Friday, October 30, 2009

Teenagers Are At The Top Of Nonprofit's Gift List This Holiday Season

The Atlanta Bow Tie Society will kick off Atlanta’s busy holiday fundraising season when it hosts the second annual Black Tie Ball on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009, at the Georgian Terrace in Midtown Atlanta, which will feature a “Vintage Vegas” theme, complete with a Vegas-style orchestra and casino games. Gift proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit teen-focused organizations during the upcoming holiday season.

To fulfill its mission to make the holidays a special time for underprivileged teenagers, Atlanta Bow Tie Society (ABTS) members and invited guests will bring unwrapped age-appropriate gifts to the “Vintage Vegas” fundraiser. The gifts will be donated to several metro Atlanta nonprofits including A Friends House, Another Way Out, Carrie Steele-Pitts Home, CHRIS Kids, Cobb County Center for Children and Young Adults, Gwinnett Children’s Shelter, Noah’s Ark Children Care Homes, Rainbow House of Clayton County and The Bridge. Last year, Atlanta Bow Tie Society members and guests donated $50,000 in gifts and gifts cards at the Black Tie Ball.

“It is an honor for the Atlanta Bow Tie Society to be able support these organizations during the holidays,” said Scott Willett, president of Willett Honda South and a founding member of the Atlanta Bow Tie Society. “We hope to raise a significant number of gift contributions that will encourage a cheerful holiday, especially for the teenagers living at each residential care facility.”

Founding board members of the Atlanta Bow Tie Society are Kelly and Scott Willett, Lisa and Bill Tush and Merry and Chris Carlos. Additional board members include Usher Raymond IV, Bert Weis, Mark Taylor, Mark Hayes, Anne and Dave Sapp, Dr. and Mrs. John Schilling and Eleanor Ringel Cater and Arthur Cater.

For more information about joining the Atlanta Bow Tie Society, contact Lisa Tush at, or visit

About Willett Honda South
Willett Honda South (, based in Morrow, Ga., is one of the premier leaders in the automotive industry and is currently ranked among the top 150 Honda dealers in the U.S. in terms of sales volume. An independently owned dealership, Willett Honda’s inventory consists of 400 new and 125 used vehicles including the Honda Pilot, Accord and Civic. In addition, the dealership offers a comprehensive parts and service department. The company’s 90 employees share a common desire to provide the best opportunities to its customers, surrounding communities, and manufacturer.

About Atlanta Bow Tie Society
The Atlanta Bow Tie Society (ABTS) ( is a membership-driven nonprofit organization established in 2007 to benefit underprivileged teenagers. ABTS distributes gifts to teen-focused nonprofit organizations in metro Atlanta each December. ABTS members come from a cross-section of Atlanta’s business, nonprofit, entertainment, sports and philanthropic community.

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DCH Partners with Georgia Coalition to End Homelessness

State Promotes Healthy Living in Homeless and Emergency Shelters

The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) and the Georgia Coalition to End Homelessness, Inc. (GCEH) have partnered to raise awareness of flu prevention among the state's homeless population. The outreach is being launched during Homeless Awareness Week in Georgia, November 1-7, 2009.

"We applaud GCEH for getting involved and advocating for the homeless in Georgia," said Dr. Rhonda Medows, DCH Commissioner and State Health Officer. "Our collective mission to ensure the health and overall wellbeing of Georgia's homeless can impact the lives of the men, women and children living in shelters or temporary housing in

The homeless population is diverse, transient, and includes single adults, children and families. Much of the homeless population resides in shelters, but over 40 percent are unsheltered. In addition, events such as acts of nature (e.g., floods, tornadoes and hurricanes), reduce access to everyday resources. Disease outbreaks such as the 2009 H1N1 flu may contribute to a rapid increase in emergency shelter usage.

Therefore, the CDC's interim recommendations to reduce transmission of seasonal flu and the 2009 H1N1 flu in this group are critical.

"It is critical for all housing facilities to ensure that the best health and safety precautions are implemented to protect the families in their care," said Katheryn Preston, Executive Director, Georgia Coalition to End Homelessness, Inc. "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends general guidelines for homeless and emergency shelters to prevent the spread of disease, and DCH and GCEH are promoting these recommendations through educational pamphlets and prevention messages."

The CDC recommendations are:

1. Encourage all persons within the shelter to cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue. Throw all tissues in the trash after use. Maintain good hand hygiene by washing with running water and soap, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth;

2. Make the means for appropriate hand cleansing is readily available within the shelter, including common food preparation and dining areas. Ideal means for hand cleansing include, running water, soap, and hand drying machines. Paper towels and waste baskets should be made available. Shelter staff, volunteers and clients should frequently wash their hands with soap and water, or use a hand sanitizer if hand washing with soap and water is not possible;

3. Shelters should follow standard precautions in the shelter settings. This includes training staff in the control of infectious diseases, providing access to personal protective equipment and apparel,
and encouraging proper hand washing; and

4. Clean all common areas within the shelter routinely and immediately with the cleaning agents normally used in these areas. Items that are often in contact with respiratory droplets and hands (e.g., doorknobs, faucets, etc.,) should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Eating utensils should be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with detergent and water. Cups and utensils should not be shared until after washing.

