteran service workers, like yourselves, (and) volunteers (are at risk)."

Bobrow, who also is executive director of the Coming Home Project, a troop-support organization, said becoming overwhelmed by the experience of caring for servicemembers and their families is the nature of that work.

"We can anticipate this happening," he said. "It doesn't necessarily ... mean a psychiatric disorder, just like post-traumatic stress ... is not necessarily a psychiatric disorder.

"In fact, it's the body, mind and soul's way of coping with an impossible situation," he explained.

Volunteers can easily fall victim to emotions similar to those that they aim to ease in their charges, he told the support group members. "The same seed of empathy and compassion that draws us to the work that we do, if it's taken to an extreme, is the same seed that could lead us down the slippery slope to burnout," Bobrow said.

Burnout, or compassion fatigue, can be overcome, but it's better to avoid it to begin with, he said. Incorporating positive thoughts and actions into daily life builds resiliency against burnout.

He offered the group several suggestions on how to stave off compassion fatigue, most notably the need to develop the ability to recognize when things start to get overwhelming. When that happens, it's good for individuals to know what refreshes them, he said.

Keeping their attitudes about the work they're doing fresh and upbeat isn't just healthy for volunteers. It can be one of the best things for the people they're working with, Bobrow told the group.

"Our own capacity for peace and joy and well-being ... is really, fundamentally, what we end up giving the next person," he said. "That's what people pick up from us, so if our batteries have run out, then we're no longer those agents of compassion."

Bobrow shared his experiences and advice with two groups during the summit. Army Lt. Gen. Carter F. Ham, operations director for the Joint Staff, and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates also addressed the group, as did Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for internal communications and public liaison, the architect of the America Supports You program.

Breakout sessions from the summit were recorded and will be available on the America Supports You Web site.

Related Sites:
The Coming Home Project
America Supports You
Related Articles:
America Supports You Summit Helps Groups Build on Momentum

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Exceptional OPS Meeting: Brain Balance

Does your child or loved one have a Developmental Disability, AD/HD, Dyslexia, Autism, Asperser’s, Tourette’s, Learning Disability or Neurobehavioral Disorder?

Come and learn about a new program in our area; Brain Balance. The Brain Balance Program integrates physical (sensory and motor) activities with effective educational and behavioral methods as well as supportive nutritional initiatives to achieve optimum brain and body function. Dr. Pete Scire, Executive Director of Brain Balance will present this information.

Kimberly Steinberg will also provide information about nutritional programs that are crucial to your child’s neurological health along with recipes that support the Brain Balance Program.

Our meeting will begin Tuesday, 12 February 2008, at 7:00pm. Refreshments will be available and children are welcome in the care of their parents. Location is the same as always so meet us at 1279 Highway 54, Fayetteville on the Third Floor in meeting room C. For additional information call Janet Smola 770-631-1035.

Upcoming ExceptionalOPS Meetings:

March 11th – Summer Camp Forum – Multi Panel Discussion
April 15th – Guardianship – Explained and Clarified- Attorney Greg Rogers and Magistrate Judge Bob Ruppenthal
May 13th – Benefits Navigator – Sally Atwell
June 10th – Luau – Christ’s Church @ Whitewater 6:30-8:30PM

ExceptionalOPS is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization providing advocacy, information, supports and choices for Fayette residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Your tax-deductible contributions are encouraged and welcomed.Mailing Address: 256 Commerce Drive, Suite 447, Peachtree City, GA 30269

Office Location: 100 Governor’s Trace, Suite 107, Fayetteville, GA 30214Executive Director: Janet Smola - (770) 639-1035 or cell phone (770) 639-9169Email: Websites:

ExceptionalOPS does not endorse or recommend participation in programs offered by outside organizations. This information is being presented for your information only. The decision to adopt the practices of the presenter is entirely up to the participant.

Angels Among Us Dinner, Dance & Silent Auction

The Board of Directors of Fayette Youth Protection Homes, Inc. cordially invites you to theFifth Annual "Angels Among Us" Dinner, Dance & Silent Auction, Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Glendalough Manor
200 Glendalough Court
Tyrone, Georgia
(Highway 74 North & Dogwood Trail)

Featuring the music of "Genre"& "Those Two Guys"

Cocktail reception: 6:00 p.m.Dinner: 6:45 p.m.Dancing & Silent Auction: 8:00 - 11:00 p.m.
To reserve your ticket call 770-461-7020

A Special Thanks to our 2008 Signature Sponsors:
Anderson Advisory, Inc.
Brent Scarbrough & Associates
Community Capital Bank
Delta Community Credit Union
First Choice Community Bank
North Georgia Concrete
Robin St. John Realty Services
Southern Federal Credit Union

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sibling Group Helps Others With Loss

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

For decades, mothers and wives who lost a loved one in combat had a community of others who faced similar feelings to turn to for support.

Today, brothers and sisters of those killed in action have a similar support network.

Karen A. Hickman, of Indiana, founded Gold Star Siblings, Inc., so that siblings of deceased servicemembers had someone to lean on who understands what they're going through. "There has never been an organization just for siblings," she said. "Our goal is to become one voice, to reach out and help the ones trying to deal with such a traumatic loss."

That was something she didn't have when her brother was killed while serving in Vietnam.

"When the funeral took place, I felt like an outsider," Hickman said. "I had to grieve alone and where my parents couldn't see me because I had to be strong for them and my younger brother.
"I have never felt so alone," she added.

Gold Star Siblings grew from those feelings of isolation and Hickman's desire to never let another sibling suffer in silence. And while the members of her organization are not professional counselors, they certainly can understand what many siblings are facing today.

