Category Archives: Hope-Hill Neighborhood Partnership for Academic Excellence
Walter Hodges, who died May 12, was a founder and passionate supporter of UUCA’s 25 year old Partner in Education Project at Hope-Hill Elementary School. For those who want to honor his commitment to children, Walter’s family has selected two excellent non-profits that are working with Hope-Hill kids and families this summer.
“Walt Hodges gave much of his time and energy during retirement to students at Hope-Hill, one of the economically poorest schools in Atlanta, which, sadly, sits two blocks from Martin Luther King’s childhood home,” said Beth Stevenson, chair of UUCA’s Promise the Children service and advocacy coordinating group.
“If you knew Walter, you know he would want those Hope-Hill children to benefit from his memorial gifts,” she said. “So Promise the Children is supporting Alicia Hodges and her family to focus contributions on two local, Hope-Hill neighborhood non-profits that will impact Hope-Hill Children and families immediately.”
Choice 1: Sponsor kids to Mental Fitness’ STEM Summer Camp – five weeks of robotics, physics, math projects and science experiments for Hope-Hill students. Contribute any amount, but as reference, $80 sends one child to science/math camp for one week; $400 for the summer.
Best way to donate: Online using PayPal at www.mentalfitnessatl.org. Or, send your check to Mental Fitness 117 North Town Cove, Stockbridge, GA 30281. *** Note: on PayPal, click on “Add special instructions to the seller” and say it’s in memory of Walter Hodges.
Choice 2: Sponsor families in Boulevard Food Coop’s new (second) cohort of 30 Hope-Hill families learning to feed themselves with healthy food. UUCA helped start this organization last year. It addresses nutrition at a deeper level, with poor mothers and fathers joining for $3 a week and WORKING to make the coop work. Not a handout .. a real hand up. A food coop is NOT a food pantry.
Contribute any amount, but as reference, $20 sponsors one family for one month; $240 for a year.
Best way to donate: online at www.trulylivingwell.com using PayPal. Or, send your check to Truly Living Well, P.O. Box 90841, East Point, GA 30364. *** Note: on PayPal, click on “Add special instructions to the seller”: and say it’s for the Food Coop in memory of Walter Hodges.
Walt Hodges’ memorial service will be Saturday, June 13 at 1:00 p.m. at UUCA.
The school needs 24 volunteers to man “stations,” where the students will take part in activities like water balloon toss and limbo. More volunteers are needed for competitive fun, including relay races and tug-o-war.
Can you volunteer with Hope-Hill pre-K through second grade from 9:00 AM through 1:00 PM on Thursday, May 14, or with third through fifth graders from 9:00 to 1:00 on Friday, May 15?
All volunteer readers need to arrive at 8:30 a.m. for a welcome reception. You will be given time for book selection or you may bring your own. We will begin at 9:00 a.m. and end by 10 a.m. Volunteers will have the opportunity to share their books with two classes.
Many of the children we work with at Operation P.E.A.C.E. find math an especially challenging subject. When we work with the upper elementary kids on Mondays and Wednesdays, we often do fun group activities. But we need more volunteers to work with one or two children at a time—helping them to stay on task as they do spinoff projects that are appropriate for their grade level and their individual skill level.
Are you able to help?
Math volunteers are needed to help on Wednesdays and/or Mondays 4 to 5 p.m. at Operation P.E.A.C.E. Contact Beth Davis (email@example.com or 404-687-8641).
Operation P.E.A.C.E. is one of our three partners in education in the Hope-Hill Neighborhood.
This is the story of the brand new Boulevard Food Coop and UUCA’s role in its creation.
It began a few years ago … with some milestones along the way. The Food Coop which kicked off on Thursday, November 20 was a very important step! Here’s how it happened …
Promise the Children, UUCA’s advocacy and action group, had been thinking about children and hunger for several years. The congregation’s serious involvement with hunger began three years ago. PTC member Beth Davis had a question: “Almost all the children we tutor at Hope-Hill Elementary get free breakfast and lunch at the school. What do the children eat in the summer?”
From that question grew a two-year project to get half of Hope-Hill students into summer enrichment programs. Those summer programs provide FOOD, as well as learning and a safe environment!
UUCA networked together a group of non-profits and churches that helped the Summer Enrichment program achieve good success. And UUCA became a strong supporter and partner of Operation PEACE, which is one of the best of those After School and Summer Enrichment Programs.
About a year ago, Promise the Children organized UUCA members for a Thanksgiving Food Drive. Remember last Thanksgiving? About 125 member families participated. We raised money, families donated food, and many helped box it up and deliver it to our friends at Operation PEACE … We delivered – literally – a TON of food to families.
About the same time PTC member Joy Borra began asking a similar question of UUCA’s partners in the Old Fourth Ward (O4W) … and especially of Kwanza Hall, the city councilman for the district. “How many people in the Boulevard Corridor regularly don’t know where their next meal will come from? What can we do about it?” she asked.
Kwanza decided to start a year-long “Working Group on Hunger in O4W,” and all those partners began to look for answers. A long-term solution required long – term, community – wide action … And that’s where UUCA member Annie Archbold volunteered to go to work.
Annie is passionate about food … a real FOOD ACTIVIST! Annie served on the working group’s steering committee. She served as a vital “go to gal” for Kwanza’s overworked staff. Annie did everything. And she gave wise counsel from her long experience at the CDC on hunger issues.
The project that the Hunger Working Group agreed on was to begin a Food Coop. They modeled it on the very successful Georgia Avenue Coop that had existed more than 20 years. It would take a lot of work … but with the right support, the Food Coop would empower poor people to feed themselves.
Another UUCA member had the key to ultimate success. Rob Ohara works for the federal government’s regional VISTA Volunteers program. He heard about the O4W project. “Why don’t you apply for two VISTA Volunteers to do the organizing work that will be needed?” Rob suggested. “There are already VISTAs working with the O4W’s urban gardening program, Truly Living Well. It could be a perfect match!”
The end of the story is that everything came together … with a lot of good will, much enthusiasm, some good connections and savvy leadership …
The new food coop is launched!
Here’s what VISTA Volunteer Sara Thorpe wrote for Kwanza Hall’s Facebook page last week:
Earlier this evening, 15 families from District 2’s Boulevard corridor launched the first resident-run food co-operative for low-income families in the neighborhood. The launch of the co-op was one of Kwanza’s top goals for the 2014 edition of his Year of Boulevard initiative.
The Boulevard Food Co-Op is the result of a year of careful planning and monthly working group meetings in partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Truly Living Well Urban Agriculture. The founding families of the co-op come from the Bedford Pines community and the Atlanta Housing Authority’s Cosby Spear Highrise community.
Members pay a one-time $5 membership fee and a $3 charge for each food distribution, which takes place on the first and third Thursdays of the month at our host site, Fort Street Memorial United Methodist Church.
Unlike a typical food pantry, the Boulevard Food Co-Op is a member-based initiative, designed to foster community among its members over time. Members organize and supervise every aspect of the twice-monthly food distribution, from collection of fees and arrangements for child care to the equitable distribution of food and produce among members.
As the founding members become comfortable with their responsibilities, the Boulevard Food Co-Op will expand, welcoming new members and creating new cohorts in 2015. For more information about the Boulevard Food Co-Op, contact co-op coordinator Sara Thorpe: firstname.lastname@example.org.”