For a copy of the Homeless and Emergency Shelters - Protect Yourself Against Seasonal Flu and 2009 H1N1 brochure, visit;

A complete list of the Interim Guidance for Homeless and Emergency Shelters on the H1N1 virus can be found at
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Another Round: Wine-Tasting Benefits Georgia's Children, Again

/PRNewswire/ -- Again, the Venza Group generated a positive impact on the lives of Georgia's foster and adoption families by sponsoring their 2nd Annual Charity Wine-Tasting Event. The crowd sipped and sampled in assistance of Supporting Adoption and Foster Families Together (SAFFT), a newly established organization that declares the following belief: BUILDING and MAINTAINING a supportive foundation for all caregivers improves the overall lives of children in care. This year's event raised $4,415 from the wine tasting, a silent auction, and raffle ticket sales. Coordinated by the Venza Group and Music for Charities, attendees of the event enjoyed free hors d'oeuvres and a live music performance by the Tom Willner Trio. Stirred by the lovely autumn air, the party-goers enjoyed the indoor/outdoor comforts of the Sage Woodfire Tavern's Garden Room for the second year in a row.

Raffle tickets were drawn throughout the evening. The lucky winners were awarded a wide range of prizes, from oil changes to hand-crafted jewelry. Just like last year, a weekend stay at the Escape to Blue Ridge cabin retreat of North Georgia was the grand prize. The silent auction included items such as hot-air balloon rides and donated pieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Stacy and Ashley, SAFFT Director, said the following about their collaboration with the Venza Group and Music for Charities: "The team from Venza Group and Music for Charities truly delivered an amazing night for SAFFT. We raised much needed funding for our organization which will directly benefit the Foster and Adoptive children of Forsyth County Georgia. We want to thank both organizations along with our generous sponsors for hosting such an amazing event and we look forward to working with them in the future on more collaborative efforts to help our children in need."

The Venza Group threw the party to celebrate another extraordinary year of growth and development as one of the Southeast's most trusted training services advisors. Specializing in the hospitality, healthcare, and retail industries, the Venza Group is grounded in the timeless principles that form lasting partnerships. Through consulting, custom courseware development, and the implementation of learning management systems, the Venza Group delivers results clearly aligned with the needs and intentions of their clients.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Over 7000 Attend Atlanta Partnership Run/Walk to Help End Global Poverty

Students from JC Booth Middle School in Fayette County participated in the run.

Over 7000 participated in the Atlanta Partnership Run/Walk to demonstrate their support for ending global poverty. Partnership Walk, now in its 15th year, is an event held annually in major cities across the U.S. The Walk is an initiative of Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. (AKF USA) to raise awareness and funds to alleviate global poverty and promote partnership between America and the developing world. Nationwide, over 30,000 are expected to participate in the Walk in nine cities, including Birmingham, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Memphis, Orlando and San Francisco. Visit

The Run/Walk brought together families, friends, students and leaders in government, business, media and the arts for a day of learning activities, fundraising and culturally diverse performances. Approximately $1,000,000 was raised at today’s charity event to expand opportunities for impoverished communities in Asia and Africa. 100% of funds raised at Partnership Walk go directly to the projects supported by the Foundation. The cost of organizing the Run/Walk is completely underwritten by AKF USA and in-kind contributors. No contributions are used for administrative costs. Since 1995, PartnershipsInAction events have attracted over 280,000 participants, raising $32 million.

The 2009 Atlanta Partnership Run/Walk was held at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. In addition to the traditional 1K Walk, Partnership Run/Walk featured its first ever 5K Run/Walk, 1K Run for children ages 7-13 and 100-yard Run for children 6 and under. Participants walked or ran to demonstrate their solidarity and commitment for helping the less fortunate in some of the poorest regions of the world lift themselves out of poverty.

The event featured celebrities and distinguished guests, along with entertainment celebrating the diversity of world cultures. Special guests included Dikembe Motumbo, Chair and President of Dikembe Motumbo Foundation and NBA All-Star of the Houston Rockets. Other dignitaries included Melvin Everson, Georgia State Representative; Jerry Oberholtzer, Mayor of Snellville; and Gwen Desselle, Georgia State Teacher of the Year. The lively stage program was hosted by media celebrities Suchita Vadlamani of Fox 5 “Good Day Atlanta.”

Below are comments made by the guest speakers:
Dikembe Motumbo in reminding us of our responsibility towards the less fortunate said, “When you take the elevator to go up you always gotta make sure to send that elevator back down because there are people who need that same elevator you took to come up.”

Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer presented a key to the City of Snellville to AKF U.S.A. CEO Iqbal Noorali. In his address he stressed the need of people to be involved in a worthwhile cause to build a better and closer community.

Melvin Everson, Georgia State Representative has been impressed with the works of AKF of helping to stamp out global poverty. He said that,” AKF is doing an exceptional job in bringing the cause in front of the people and I support its cause.”

Gwen Desselle, Georgia State Teacher of the Year reminded to the participants that ,”You’re here because you believe that we can make a difference, you’re here because you believe that we can eradicate the problems that plaque society and most of those problems stem from poverty, problems such as illiteracy problems such as hunger. We who are more fortunate have an obligation, we have a duty to help out brothers and sisters by extending to them education by extending to them encouragement and you know that is something the Aga Khan Foundation has been doing for the last 25 years.”

Iqbal Noorali, CEO of Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A in his address to mentioned that Poverty is the main cause of instability in the world but we have to be partners in relieving the poverty.

An agency of the Aga Khan Development Network

The 2009 theme for the Walk, “Education – The Universal Bridge” highlighted the impact of Aga Khan Foundation’s educational activities. Serving as a bridge to help individuals and communities build more productive, fulfilling and dignified lives, the Foundation’s educational activities span across a broad range of initiatives to help people in Asia and Africa reach their full potential, covering early childhood development, primary and secondary school improvement, and skills and management training for professionals, entrepreneurs and community members.