"We are just like (them): confused, angry, sad and always wondering, 'Why him or her, and not me? Why was our world turned upside down?'" she said. "We have been there, and everyday the thought is always with us."

Helping each other through grief, in part, means presenting a Gold Star flag to the oldest sibling, Hickman said. If there are other siblings, they receive Gold Star lapel pins.

If the family requests, Gold Star Sibling members also will stay with them during a servicemember's funeral.

Gold Star Siblings is a new supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

Hickman said she hopes the affiliation will offer her organization exposure and the networking opportunities to let everyone know she and other Gold Star Siblings are there for those who need their help.

Related Sites:
Gold Star Siblings Inc.
America Supports You

Former National Children's Alliance Director Tapped to Lead Georgia Center for Child Advocacy

The Georgia Center for Child Advocacy announced today the appointment of Nancy Chandler as its new Executive Director.

The Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, established in the fall of 2007 with the merger of the Fulton County Child Advocacy Center and The Georgia Center for Children, is a private, non-profit agency that facilitates the healing for children and families that have experienced child sexual abuse.

“Nancy has been a child advocate for more than 20 years, and we are honored to have her join us in the fight against child sexual predators in Georgia,” said Bernard Porché, board chairman of The Georgia Center for Child Advocacy.

Chandler comes to the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy after having spent thirteen years as Executive Director of the National Children’s Alliance in Washington, D.C. She obtained her master’s degree in social work from the University of Georgia and decided early in her career to focus on helping children and adult survivors of sexual abuse.

"It is an honor to lead such an outstanding effort for the children of Atlanta, and I am proud to be a part of the future of the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy," said Chandler.

Prior to her work at the National Children's Alliance, Chandler was the executive director of the Memphis Child Advocacy Center and was a social worker in the Memphis City Schools Mental Health Center. She is a founding Board member and has served as president of the National Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers and is on the National Advisory Board for Darkness to Light a national program aimed at educating adults about preventing child sexual abuse. She was named Social Worker of the Year for the Tennessee Chapter in 1994.

“Nancy has been a strong voice for children for the past 14 years. Her vision and leadership will result in continued improvements in intervention for sexually abused children and prevention of child sexual abuse,” said LaVann Landrum, interim executive director for The Georgia Center for Child Advocacy. “Not only has Nancy been a leader and spokesperson for child advocacy centers, but her strong commitment to preventing child sexual abuse mirrors the Center’s vision of training 1 million Georgia adults to prevent abuse."

This year, the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy will celebrate twenty years as a non-profit agency. The Center, which was originally founded as the Georgia Center for Children in DeKalb County in 1987, has offered assistance and healing for more than 9,200 children and their families.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Amber Alert Cancelled

The Amber Alert issued on 01/19/08 on behalf of the Pennsylvania State Police, Dublin Station has been cancelled pending further investigation.

More information may be available at


Amber Alert Issued for Pennsylvania Girl

The Pennsylvania State Police has issued an Amber Child Abduction Alert for the Pennsylvania State Police Dublin Station, Bucks County.

The Dublin Station is searching for a 7 - 9 year old white female, brown shoulder length straight hair, wearing a pink/purple outfit. She was last seen on Main Street, Trumbauersville Borough, Bucks County at 1:55 PM this date.

She was reported abducted by an older skinny white male, wearing a hooded jacket. He fled the area westbound toward Kumry Road in an older model white sedan.

Anyone with information about the abduction should immediately contact the police by calling 911.

Visit for more information

Friday, January 18, 2008

Troops get DVD's and cards for Valentine's Day!

What a wonderful idea! I know they must appreciate the movies. There are so many Americans with huge hearts. - HH

Partnership Remembers Troops at Valentine's Day
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2008 - Troops serving in Iraq this February will see a little Valentine love from the states thanks to a partnership between a troop-support group and a regional video store.

On Jan. 15, 25 Family Video stores in the Central Illinois area began collecting DVDs and Valentines for the troops, said Eric Schuller, president of Operation Homefront's Illinois chapter. The effort is part of the "Send a Soldier a Movie and a Valentine" campaign, which will end January 29.

Operation Homefront is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

"By sending this small gesture of a movie and a Valentine you are showing the men and women in the military that we care for them and what they are doing for us on a daily basis," Schuller said.

Family Video also is providing a card for the Valentine message as well as a $2 discount on any DVD patrons purchase in the store for the program.

Just after the program kicked off, the video chain announced it would match DVD donations one-for-one, Schuller said.

"If we collect 5,000, they'll donate another 5,000," he said. "That's huge."

Raelene Ohanesian, Family Video's director of sales and marketing, said the company is proud to team with Operation Homefront on this project. "Family Video has had a long-standing commitment in supporting the men and women who ensure our freedoms," she added.

For more information on participating in "Send a Soldier a Movie and a Valentine," please visit the Web site of Operation Homefront's Illinois chapter.

Operation Homefront Illinois
America Supports You

Thursday, January 17, 2008

PTCUMC Now Hosting Food Distribution Ministry

Beginning in February, Peachtree City United Methodist Church will serve as the first host site for Angel Food Ministries in Peachtree City. Angel Food Ministries (AFM) is a non-profit, non-denominational organization that began in 1994 as a small outreach ministry serving a rural community in Georgia. Their goal was to help people who needed a hand up in a tough economic time. Today, Angel Food Ministries can be found in over 3,200 communities in 35 states and helps feed over 500,000 families a month.

PTCUMC will partner with Angel Food to help distribute food to families in need in the Peachtree City area. For $30 a family can purchase a box of food containing both fresh and frozen items that would cost $50 or more at local stores. The menu, which changes each month, is published in both English and Spanish on the AFM website at so that it can be viewed prior to placing an order. The February box will contain 11 lbs of beef, chicken and pork, 7 lbs of fresh and frozen vegetables and fruit, a jar of peanut butter, a box of soup mix, one box of cereal, a package of dried beans and one dessert.