Aga Khan Foundation’s education programs bring to light the power of partnerships and reflect the Foundation’s enduring commitment to education. For over a quarter century, Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. has worked in the developing world in the areas of health, education, rural development, civil society and the environment. These efforts equip people with life-long skills to overcome poverty and embrace the time-tested principle of helping people to help themselves.

One of the most inspiring features of Partnership Walk was the Village in Action, where participants enjoyed interactive displays and hands-on exhibits that spotlighted how the Foundation is implementing creative solutions in poor regions from Afghanistan to Zanzibar with projects that promote quality education and health care, expand microcredit opportunities and improve incomes and agricultural productivity. Volunteers guided participants through the Village in Action to introduce the innovative ways that Aga Khan Foundation is alleviating hunger, disease and illiteracy.

AKF USA, established in 1981, is a private, non-denominational, non-profit international development organization committed to alleviating poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy. AKF USA is part of the Aga Khan Development Network (, a network of private, non-denominational, development agencies around the world, established by His Highness the Aga Khan to empower communities and individuals, often in disadvantaged circumstances, improve living conditions and opportunities. The overarching goal of the Network’s programs is to help poor communities achieve a level of self-reliance whereby they are able to plan their own futures. The Foundation presently supports over 100 programs in 18 countries for the common good of all citizens regardless of their gender, origin or religion. The geographic focus of the Foundation’s development programs is in East Africa and South and Central Asia.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Am B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L.'s Pink & Black Ball Nov 7

Join us for dinner, dancing and a silent auction at the Pink & Black Ball.

When: Saturday, November 7
Where: Duluth Festival Center, 3142 Hill Street, Duluth, GA 30096 (located at Duluth Town Green)
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Attire: Pink, black and fabulous!

Award-winning nonprofit I Am B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L. would like to invite you to the 2009 Pink & Black Ball. An evening of dinner, dancing and silent auction bidding will support the G.I.R.L.S. Leadership Development Program, which fulfills the organization's mission of improving self-esteem, providing opportunities for growth and removing barriers to girls' personal and professional success. Enjoy a night of dining and dancing for the girls in your community.

Tickets are only $50/person, $90/couple, $300/table of eight, or $30/donated ticket to a deserving girl and can be purchased at or 404-545-9051 ($20 of each ticket is tax deductible).

For more details on the Pink & Black Ball, donating silent auction items or sponsorship opportunities, please call 404-545-9051 or email
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Best Buy lends a helping hand to victims of Georgia floods

Best Buy partners with the American Red Cross to donate time and technology to Atlanta area flood victims on Sept. 25 - 27.

“Our in-home Geek Squad Installers and Agents were out performing their jobs and saw firsthand, the devastation that the Atlanta area flooding caused our communities,” said Brian Adamson, deputy field marshal for Best Buy in the Atlanta market. “It moved many of them, so much in fact, that they reached out to their supervisor, asking if we could help…so we did.”

Outside of the Cobb County Civic Center, Best Buy set up a Clearwire modem and router and connected eight laptops to the internet. Residents of the shelter were able to use the computers and internet to search for apartments, homes, apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance, contact insurance companies and conduct personal online business.

In order to raise the spirits of the flood victims, Best Buy set up a surround sound and public address (PA) system in front of the shelter on Sunday morning so a local pastor could hold worship service for the victims.

Inside the shelter, Best Buy hooked up two 42-inch LCD televisions so residents could watch the news and sports, as well as other locally provided channels. Geek Squad Installers hooked up DVD players to each television. Twenty movies were donated to the Red Cross for the victims to watch, including a large selection of family films for the children’s entertainment.

The Best Buy employees also donated 50 cases of water to the flood victims.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Ryan Seacrest to Host Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities Hearts and Hands Gala October 24th

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities (ARMHC) announces its Hearts and Hands Gala at 7pm on Saturday, October 24, at the World of Coca-Cola. Atlanta’s own Ryan Seacrest of “American Idol” will serve as host of the sold out black-tie dinner which will feature a special performance by “American Idol” season six finalist, Melinda Doolittle and a silent auction. The Coca-Cola Company is the event’s presenting sponsor. The Event Chair is Javier Goizueta, Vice President, The Coca-Cola Company and President of the McDonald’s Division Worldwide. Muhtar Kent, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Coca-Cola Company is Honorary Chair.

“The Ronald McDonald House is a cause that is very dear to the hearts of us at The Coca-Cola Company. We are committed to supporting the mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities, as we strive to help improve the health and well-being of children and families in need,” says Javier Goizueta.

Proceeds from the Hearts and Hands Gala will support operations of Atlanta’s two Ronald McDonald Houses. "We are grateful for the generosity and ongoing support of The Coca-Cola Company. And we are thrilled Coca-Cola’s longtime ambassador, Ryan Seacrest, will host the evening. Despite a tough economy, we expect this inaugural event will be successful in raising funds to support families in need at our two local Ronald McDonald Houses. This year marks our 30th anniversary and this new event is a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness for Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities and the organization's important work throughout the area,” says Linda M. Morris, President/CEO of Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Increased demand led to the recent expansion of the local Ronald McDonald House programs. Last year, Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities opened a new state-of-the-art 50-bedroom $15.7 million Ronald McDonald House near Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston to meet the growing need. An 11-bedroom Ronald McDonald House on Peachtree Dunwoody Road continues to operate at full capacity to serve families of children receiving medical treatment at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. Combined, the two local Houses serve more than 2,000 families a year.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Schools Nationwide Receive $12.8 Million in Extra Credit Funds From Target

/PRNewswire/ -- Target announced today that its Take Charge of Education® school fundraising initiative has provided more than $12.8 million in funding to schools nationwide. Until recently, Target donated to schools twice a year. The undesignated funds can be used for whatever schools need most, from books and school supplies to classroom technology, artist-in-residence programs and extracurricular activities. As the program continues its 12th year, Take Charge of Education has donated more than $273 million to more than 100,000 schools nationwide - 75 percent of the nation's K-12 schools.