By purchasing the basic box, you are then eligible to order one or more monthly special. In February there are three specials:

· 6.5lb Steak and Meat Combo, $20
· 3.75lb Prime Rib Steak Box, $19
· 10lb Chicken Combo Box, $18

The public is invited to make food orders in person at PTCUMC on either of two dates each month, which will be about two weeks before the delivery date, with payment in cash or food stamps (EBT) at the time the order is placed. Orders for the February shipment will be taken at the PTCUMC Children and Youth Campus, 400 Windgate Rd, on these dates:

· Thursday, Jan. 31, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM
· Saturday, Feb. 2, from 8:30 – 10:00 AM

Paid orders must be picked up on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 9:00 – 10:30 AM, at 400 Windgate Rd. At that time menus, order dates and the delivery date for the month of March will be available.

For further information, contact the church at 770-487-6499 or visit the church website at

Autism Speaks Family Services LECTURE SERIES

Autism Speaks’ Georgia Regional Office announces the 2008 “Autism Speaks Family Services" lecture series. This six-lecture series will address important topics for parents and caregivers of children with autism.

Educating Children with Autism - Pitfalls of the IEP process
Thursday, January 31, 2008, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. at The Marcus Institute.
Leading the education a session will be Jon Zimring, renowned Special Education Attorney from Zimring & Associates, who will discuss “Pitfalls of the IEP Process.” He will be joined by Heather Taylor, M.A. CCC-SLP, Cobblestone Therapy Group, and author of “The Role of Speech Therapy in Education Programs for Children with Autism.” Heather will also discuss how to effectively write IEP goals for speech for children with autism. Susan K. Tauber, Founder and Executive Director of the Adaptive Learning Center, Inc., an early intervention program that partners children with disabilities with Atlanta area preschools, will discuss the importance of early intervention in an inclusion setting.

Team Captain Training - How to lead a successful Team
Thursday, February 21, 2008, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. at The Marcus Institute.
Thinking about becoming a Team Captain? Were you a Team Captain last year and wished you could have increased your fundraising amounts? Join with the Georgia Walk for Autism Team Recruitment Committee and learn why being a successful Team Captain is more than just showing up on Walk Day. Team Captains are responsible for encouraging their team to be the best fund-raisers possible. This does not have to be a daunting task, being a Team Captain can be not only a fun role to play, but also can be incredibly rewarding.Previous Team Captains and Walk participants will share online registration tips, recruitment tools and fundraising ideas. This will be a strength building lesson for us all.

How to Pay for it All : Financial and Estate planning targeted to parents of children with disabilities”
Thursday, March 13, 2008 from 7:00 – 9:00pm at TBD:
Leading the discussion will be Pam Hoppe, Financial Planner at Metlife, and MetDESK Specialist - MetLife's Division of Estate Planning for Special Kids. She will be joined by Mark Biernath, Law Offices of Mark E. Biernath, an attorney specializing in Estate Planning and Special Needs Planning and Ann Elliott, A Labor of Love, Medicaid and Deeming Waiver Consultant who has obtained more than 60 Deeming Waiver approvals for her clients.

Temple Grandin: Accomplished Adult
Thursday, April 25, 2008 from 7:00-9:00pm at the CDC Roybal Campus
Thomas Harkin Global Communications Center (Building 19)Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is one of the most accomplished and well-known adults with autism. She has been featured on major television programs, such as ABC’s “Primetime Live” and “20/20,” NBC’s “Today Show,” CNN’s “Larry King Live,” and CBS’s “48 Hours” and in national publications, such as Time, People, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, and New York Times.

Dr. Grandin didn’t talk until she was three and a half years old, communicating her frustration instead by screaming, peeping, and humming. In 1950, she was diagnosed with autism and her parents were told she should be institutionalized. She tells her story of “groping her way from the far side of darkness” in her book Emergence: Labeled Autistic.

Today, Dr. Grandin is a designer of livestock handling facilities and a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She also speaks around the world on autism. Please plan on joining us to hear Dr. Grandin tell her story in recognition of Autism Awareness Month.

Taking Care of Yourself is as Important as Taking Care of Your Child”
Thursday, May 15, 2008 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Marcus Institute.

Leading the discussion will be Moshe Manheim, Senior Clinical Social Worker at The Marcus Institute, who will discuss ways to reduce stress and keep your marriage healthy while raising a child with autism. Joining her will be Aida Miles, Registered and Licensed Dietician at The Marcus Institute, who will discuss ways to keep you and your family healthy.

These programs are complimentary and open to the public, but space is limited and reservations are required. For more information and to make reservations, call 770.451.0570.

Georgia Walk for Autism

The 2008 Georgia Walk for Autism, set for April 12, 2008 in Atlantic Station, will benefit two organizations – Autism Speaks and The Marcus Institute – together dedicated to increasing awareness of the growing autism epidemic. Autism is a developmental disability that is rising in prevalence with alarming speed. It is estimated that 10,000 children in the state of Georgia are affected by autism, a disorder of unknown origin that has no known cure. The Walk for Autism is one of some 60 Walks held around the country, but Georgia’s is the only one benefiting both research (Autism Speaks) and treatment (Marcus Institute).

Each and every Walk for Autism participant, whether a co-chair, a committee member, a team captain, a walker or a donor, plays a critical role by championing the cause to advance and accelerate autism education, advocacy, awareness and research. For more information on participating in Atlanta’s Walk for Autism, please visit

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mentors Needed

VOLUNTEER MENTOR NEEDED. Mentors have a unique opportunity to participate in a variety of exciting and rewarding activities, including but not limited to sports, cultural events, art projects, games, and tutoring. For more information, please call (770) 716-1690.

MENTEES NEEDED. Children of Promise Mentoring Program matches Mentors with youth ages 4 to 18, who have at least one parent incarcerated. The Children must live in Fayette, S. Fulton, Clayton, or Henry County. Mentors provide young people with a positive role model. Call 770-716-190 for more information.

FREE MENTOR TRAINING. Tuesdays and Wednesdays @ 6:30 PM. Call 770-716-1690 to Register Today!


When students excel, they win. When an entire school system excels, everyone wins – parents, teachers, communities….and kids. In what amounts to a heartwarming equivalent of getting an “A,” the KidsPeace Bowdon school system, which helps children who have been through emotional crises was recognized by the Georgia Council for Administrators of Special Education as a statewide leader in excellence.

Following the Council’s annual fall conference, a letter of notification was sent out declaring that the "KidsPeace School System was recognized as a leader in the state of Georgia for outstanding efforts to improve the performance of students with disabilities."

KidsPeace, a 125-year-old national children’s charity that helps youngsters overcome crises, has a long history of academic success at its schools Though kids in crisis such as abuse and neglect often fall behind in school, a 17-year study done in Pennsylvania shows that children who had been progressing only half a year for each academic year more than doubled their progress in KidsPeace schools, gaining 1.25 years for each year in the system.

“This is a huge accomplishment especially when you consider the number of schools throughout the state that were hoping to get this honor,” said Scott Merritt, executive director of KidsPeace Bowdon. “One of the most significant indicators of resident's success after discharge is determined by their accomplishments in education. This recognition proves that our residents are making the progress they need to be successful once they return to the community.”

“This is a wonderful honor,” said KidsPeace Acting President Dr. Lorrie Henderson. “Congratulations to Scott Merritt, Education Manager Patricia Swint, and our entire education team. This recognition demonstrates what we have long known – that our education department is making a difference in the lives of our kids and doing outstanding work.”

KidsPeace is a 125-year-old national children’s crisis charity dedicated to giving hope, help, and healing to children facing crisis. With four centers in Georgia, including a major residential campus in Bowdon, KidsPeace directly helps thousands of children a day with life-saving treatment to overcome the crises of growing up. Supported by VIP leaders, including its national spokesperson Leeza Gibbons and child safety and self-esteem icon RETRO BILL, KidsPeace helps millions more each year through prevention and awareness campaigns designed to help America’s kids and parents avoid and overcome the kinds of crises that can strike any child – from disasters and personal traumas to family issues and life crises. KidsPeace was named “The Outstanding Organization” of its kind in the country by the American Association of Psychiatric Services for Children and was called “a prototype of what we need for all children everywhere” by the late, nationally renowned child and family expert, Dr. Lee Salk

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Walk to Raise Autism Awareness

The Marcus Institute and Autism Speaks Host the 2008 Georgia Walk for Autism

Statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that about one in 150 American children is affected by autism. In Georgia, these statistics are one in 131. Autism is a developmental disability that is rising in prevalence with alarming speed. It is estimated that more than 10,000 children in the state of Georgia are affected by autism, a disorder of unknown origin that has no known cure. The Marcus Institute and Autism Speaks are joining forces to raise awareness of autism by hosting the 2008 Georgia Walk for Autism on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 8:30 a.m. at Atlantic Station. The two organizations are calling on Georgians to form Walk teams and to register now for the three-mile walk. All proceeds will benefit both organizations equally. For more information on the Georgia Walk for Autism and to register, visit, or call 770-451-0570.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Christian City, a nonprofit, nondenominational organization serving less fortunate and neglected children as well as seniors, the elderly and the infirm, is calling on the community for financial donations, gift cards, and pantry items. The following is a list of needs for the Home for Children/Children's Village:

Batteries (AA, AAA, C, D)
Paper towels, plates and napkins
Boxed Drinks (100% Juice)
Canned Fruit
Boxed Dinners
Peanut Butter, Jelly
Toilet Paper and facial tissue
Laundry Detergent – powdered or liquidSoaps (hand or bar)
Cleaning Supplies
Canned Fruit
Crackers, chips, snack cakes (individually wrapped)
Gift cards to local stores such as Wal Mart, Target, Kroger, Ingles

Christian City, located in Union City, relies on community support to continue to meet the needs of the children in their care. To make a donation, sponsor a child, become a volunteer or for more information on the Home for Children and the new Children's Village under construction, please contact Phil Kouns, Chief Operating Officer of Children's Services at 770-703-2641 or access

Governor Perdue Announces Hands On Challenge Grants

Governor Sonny Perdue announced today the availability of $115,000 in funding to communities interested in implementing or expanding volunteer programming in their local cities and towns.

“In the three years the Hands On Georgia State Challenge Grants have been offered, I have been pleased with the innovative ways in which Georgia’s communities have used the funding to implement engaging and accessible volunteer opportunities,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.

“Across the state, local communities face daily challenges to meet the needs of their citizens. This funding allows community leaders to offer viable solutions to fulfill those needs.”
Hands On Georgia and The Georgia Department of Community Affairs jointly distribute the grants to local governments that partner with community agencies with plans to engage volunteers in service.

The available funding represents the second round of grants made available to Georgia communities. The first round of grants totaling nearly $85,000 was awarded in November at the Georgia Summit on Volunteerism. The grant requires each recipient to match the grant award with locally raised funds, dollar for dollar, bringing the total leveraged amount of statewide community funding to $400,000.