"As schools nationwide continue to endure sharp budget cuts, they are in need of immediate support and leadership from outside sources more than ever," said Laysha Ward, president, community relations, Target. "Take Charge of Education allows our Target team members to create meaningful relationships with their local schools, while also inviting guests to easily help us make a real difference every day by positively impacting local students' learning experiences."

Take Charge of Education allows Target guests to easily designate an eligible K-12 school of their choice and have Target donate an amount equal to one percent of their REDcard(SM) (Target® Visa® Credit Card, Target Credit Card(SM) and Target Check Card(SM)) purchases made at Target and*. In addition, Target also donates 0.5 percent of Target Visa Credit Card purchases made everywhere else Visa credit cards are accepted.

Schools like Red River High School in Grand Forks, N,D, use the donations to help fund student groups that don't have budgets and need assistance with registration fees, travel and supply costs. In the past they have funded students involved with Science Bowl and Science Fair competitions. Take Charge of Education, along with the support of parents, helps make good things happen for its students.

Beginning in 2010, Take Charge of Education payouts will be distributed once a year in September, as opposed to twice a year. This is a change from the past, when schools would receive payouts in March and September. By changing the payout schedule from twice a year to once a year, Target will be able to streamline processes and better serve schools - eliminating any confusion with multiple payouts. The September payout is an optimal time to award schools with Take Charge of Education support, as a way of celebrating the start of a new school year and offering schools some additional support to help with needs. Total funds to schools will not be altered or affected.

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Fayette County Student Helps Others Through Fundraising

Pictured (l-r) are JC Booth Middle School Students Ashila Jiwani and Razeena Moosa.

Arshila Jiwani, a 13 year-old middle school student, raised over $2,000 to contribute to the funds raised at Atlanta Partnership Run/Walk that will take place on Sunday, October 25, 2009 at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. On top of her extracurricular activities, Arshila developed ideas to raise money for Aga Khan Foundation USA (AKF USA) and reached out to fellow students like Rozina Mossa, Gohar Llalani and Simren Dhani for help with fundraising.

Arshila first began fundraising for the Partnership Run/Walk and reaching out to the community by passing out flyers at school and texting her friends information about the Foundation. With the help of her school principal, Ted Lombard, Arshila expanded her fundraising and outreach activities to organize candy fundraisers, position informational posters around the school, arrange student and teacher fundraising activities and speak on the school’s morning announcements, urging kids to participate in the Partnership Run/Walk and fundraising activities. Recently, Arshila expanded her fundraising efforts to local businesses including the Panda Express in Peachtree City and Bruster’s Ice Cream. At the Panda Express, Arshila was able to raise over $230 by asking the manager to donate 15% of the profits earned in one evening at the eatery to the Foundation.

100% of funds raised at Partnership Run/Walk go directly to the projects supported by the Foundation. The cost of organizing the Run/Walk is completely underwritten by AKF USA and in-kind contributors. No contributions are used for administrative costs. Since 1995, PartnershipsInAction events have attracted over 280,000 participants, raising $32 million.

AKF USA, established in 1981, is a private, non-denominational, non-profit international development organization committed to alleviating poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy. AKF USA is part of the Aga Khan Development Network (, a network of private, non-denominational, development agencies around the world, established by His Highness the Aga Khan to empower communities and individuals, often in disadvantaged circumstances, improve living conditions and opportunities.

Last year, over 6,800 youth, families, businesses and community leaders participated in the 2008 Atlanta Partnership Walk, which raised over a million dollars for Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. projects in the developing world. Encourage your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors to hit the pavement for the 2009 Partnership Run/Walk and show their support for ending global

To register for the Partnership Run/Walk please visit

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Friday, October 16, 2009

The 3rd Annual Hollingsworth House Chair-ity Event Nov. 30th

The 3rd Annual Hollingsworth House Chair-ity Event will be held on Monday, November 30, from 5:00-7:30 pm at The Hollingsworth House in downtown Fayetteville, GA. This will be an elegant holiday affair with delicious food and live entertainment. The event will also feature live and silent auctions of extraordinary chairs and other works of art donated by local artisans.

This is a volunteer driven event and hosts include Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, Senator and Mrs. Ronnie Chance, and Senator and Mrs. Mitch Seabaugh, just to name a few.

All proceeds will help the children who live at Christian City have a wonderful Christmas. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased in advance by calling 770-703-2636.

To become a sponsor of the Chair-ity Event, please contact Heidi Becker at 770-703-2632 or or contact Belinda Fitch at 770-460-3165. All sponsorships include tickets to the event and recognition for helping less fortunate children to have a wonderful holiday season.

Christian City has been caring for abandoned and abused children in a family centered residential setting since 1965. Over 1,000 children have called Christian City “home.” For more information about this Chair-ity Event, please visit For more information about The Children’s Village, please call770-703-2636 or visit
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

National Safe Place Launches New Safety Program 'Txt 4 Help' to Get Immediate Help to Youth in Crisis

/PRNewswire/ -- National Safe Place (NSP) is launching the "Txt 4 Help" program, a 24-hour text-for-support service for youth in crisis. The "Txt 4 Help" program, announced today at a news conference in Washington D.C. hosted by Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., will make getting help for teens easier. Youth in crisis can text the word SAFE and their current location to the number 69866, (e.g. safe 101 main St., Chicago IL), and they will receive an address for the closest Safe Place site and contact number for a local youth shelter. In cities that don't yet have a Safe Place program, the youth will receive the name and number of a youth shelter. If there is not a Safe Place program or youth shelter, the youth will receive the number for the national hotline. The text service will be available across the U.S. on Oct. 15.

The new "Txt 4 Help" program has the ability to reach even more youth in crisis than NSP has reached by traditional means. Almost 90 percent of teens have regular access to a mobile phone, and 66 percent of those teens prefer text-messaging to calling. NSP believes the "Txt 4 Help" program will change lives.

"We strongly believe that by communicating to youth in a way that they're comfortable with, we will reach thousands more youth needing help than we have in the past," said Linda Rutherford, chair of the National Safe Place board of directors. "We are hopeful that this program will encourage teens to ask for help and discourage them from running away."

Jasmine Williams, an 18-year-old homeless youth demonstrated how "Txt 4 Help" works at today's event. Williams came from an abusive household and currently resides at Sasha Bruce Youthwork, one of the largest youth service providers in Washington, D.C.

"Jasmine understands the value of Safe Place locations where kids can get help," said Sandy Bowen, executive director of National Safe Place. "She is moving away from the negative experience that once shaped her life towards a more positive future and because of this, she was so thrilled to share this information with other teens so they can get the help they need in a crisis when they need it - easily and quickly."

Each year an estimated two million youth run away. Most young people do not run away to experience additional freedoms, but rather are running away from a problem that they cannot solve, according to Department of Justice statistics from 2006. A Department of Justice study from 2002 indicates that 21 percent of runaway youth had been either physically or sexually abused within their homes within the year prior to their leaving.

Safe Place was created as a community collaboration that provides easy access to help for young people in dangerous, threatening or vulnerable situations. There are close to 17,000 designated businesses and community buildings displaying the Safe Place sign nationwide.

Since 1983, more than 240,000 youth have accessed help at a Safe Place site, or contacted their local youth shelter after learning about Safe Place at a school presentation.

Each year the U.S. Senate designates the third week of March as National Safe Place Week, recognizing the thousands of businesses, schools, fire departments, law enforcement and volunteers who work to keep communities safer for young people.

"It's hard to find a kid today who isn't constantly keeping in touch with their friends and family through text messages. The Txt 4 Help initiative is an innovative project that harnesses the popularity and power of texting to give kids instant access to assistance when they need it most," said Congressman Yarmuth. "National Safe Place continues to make Louisville proud by developing new ways to help young people in crisis."

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation Donates $25,000 to Red Cross for Flood Relief Efforts in Georgia

/PRNewswire/ -- The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation LLC has donated $25,000 to the American Red Cross for the Georgia Flood Relief Effort.

Strong storms and continued rains in Georgia have caused widespread flooding and damage throughout metro Atlanta and its surrounding areas - with more than 17 of its counties declared 'disaster areas,' including Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Crawford, DeKalb, Douglas, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Newton, Paulding, Rockdale, Stephens and Walker. Staff from the American Red Cross has been working relentlessly in all the affected counties, providing assistance to those impacted by the storms.

"Our hearts and thoughts go out to those affected by the storms and flooding," said Monye Connolly, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia. "These victims are our friends, family and neighbors. Our Foundation is pleased to be able to provide this donation to help them get back on their feet, and we thank the Red Cross for all they are doing for our communities."

The funds will be used by the Red Cross to provide support and assistance to victims of the storms including: food, shelter and clothing; home clean up assistance; temporary housing; emergency medical assistance, such as prescription medication replacement, and help with eyeglass, denture, hearing aid replacement; and mental health services.

"We thank the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation for their generous donation which will greatly assist our Georgia Flood Relief Effort," said Tim English, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross, Metro Atlanta Chapter. "When disasters strike the generosity of donors and volunteers can make all the difference. I am pleased to count the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation as a leader in our relief effort."

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Operation HOPE Provides Financial Recovery Guidance to Individuals and Small Businesses Affected by Flooding in Georgia

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Continuing commitments in partnership with FEMA, The American Red Cross, and as a national member of Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), Operation HOPE (HOPE), through its disaster preparedness and recovery division HOPE Coalition America (HCA), is currently assisting individuals affected by the flooding in Georgia communities by providing the following free services: Disaster Recovery Budgeting, Paying a Mortgage on a Destroyed Home, Home Inspections, and Repair Contracts, Assistance with Working with Your Creditors, Referrals to Government and Private Agencies, Assistance with Obtaining Copies of Destroyed Financial Documents, and Insurance Claims Assistance, Recovery Seminars and Case Management.

“This guidance and assistance can be obtained by calling the HOPE National Assistance Hotline at 888-388-HOPE (4673). Individuals will be assisted by our employees and volunteers from our partners in the financial services industry,” said Lance Triggs, Executive Vice President of Operation HOPE. “Anyone who needs help reconstructing their financial records as a result of the recent flood is encouraged to call for assistance.”

Created after 9/11, the disaster preparedness and recovery division of HOPE has assisted over 150,000 individuals and small businesses recover from various federally declared disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina, Ike, and Gustav as well as the wild fires in California last year.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

American Cancer Society in Fayette County Seeking Volunteers To Serve on Relay For Life Committee

If you want to help lead the fight against cancer in your community, the American Cancer Society invites you to join the Relay For Life committee in Fayette County. The Relay committee shapes the Relay For Life event in your community, and as a member, you can play a vital role in making Relay the best possible experience for all participants. You can also help the American Cancer Society fight cancer and create a world with less cancer and more birthdays for everyone.