Hands On Georgia Challenge Grants totaling $400,000 were awarded to 25 communities in the past three years. Cities receiving grants include: Athens; Atlanta; Columbus; Dalton; Eatonton; Harlem; Macon; Milledgeville; Reidsville; Rome; Savannah; Tifton and Statesboro. County-wide grants have been awarded to: Cook County; Cordele/Crisp County; Dodge County; Dooly County; Fannin County; Forsyth County; Glynn and McIntosh Counties; Newton County; Thomas County; Wayne County and Webster County.

Hands On Georgia is a statewide network that supports innovative volunteer approaches to meeting Georgia’s critical needs. The program calls upon the citizens of Georgia to help tackle tough issues in our state through volunteer service and engaged citizenship.

Hands On Georgia currently has 19 affiliates in the communities of Adairsville, Athens, Atlanta, Coastal Georgia (Glynn and McIntosh Counties), Columbus, Dalton, Dooly County, Forsyth County, Harlem, Hall County, Liberty County, Macon, Milledgeville, Newton County, Rome/Floyd County, Savannah, Statesboro, Thomas County and Wayne County.

Download an application for the Hands On Georgia and The Georgia Department of Community Affairs State Challenge Grant at For more information about Hands On Georgia email or call 404.979.2910.

Nationwide Effort Reaches Fayette County, Georgia

What started as one Ohio man’s idea to honor WWII veterans has turned into a nationwide movement that has reached Fayette County, Georgia, and donations are being sought to assist.
Earl Morse, a physician assistant and retired Air Force captain who also has his private pilot license, conceived the Honor Flight Network. The concept is to enlist the aid of private or commercial pilots and aircraft to fly WWII veterans on a one-day, roundtrip visit to the WWII War Memorial in Washington, D.C. free of charge. The idea was picked up in Fayette County by retired school teacher Gail Sparrow and local resident Mark Buckner and has led to Honor Flight Fayette Foundation, Inc.

After retiring from the Air Force in 1998, Morse started working for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Springfield, Ohio. In 2004 after the WWII War Memorial was completed in Washington, D.C., it became the center of discussion among his WWII veteran patients.
Over time, Morse noticed that many of the veterans who expressed a desire to visit the memorial couldn’t do so because of limited resources or physical limitations. He decided to do something about it. So he asked one of his WWII patients if he could personally fly him to the memorial free of charge. “Mr. Loy broke down and cried,” said Morse. “He said at his age he thought he would never get to see the memorial. He accepted the offer.”

A week later Morse asked a second veteran the same question and got the same answer. He realized that there was a need.

He addressed members of his flying club about the idea of flying veterans to the memorial with two stipulations: it couldn’t cost the veteran and the pilots had to personally escort the veteran at the memorial. Eleven pilots volunteered, and Honor Flight was born.

Honor Flight Fayette kicked off its effort with a sign-up blitz at local Chick-fil-A’s in early December 2007. That first initiative netted 50 veterans and guardians who signed up for the flights. Since the Chick-fil-A signups, the number has grown to 65. Each veteran will be paired with a family member or other volunteer who will pay their own way at a cost of about $350.

“Our goal was to get that first group of veterans signed up for the initial flight,” said Sparrow, whose father was a WWII Navy veteran but passed away before the memorial was built. “The WWII veterans protected my freedom and my way of life, and now it’s my time to say thank you for what they’ve done.”

It is estimated that as many as 1,200 WWII veterans are passing away each day across the nation. Fayette County has a high percentage of retired or former service men and women who were in WWII. This program is expected to generate many requests, so organizers are seeking donations.

Sparrow emphasized that they are not accepting any money from the veterans, but she and fellow organizers feel that Fayette County is populated by generous citizens who have the resources to help show appreciation for what these veterans did for our nation.
“As a 501 c (3) we are able to accept donations that are 100 percent tax deductible,” said Sparrow. She emphasized that donations can also be made in honor of or in memory of individuals.

Donors can make tax deductible donations to Honor Flight of Fayette, Inc.

“This trip will probably be their “last hurrah,” the last time they will be recognized as heroes and conquering victors that collectively and literally saved the world,” said Honor Flight founder Morse. “All day long at the WWII monument they will be thanked, recognized and admired for their service. These veterans will remember the kindness and adoration shown to them for the rest of their lives. They will all have a deeper appreciation for how much their country loves them and will miss them.”

For more information about Honor Flight Fayette, visit website or call Mark Buckner at 770-231-6708. For information on the national program visit

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Foundation Offers Military Families Financial Help

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2008 - Servicemembers on extended deployments can rest easier knowing that if their family experiences an unexpected financial emergency, help is available.

The American Soldier Foundation was created to assist servicemembers on extended duty and their families, Daniel Wright, the organization's president, said. Assistance also can extend to families of those killed in the line of duty.

"We believe that the lives of the men and women keeping our country safe should not be any harder than they have to be," Wright said. "The foundation can provide grants or interest-free loans for medical expenses, education, funeral expenses, marriage counseling, financial planning and a wide variety of other services."

Through its Web site, the organization also offers resources for education, family life, employment and personal finance. Military families can get advice on whether to buy or rent a home, check current mortgage rates or even determine how much a skill set is worth in different job markets.

The American Soldier Foundation recently became a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

"I think the (affiliation) with America Supports You will provide a lot of exposure for a cause that can never be paid too much attention," Wright said. "There is no more valiant, heroic and, regrettably, too often a thankless job in this world than a (servicemember) in the United States military.

"It is because of these individuals that the rest of us can go to work, raise our families, and keep this country," he added.