In 2009, Relay For Life in Fayette County raised $426,000 to fight cancer through research, programs and services, education and advocacy. Plans are already under way for the exciting 2010 Relay For Life, so now is the time to sign up and get involved on a Relay committee. In fact, the 2010 Relay For Life Kick-Off is already set for Thursday, November 12th at 6:00 pm at Peachtree City Christian Church. Attending Kick-Off is a great way to meet the current committee and to get more information on the volunteer opportunities that are available to you.

Relay For Life began with one man in Tacoma, Washington in 1985 and is now a worldwide movement to end cancer, with 5,000 events in 50 countries raising more than $345 million dollars in 2009. These funds help make the American Cancer Society’s mission possible, and that helps us all move closer to our ultimate goal: A world with less cancer and more birthdays.

In honor of those who battle cancer 24 hours a day, team members typically take turns walking the track throughout the day and night. For those not walking, there is constant action to keep everyone busy. From entertainment, food and games to touching ceremonies and stories of inspiration, there is something for everyone at Relay For Life.

At every Relay For Life event, we celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer through our Survivor's Lap and survivor recognition. The strength of survivors inspires others to continue to fight. We also remember loved ones lost to the disease, and those who have survived and are currently battling cancer with our Luminaria Ceremony. At Relay, people who have walked alongside those battling cancer can grieve and find healing. Finally, we fight back against cancer because we want to put an end to the disease. Relay helps individuals make a commitment to save lives by taking up the fight.

For more information or to join a committee, please call Michelle Blose at (770) 631-0625 or email

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit
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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sandy Creek High School Heroes Help Flooded Cobb County School

Students at Sandy Creek High are the latest to become heroes for the students of Clarkdale Elementary in Austell.

The school, with an enrollment 442 students, was completely submerged in water from the devastating flood last month. Since the flood, heroes from throughout metro Atlanta have been stepping up to help the students by donating school supplies.

Students from Sandy Creek loaded onto a school bus on October 8 and headed to Compton Elementary, where 217 K-2 Clarkdale students have been relocated, to personally deliver a $1,000 check and $500 of school supplies to Clarkdale’s principal.

In just one week, members of Sandy Creek’s Star International Organization raised the money and school supplies. They enlisted the help of other schools, clubs and businesses to make the fundraiser a success: Crabapple Lane and Robert J. Burch Elementary schools, Skills USA, Key Club, Interact Club and Grand Coffee.

Clarkdale principal Marjorie Bickerstaff was so touched by the donation that she called 11Alive news and the television station made Sandy Creek’s students their “Heroes of the Week.”
“I am very proud of my students at Sandy Creek. The whole school community came together to help out another school that lost everything. What they were able to do in just one week is amazing and exemplifies what it truly means to be a Sandy Creek Patriot,” says principal Roy Rabold.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Paper, Plastics, and Shoes? Georgia Recycling Coalition Announces Placement of Shoe Recycling Bins at Drop-off Locations to Benefit Soles4Souls(R) Inc

/PRNewswire/ -- Now, along with their soda cans and old newspapers, Georgia residents can bring their gently worn shoes to recycling drop-off locations throughout the state. In partnership with Soles4Souls®, the GRC announces they will place specially designated bins at their locations to offer an environmentally friendly alternative to residents throwing their worn shoes away.

"We are delighted to be involved with an effort in Georgia to reduce potential waste while supporting a philanthropic cause. Repurposing shoes that we no longer wear is something that everyone can understand and easily accomplish through local community collection programs," said Gloria Hardegree, Executive Director, Georgia Recycling Coalition.

The recycled shoes will be shipped to Soles4Souls who will distribute them to some of the 1.5 billion people world-wide without shoes.

"We are proud to partner with the Georgia Recycling Coalition in this call to action," said Wayne Elsey, Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls, Inc. "This initiative will not only help put shoes on the feet of those in need, but it also furthers the global effort to reuse."

It is estimated, every year millions of shoes across the globe end up in landfills or are disposed of in some other way. Soles4Souls will take your gently worn shoes and repurpose them in one of 125 countries around the world. A small percentage which cannot be distributed will be recycled.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Foresters and community partners volunteer to build new playground in Ben Hill community

/PRNewswire/ -- R.N. Fickett Elementary School in Southwest Atlanta has a brand new playground thanks to a coordinated effort of 200 volunteers from Foresters(TM), students, teachers and the community who erected the facility. This playground will serve the children of Ben Hill where previously there was the original wooden equipment from 1972. Georgia State Representative Roger Bruce, Dr. Sharon Williams, Atlanta Public Schools and Yolanda Johnson, Atlanta Board of Education, joined Stephen Sprague, Foresters Director, Legal, in acknowledging the tremendous contribution made by all the volunteers.

"Foresters is thrilled to provide the children of the Ben Hill community with a wonderful new park where they can play and spend quality family time together," said Stephen Sprague. "This is Foresters' sixth playground build of 2009, and another excellent example of team spirit and of Foresters purpose coming to life. Foresters champions the well-being of families by investing in our communities and by providing opportunities for our members, our agents and staff to help make a difference."

Foresters, a member-based life insurance provider with members throughout Georgia, funded and organized the playground build with KaBOOM!, local parents, R.N. Fickett Elementary School and Atlanta Public Schools. This is the fourth of six playgrounds in the U.S. that Foresters is funding and organizing with KaBOOM! this year. In its 135th anniversary year, Foresters has invested close to $500,000 to provide playgrounds where children and their parents can spend quality time together playing, learning and having fun.

Before the first hole was dug in the ground, children from R.N. Fickett Elementary School helped design the playground of their dreams.

"This KaBOOM! opportunity allows Fickett to be a shining beacon in the community," said Dr. Anthony Dorsey, Principal of Fickett Elementary. "We pride ourselves in being a high performing elementary school in an urban environment. These new additions allow Fickett to transcend tradition and history and become a beautiful educational facility that upholds the standards and expectations of our esteemed community.

"Our goals at Fickett are to come around full circle and display 360 degrees of progress. This playground will energize our students and encourage all Fickett Trojans to complete the circle and attain the 360 degrees of achievement. Fickett has always been a great place to learn. This KaBOOM! partnership will allow us to be a great place to learn and PLAY. And like our funding partner, Foresters, Fickett 'Champions the well-being of Families.'"

The new playground will be nearly 2,400 square feet in size and includes an adaptive swing set, bell panel, catacombs panel, chime panel, drum panel, funnel adventure tube and much, much more. With a duration expectancy range from 15 to 20 years, the playground has the capacity to serve approximately 8,200 children in its lifetime.

Foresters investment in this playground extends beyond the work completed on build day. Foresters volunteers and the community have made a commitment to maintain the playground to ensure it is available for subsequent generations of parents and children.

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Georgia Aquarium Hosts 4th Annual Fall Golden Gala

The 4th Annual Fall Golden Gala will be held Saturday November 7 beginning at 7:45 p.m. at the Georgia Aquarium. This entertaining dinner and dance will honor legendary community leaders Lois Blonder and Marty Pollock and feature a raffle and live auction with the theme “A Celebration of Legends.” Attendees will be able to tour the Aquarium prior to the event, starting at 6:45 p.m. $200 per person and $100 for those under 40 years old and over 80. Proceeds will benefit The William Breman Jewish Home and ensure that its elderly residents receive the finest possible care. Contact: or 770-953-2040.
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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Foot Solutions to Donate $35,000 Worth of Shoes to Flood Victims in Atlanta with Soles4Souls, the Shoe Charity

As areas in Atlanta continue to recover from recent flooding, Foot Solutions stores are pitching in to help their neighbors in need. Foot Solutions Corporate along with Foot Solutions in Buckhead, on behalf of Soles4Souls, have committed to helping hundreds of flood victims by donating shoes to those who have lost everything in a low-income area of Atlanta near the river.

Soles4Souls is an international charity dedicated to providing free footwear to people in desperate need. Seeing the need in our own community, Foot Solutions Buckhead will deliver more than 220 pairs of new shoes valued at more than $35,000 and nearly one-hundred pair of gently used shoes to a small Atlanta area community badly affected by the flooding.

The donation will take place Saturday, October 3 at the First Baptist Church Chattahoochie, 1950 Bolton Road, in Atlanta beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Aadu Allpere, the owner of Foot Solutions Buckhead, learned of the devastation in the area from friend and fellow Rotarian Dr. Jim Haskell who ministers to families hit hard by the floods. Both Allpere and Haskell are members of the Buckhead Rotary Club and they knew they wanted to help.

For more information about the Foot Solutions shoe drive for flood victims call: 404-231-2324To find the Foot Solutions location nearest you call 1-888-FIT-FOOT or log on to
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Flood Victims Can Replace Damaged Food Stamp Supplies

Anyone who lost food supplies obtained with Georgia food stamps as a result of the September 18 - 26 flooding can get replacement provisions by visiting their local Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) office.

Citizens in any of the affected counties (Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Cobb, Coweta, Crawford, DeKalb, Douglas, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Heard, Newton, Paulding, Rockdale, Stephens and Walker) should contact their local DFCS office or call 1-800-869-1150 to receive replacement food stamp benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP). Recipients will be required to sign an affidavit stating their food loss was flood-related to have their benefits restored.
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Thursday, October 01, 2009

More than 5,000 Gallons of Bottled Water Now Available to Atlanta-area Residents Coping with the Aftermath of Recent Flooding

/PRNewswire/ -- Beginning today at several locations, Atlanta-area residents and organizations will have access to supplemental bottled water to help cope with the effects of recent severe flooding. More than 5,000 one-gallon bottles of Deer Park® Brand Natural Spring Water have been donated by Nestle Waters North America. The water has been delivered to the American Red Cross' Relief Operation Warehouse in Forest Park, GA for distribution to communities beginning Thursday, October 1.

Affected residents in need of potable water can contact the Metro Atlanta Red Cross chapter at 404-870-4440, or one of the three designated distribution locations listed below for availability. American Red Cross mobile response teams will also be distributing donated water to people in remote communities who are unable to travel to these locations.

Area distribution locations:

Powder Springs Police Department
4483 Pineview Drive
Powder Springs, GA

Austell Shopping Center
5875 Love St.
Austell, GA

Westridge Church
3522 Hiram-Acworth Highway
Dallas, GA

"Deer Park strives to be there in times of emergency," said Alex McIntosh, Director of Corporate Citizenship. "In 2008, Nestle Waters delivered more than 2.7 million bottles of water to citizens and relief workers affected by natural disasters and emergencies, and our 8,500 employees are proud to donate their time and bottled water products when communities are in need."

"We are thankful for the support of Nestle Waters North America," said Lauri Rhinehart, Vice President of Development Operations for the American Red Cross. "Through their donation of water, the American Red Cross will be able to meet the needs of the community."