TechBridge Technology Innovation Award for Nonprofits

TechBridge is now accepting applications for the seventh annual Technology Innovation Award, which is granted each year to the nonprofit that best demonstrates the innovative use of technology. If you (or a nonprofit with which you work) have completed a technology initiative which has positively impacted your mission, efficiency of daily operations, effectiveness in serving clients, and/or fundraising, advocacy or volunteer efforts, we want to hear your story. Given by Accenture, the award provides more than $45,500 in TechBridge consulting services, Microsoft software and cash to the winner and over $16,500 in TechBridge consulting services, Microsoft software and cash to two finalists. Both winner and finalists will be featured at TechBridge's Digital Ball on May 10th, 2008, when the award is presented, as well as highlighted in numerous promotional materials and profiled in a special April supplement running in the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Visit to apply. All applications are due by Feb. 8, 2008.

Save the Date for the 18th Annual Georgia Nonprofit Summit

May 5 – 6th at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, Georgia. Two days of thought provoking workshops, inspiring keynote speakers, complimentary consulting clinics with seasoned experts in their field, networking opportunities and much, much more! For more information and to register online,

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Avenue Raises Funds to Help Students and Families in Need

The Fayette County School System's Children at Risk in Education (CARE) program supports students and their families who are in need due to life changes not in their control. The Avenue Peachtree City has partnered with the school system's CARE program to help provide funding needed to meet the needs of those students, enabling them to have a successful and enriching educational experience.

In January, The Avenue presented CARE Coordinator Karen Spangler with $1,518 that was raised through its Breakfast with Santa program.

"The proceeds will be used to meet qualifying needs from our Angel Tree that were not met during the holidays with the remainder being used throughout the year to meet ongoing needs of students," says Spangler.

"We are very grateful to The Avenue for the hard work and effort that went into making the fundraiser so successful. Because of their efforts, we can better meet the needs of our students."
In addition to the donation, the CARE program received another gift from The Avenue. Marketing Manager Kim Tanaglo-Minshew announced that the shopping center would raise money each month for CARE by expanding its summer Camp Avenue program to a monthly schedule.

"We will continue making CARE our charitable organization for Camp Avenue. The monthly schedule gives shoppers an opportunity to make donations all year long instead of just June and July," she says.

At the beginning of the school year, Camp Avenue donated hundreds of school supplies that were divvied up among Fayette's schools for distribution to students who needed them.

CARE carefully screens students and families who receive assistance. The parents must be employed but unable to meet the needs for which they are requesting assistance. No money is given directly to parents or students. Anyone wishing to make a donation to CARE can do so by contacting Spangler at the LaFayette Educational Center, 770-460-3990.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Serving Neighbors One Box at a Time

This is a loooonnnngggg blog entry. But this was such a neat idea and so innovative that rather than just stick a bit on here and link to the site, we're putting a LOT on here and linking to the site. Here's the link just in case you don't want to scan down through all the following:

Angel Food Ministries

Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to providing grocery relief and financial support to communities throughout the United States. The program began in 1994 with 34 families in Monroe, Georgia (between Atlanta and Athens), and has grown to serve hundreds of thousands of families every month across 35 states. Angel Food Ministries crosses denominational lines and has spread the good news of the gospel of Christ through salvation tracts that are placed in each food order.
Blessings by the box

Angel Food is available in a quantity that can fit into a medium-sized box at $30 per unit. Each month's menu is different than the previous month and consists of both fresh and frozen items with an average retail value of approximately $60. Comparison shopping has been done across the country in various communities using a wide range of retail grocery stores and has resulted in the same food items costing from between $42 and $78.

Generally, one unit of food assists in feeding a family of four for about one week or a single senior citizen for almost a month. The food is all the same high quality one could purchase at a grocery store. There are no second-hand items, no damaged or out-dated goods, no dented cans without labels, no day-old breads and no produce that is almost too ripe.

Also offered are specialty boxes such as steaks, chicken and pork. Many participants in this bonus program appreciate the expanded choices. Additionally, there is no limit to the number of units or bonus foods an individual can receive, and there are no applications to complete or qualifications to which participants must adhere. Angel Food Ministries also participates in the U.S. Food Stamp program, using the Off-Line Food Stamp Voucher system.

How the Program works

Orders and distribution are handled by church host sites. Orders are collected by the host sites during the first part of each month. These orders are then turned in to the Angel Food main office in Monroe, Georgia, on a predetermined date. Several days later, in the same month, the host site either picks up the food from Angel Food's 160,000 square feet warehouse to fill the orders on Distribution Day or, because this ministry is growing nationwide, food is delivered to the host site by a pre-arranged delivery mode. In most cases, as long as there is a truck headed in the direction of a community who wants this program and sees its ministry influence, there are no extra transportation costs.

Interested in your church or organization becoming a host site?

Click here for more information and application instructions

It's both a Bargain and a Blessing!

Sample Menu: (this month's menu can be examined by clicking here)
4 lb. IQF Leg Quarters
4 oz. Beef Back Ribs
1 lb. 80/20 Lean Ground Beef
2 lb. Breaded Chicken Tenders
1.5 lb. Bone in Pork Chops (4 x 6oz.)
1 lb. Ground Turkey
18 oz. Stuffed Manicotti (Cheese)
12 oz. Smoked Sausage
Betty Crocker Seasoned Potatoes
7 oz. Cheeseburger Dinner
16 oz. Green Beans
16 oz. Baby Carrots
2 lb. Onions
1 lb. Pinto Beans
1 lb. Rice
7 oz. Blueberry Muffin Mix
10 ct. Homestyle Waffles
Dessert Item