Last Monday, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue declared a state of emergency in the 17 counties hardest hit by the severe weather. The torrential downpour caused ten deaths and more than $280 million in damage throughout Georgia.

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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Donates $10,000 to Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless for Flood Relief Efforts in Georgia

/PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGA) today announced it is donating $10,000 to Hosea Feed the Hungry (HFTH) for the Georgia Flood Relief Effort. In addition, BCBSGA associates are collecting canned goods throughout the week to provide immediate support to families who have been either temporarily or permanently displaced from their homes.

Strong rains over the course of the past week in Georgia have caused widespread flooding and damage, leaving many families without even the most basic of essentials. HFTH's staff has been actively packaging and dispensing boxes of food items and hygiene kits to individuals and families in need throughout the metro Atlanta area and its surrounding counties.

"Our hearts go out to those affected by the storms and resulting flooding," said Monye Connolly, president of BCBSGA. "As a company, we are committed to making a difference in our communities, but as individuals, we have a responsibility to help others in need be they friends, family or complete strangers. BCBSGA and its associates are pleased to provide support to HFTH and all it does for the community, not only during times of disaster, but year-round."

The funds will be used for disaster relief as well as for direct services and intensive case management for the clients HFTH currently serves, many who are also flood victims. HFTH will be celebrating its 40th year of helping the working poor and others as it kicks off the upcoming holiday season - from its annual Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday and Easter feasts, serving thousands of hungry Atlantans, to its daily dispensation of goods and human services to the needy in the Southeast and around the world.

"The recent storms have exacerbated an already critical situation because of the economy, and BCBSGA's support of HFTH and within the Atlanta community speaks volumes to its charitable giving," said HFTH's executive director, Elisabeth Omilami. "HFTH's financial contributions are down 35 percent, while calls for help from the community have increased 45 percent. The generosity of donors and volunteers can make all the difference during this critical time, and I am thrilled to have the continued support of BCBSGA and its associates in our relief efforts."

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Target Donates $100,000 to Georgia Flood Relief

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Target today announced its commitment to provide $100,000 in cash and product donations to support flood relief efforts in northwest Georgia. Target is working closely with local relief agencies, including The Salvation Army and the American Red Cross, as well as emergency responders, to offer assistance throughout the region.

As part of this commitment, $10,000 in Target GiftCards will be given to teachers and students at Clarkdale Elementary School in Austell, Ga. The school was evacuated after prolonged rains caused the Sweetwater Creek to overflow, nearly submerging the school and devastating homes in the surrounding area.

Leaders from local Target Stores will present the GiftCards, which will be used to purchase basic necessities for teachers and students affected by the flood, to school officials at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, at Austell Intermediate School, which is located at 5423 Meadows Road in Powder Springs, Ga.

In addition to its donation to Clarkdale Elementary, Target is providing the following items to assist in flood relief efforts throughout northwest Georgia:

* 3,000 food relief kits (which include items such as granola bars, tuna and other food items), and 3,000 toiletry relief kits (which include toothpaste, a toothbrush, body wash or bar soap, hand sanitizer and deodorant) were given to The Salvation Army of Atlanta. The kits were distributed by Target and The Salvation Army volunteers last weekend.
* 4,500 food relief kits will be given to assist in the American Red Cross relief efforts.
* Five pallets of water were distributed to emergency responders.
* Financial donations will also be made to the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.

“We extend our thoughts of comfort and hope to all who have been impacted by these floods, including the students of Clarkdale Elementary School,” said Laysha Ward, president, Community Relations, Target. “We appreciate the tremendous work being done by relief agencies in this area.”

Target stores throughout the region remain open for business and stocked with disaster supplies such as rain gear, batteries, water, plastic storage totes and cleaning supplies.

Target will continue to work with local relief agencies and emergency responders to assist with disaster relief needs and clean-up efforts in the region.

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Bank of America Announces Customer Disaster Relief Program in Wake of Severe Storms and Floods in Georgia

/PRNewswire/ -- Bank of America today announced its disaster relief program for 17 counties in Georgia that have been designated disaster areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation also announced it will donate $50,000 to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts for people impacted in the region by the recent severe storms and floods.

The counties include: Catoosa, Carroll, Chattooga, Cherokee, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Newton, Paulding, Rockdale, Stephens, Bartow, Coweta, Heard, and Walker.

"These storms and floods have caused significant damage and suffering throughout our state," said Geri Thomas, Georgia president for Bank of America. "Bank of America is pleased to help our neighbors get through this difficult period."

Under the company's disaster relief program, Bank of America customers affected by severe storms and floods in those counties may qualify to:

-- Receive emergency credit line increases on their existing Bank of
America Visa® card and MasterCard®
-- Modify or extend payments on loans, credit cards or lines of credit
-- Access a new home equity loan through the bank's special loan program,
with no fees and preferential pricing below the current rate
-- Purchase a new primary residence through the bank's special mortgage
program and we will waive loan fees and expedite the loan process.
This purchase program is available to all qualifying residents of
impacted counties, not just existing customers.
-- Avoid bank early withdrawal penalties on certificates of deposit (CDs)

Small businesses may also qualify for similar benefits on both business and personal loans.

Customers may apply for assistance under the program through November 13 in any Bank of America banking centers or by calling 1.800.831.5586. For assistance with a credit card account, the phone number on the back of the card or on a bank statement may be called. The offers are subject to credit approval and current credit standards apply. Insurance is required for mortgage and home equity loan products. These offers cannot be used in combination with other offers, and certain restrictions may apply. Tax penalties may still apply to IRA withdrawals before age 59 1/2. Bank of America, N.A. is an equal housing lender and a member of the FDIC.

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