Blessings at Work

There are two main administrative issues a host site will need to address. First is the order taking process. Once the program is underway, a church or non-profit organization with a vision for helping their community can organize one or two delegated individuals whose job is to process the orders. These orders can be taken at a table in the foyer of a church or perhaps a kiosk setup with a banner. Typically, this takes one to two days per month and includes orders taken by phone, submitted by mail, by email, by fax, in person or through envelopes or order forms used for that purpose. The individuals in charge of this first step will process simple paperwork, which would include a form, cash, checks and food stamps. One check for the total order from the sponsoring host site, plus any food stamps, is sent to Angel Food Ministries. This order from the host site is due on a predetermined Monday of a given month. The second administrative matter, Distribution Day, includes the presence of church and community volunteers who come together to perform duties ranging from setting up and filling boxes and containers to clean up or assisting disabled or elderly customers with carrying their containers to their cars. Most host sites do not deliver to their community; customers are urged to pick up their food at the host site location, bringing their own boxes or baskets to be filled.

Distribution Day is where the rubber meets the road. People are working together for common goals, they meet new friends or perhaps life-changing conversations take place. Socio-economic distinctions are forgotten and the church begins to regain its God-ordained presence as the centerpiece of the community. If the host site is organized well, it is possible that those picking up food will be there less than two minutes; while others, the volunteers, can expect a two- to four-hour time of reward, working with one another and helping others. Distribution Day then becomes for many the one day in the month when a sense of fulfillment through service and a life of purpose becomes a reality. Practically, 6 to 8 workers can handle 250 units of food, but wise pastors and leaders will encourage other volunteers to be there to experience the joy.

Using the quality food at significant discounts offered on a regular basis is a real and practical way to say clearly that you care. It also infuses a reminder of the value that God places on humans everywhere and that they deserve every opportunity that can be offered them in the name of love and friendship.

Churches that participate in Angel Food Ministries benefit in many ways:

Gives church members hands-on experience and training with rewarding service to others.

Provides food for those that desperately need it, as well as help offsite food costs for middle class families who also struggle with debt and other financial pressures -- everyone qualifies.

Each month, Angel Food Ministries makes a donation to community outreach funds.

Gives churches and organizations an effective outreach to the community to meet real needs in a genuine way -- often times drawing new participants and visitors into the mission at hand.

Getting the Word Out

To get the word out to your church and community -- just tell them. How? Word of mouth, door hangers and brochure literature, your website, advertisements in local newspapers, press releases or by giving a unit of food as a gift. Additionally, if your organization finds the right opportunity with local TV and radio stations, they might run information about your involvement with Angel Food at no cost, as they are required by law to broadcast a certain amount of Public Service Announcements (PSA). Ask them if you can help them meet their legal quota of PSAs.

It is also possible to join hands with corporations who may be interested in holiday endeavors to distribute food. Your church's enthusiastic volunteers, a generous corporation's funding and the capacity of Angel Food Ministries can be used to touch expanded portions of the community and deliver quality food to those who would appreciate it the most during the various holidays seasons throughout the year.

The Art of Getting Attention

The Art of Getting Attention,” Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008 from 2:30-3:30 p.m. EST. The Assembly is gratified to host this session and one on February 19th from 2:30-3:30 p.m. EST, “How to Get Your Message Out in the Digital Age,” a mini-series on marketing for nonprofits, particularly because both are presented by the leading experts in the field—the Ad Council! Mark your calendar and share this information with colleagues. Stay tuned for registration and webinar details...

TechBridge Technology Innovation Award for Nonprofits

TechBridge is now accepting applications for the seventh annual Technology Innovation Award, which is granted each year to the nonprofit that best demonstrates the innovative use of technology. If you (or a nonprofit with which you work) have completed a technology initiative that has positively impacted your mission, efficiency of daily operations, effectiveness in serving clients, and/or fundraising, advocacy or volunteer efforts, we want to hear your story. Given by Accenture, the award provides more than $45,500 in TechBridge consulting services, Microsoft software and cash to the winner and over $16,500 in TechBridge consulting services, Microsoft software and cash to two finalists. Both winner and finalists will be featured at TechBridge’s Digital Ball on May 10, 2008, when the award is presented, as well as highlighted in numerous promotional materials and profiled in a special April supplement running in the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Click on the link below to apply. All applications are due by February 8, 2008.

Apply for the TechBridge Innovation Award

Project Overcoat

Project Overcoat provides thousands of new and gently used coats and blankets to men, women and children in need. The coats and blankets are distributed to local nonprofit organizations.

This annual event is sponsored by Atlanta Union Mission, FOX 5, KISS 104.1 FM, FedEx, Kroger and United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta.

To apply for your organization to receive coats and blankets to distribute, click on the link below. Application deadline is Friday, January 18. For more information click here . If you have any questions, please email

Project Overcoat application form

Regions “Accounts That Count” Campaign Contributes $750,000 to Toys for Tots This Holiday Season

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE: RF) announced today a total contribution of $750,000 to Toys for Tots as a result of its “Accounts that Count” campaign – a program specifically designed to benefit Toys for Tots this holiday season. Today, 10,000 deserving children throughout the 16 states where Regions serves customers are enjoying new bikes and helmets due to the success of the campaign and subsequent donation.

What became a lasting, meaningful gift-giving solution, the “account that counts” offered Regions customers the opportunity to contribute toward the purchase of bikes for children in need. For anyone who opened a qualifying account through December 31, 2007, Regions made a donation through its Toys for Tots Bike Fund.

Advertising featuring children on green bikes thanking Regions customers for helping make the campaign a success ran Sunday, December 30, in 75 publications across the bank’s 16-state footprint. The new Regions brand launch has used a lifegreen cruiser bicycle as an icon to represent the Regions banking experience.

“Initial research shows that everyone can relate to the lifegreen bike and what it represents,” said Scott Peters, Regions chief marketing officer. “Simplicity, freedom and easiness are just a few of the words used to describe a bike ride – the same experience we are working to create in banking.”

The Accounts That Count campaign began in October in Alabama and Florida with the remaining 14 states, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, where Regions has a presence beginning in November.

“Through the generosity of our customers and our partnership with Toys for Tots, the good we’ve been able to do has exceeded all our expectations and made the holidays much brighter for many children,” said Peters. “Many of our qualifying accounts became a gift that kept on giving. That same account provided bikes to deserving children and put them on the road to a happy new year.”

Regions chose to partner with Toys for Tots for its longstanding history and commitment to charitable work, U.S. Marine Corps affiliation, and presence in all the markets where the bank has branches. In addition, the Toys for Tots brand and focus on children works well with Regions new and revitalized brand, strong company presence and commitment to the communities it serves, customers and associates.

“We were thrilled when Regions approached us to form the Regions Toys for Tots Bike Fund and are overwhelmed by the success of the Accounts That Count campaign,” said Matthew T. Cooper, president and CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. “It’s true – there’s nothing like getting a new set of wheels and the sense of adventure and freedom it gives a child. For many of our families and the children who benefited, these bikes mean much more, including a ride to school, practice for whatever their sport, games, and other after-school programs. We are proud to be partners with Regions in this effort to provide children new bikes at holiday time.”

Monday, January 07, 2008

Thousands of Georgia's Early Childhood Educators Get a Bonus

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly 3,000 early care and education professionals across the state of Georgia recently received an incentive check for their dedication to the children they serve.

The INCENTIVES program, sponsored by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, distributed approximately $1.2 million to 2,874 people. The checks, ranging from $200 to $1,000, were awarded to eligible child care professionals.

"The INCENTIVES program is designed to encourage those who work with young children to enhance their education level as well as lengthen their period of employment in their current setting," Carol Hartman, grants supervisor for Bright from the Start, said. "Studies recognize that it is important for young children to form strong attachments with their primary caregivers, which is possible when there is longevity among the caregivers serving Georgia's children," she stated.

Bright from the Start receives many letters every year from long-time providers who simply enjoy what they do.

"I have been a provider for about 24 years and I love it," Carolyn Phillips said. "I wanted to do some things to improve my nursery for the children, but my finances would not allow me to do them at the time. The monies that I receive will help me to buy some nice educational toys and other needed items for the nursery."

To be eligible for the program, participants must work at least 25 hours per week and have 12 consecutive months of employment with the same employer at a licensed child care learning center, group day care home or registered family child care home that serves subsidized children or participates in the federal government's Child and Adult Care Food Program. In addition, educators must also earn less than $14.45 per hour as well as have a valid qualifying credential or degree in early childhood education, child development or child care administration.

Now in its seventh year, the INCENTIVES program has impacted the state tremendously by distributing more than $8.77 million in supplements to approximately 4,650 individuals employed in early care and education. Administered by Care Solutions, Inc., the INCENTIVES program is funded by Bright from Start using federal Child Care Development funds and with the support of Smart Start, the Early Learning Division of the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta.

For more information about the INCENTIVES program, visit

At what age do Georgia's adolescents become adults?

HH Note: We thought this might be of interest to our readers!

At age 12
* Georgia's adolescents may hold certain jobs with some restrictions.

At age 13
* Georgia's adolescents may be considered or found guilty of a crime.
* They may be prosecuted as adults in Superior Court for certain crimes.

At age 14
* Georgia's adolescents may select the custodial parent in custody
* Adolescents in Dept. of Family and Child Services custody must be
notified of any placement change and may request a hearing regarding
their case or permanency plans.

At age 15
* Georgia's adolescents may obtain an instructional driver's permit.

At age 16
* Georgia's adolescents may give consent for sexual activity.
* They may obtain an intermediate driver's license.
* They may marry with parental consent.
* They may drop out of school without parental consent.

At age 17
* Georgia's adolescents may join the U.S. Armed Forces and Georgia Army
National Guard with parental consent.
* They may donate blood without parental consent.

At age 18
* Georgia's adolescents may marry without parental consent.
* They may join the Armed Forces and National Guard without parental
* They may purchase and possess handguns.
* They may purchase, possess, and consume tobacco products.
* They may vote in elections.
* They may use tanning facilities without parental consent.
* They may give consent to or refuse medical treatments and procedures,
including abortion, without parental knowledge or consent.
* They may hold certain civil county or municipal elected positions and
serve on the Board of Directors of a business corporation or nonprofit
* They may enter into enforceable contracts.
* They may sue or be sued in their own names.
* They may establish their own domicile and may enter into leases.
* They may create a will.
* Georgia's adolescent males must register with Selective Service.

At age 21
* Georgia's adolescents my hold certain civil state elected positions.
* They may purchase, possess, and consume alcoholic beverages.

Source: Georgia Code, current through the 2006 Regular Session

Friday, January 04, 2008

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Participates in the Giving Challenge

Now through 3 p.m. EST Thursday, January 31, 2008
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) is participating in the Giving Challenge, an online fundraising campaign presented by Global Giving, The Case Foundation and PARADE Magazine. The contest encourages individuals to get as many people as they can to donate to their cause by using everyday online activities such as e-mailing, blogging and social networking.
The eight individuals who inspire the most people to give will each get $50,000 for their charity.
Anyone can donate to a cause using a valid credit card or other form of payment accepted by the donation processing partners Network for Good and GlobalGiving. To “champion a cause” you must be a legal U.S. resident age 13 years or older.
Visit to get started.