Tag Archives: Operation P.E.A.C.E.

Atlanta: US Capital City of Inequality

A March 5 editorial by Jay Bookman in the AJC calls attention to data showing that Atlanta suffers from the largest disparity in income between rich and poor of any other large US city.

“The questions are why that gap exists, and how it might be closed,” Bookman writes. Having asked the questions, he does not pretend to provide definitive answers. But he observes that extreme inequality is closely associated with isolation and de facto segregation–and that the relevant data prove that positions at the bottom of the income scale are in essence hereditary.

Bookman concludes by observing that

what we see around us today are the results of patterns both in individual lives and in the life of a city that have proved stubbornly resistant to change. And the best catalyst for that change remains a strong teacher in a classroom, opening doors and opening minds, who is supported by a larger community that finds the status quo unacceptable.

That’s us. We find the status quo unacceptable. And that’s why we work with kids at Hope=Hill, Operation P.E.A.C.E., and Big Bethel AME Church. It isn’t always easy. But it’s work that must be done.

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Filed under Help for Homeless and Struggling Families, Hope-Hill Neighborhood Partnership for Academic Excellence, The Informed Advocate

“Will there be enough food for dinner tonight?” Food Insecurity in Atlanta neighborhoods.

Love thy Neighbor empty cupboard(Read all the posts in this series about food insecurity. Click “like” at the bottom, and you will get them automatically.  )

This November, in addition to thinking about FOOD, UUCA will also ponder and act on Food Insecurity in Atlanta.

Food Insecurity:  It means “Not knowing whether you will have enough food for the next meal.”

Thankfully, Food Insecurity is rare within our UUCA walls. But among the children at Hope-Hill Elementary School, food insecurity is a living, breathing factor in daily life. Almost all these children are poor and qualify for both free breakfast and free lunch at school. But will there be food at dinner at the end of the month? Is there food on the weekends? Is it nutritious food?

“Love thy Neighbor – especially when s/he is hungry,”                                               November’s spotlight on hunger, is a TiLove thy Neighbor logome to Learn, A Time to Act.             It is a project for ALL UUCA members.

A Time to Donate and Deliver Food:


On Sunday, November 24, UUCA members will pack and deliver 130 boxes of Thanksgiving and other food to families living in the Bedford Pine low- income community, home to a large number of Hope-Hill children.

How can you participate?
1) You and your family can sign up to shop for Thanksgiving items for one Bedford Pine family. You’ll get a grocery list of items to purchase for no more than $20.

Register here to shop for groceries.

2) If you want to help, but cannot shop, you can make a cash donation. We need to raise some cash to purchase hams or chickens for all those boxes.

Register here to donate money.

3) Volunteer yourself or your family that same Sunday, November 24, to pack boxes with food, add notes written by the RE children, and, if you wish, deliver them. At Bedford Pine the food will be distributed to families with the guidance of friends at Operation PEACE.

Register here to pack boxes.

Learn More About Food Insecurity:
Stop at the “Love thy Neighbor” Social Hall table at UUCA every Sunday in November. There you can sign up to shop for a family. Donate money. Volunteer to pack or deliver food boxes. Learn more about Food Insecurity.

And if you are interested in helping UUCA DO MORE about Food Insecurity, we want to know you!!! Drop a note to: PromiseTheChildren@uuca.org

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Filed under Events, Help for Homeless and Struggling Families, Hope-Hill Neighborhood Partnership for Academic Excellence

Thanks to OPEACE Contributors and Volunteers

woman and boy small picUUCA has concluded a second summer of outstanding support for Operation P.E.A.C.E.’s  8-week Summer Academy held on Boulevard in the Old Fourth Ward.   This spring, 76 UUCA members/friends contributed over $9,800 to help cover the costs for children from low-income families. From mid-June to early August, 10 UUCA volunteers provided 450+ hours of tutoring and academic enrichment activities.

Special thanks go to UUCA volunteers Kathryn Adams, Beth Davis, Ron Davis, Susan Duderstadt, Martha Garettinger, Jocelyn Jackson, Jane MacGregor, Bettye Manson, Susan Ottzen, and Howard Rees for their time, energy and enthusiasm.  Working along side volunteers from Our Lady of Lourdes and Big Bethel AME Church, kids attending the academy were engaged in a host of fun and stimulating math, reading, and science activities.

working with kids According to Beth Davis, “The kids LOVED the science projects created and led by Susan Duderstadt  — they did not want to miss them!”  Science topics included Ecosystems and Space.  Volunteers were carefully matched with kids who were struggling with their reading. Math tutoring was provided for kids who were significantly below grade level with their math skills.

Kwanza Hall, Atlanta City Council Member, attended the “Grand Finale” on August 2nd which featured the kids sharing in song, dance, and skits much of what they had experienced and learned about over the 8 weeks.

An unexpected and positive outcome is that UUCA volunteers have been invited to join OPEACE’s After-School Program for the coming school year.  We will provide fun reading and math activities to bolster academic achievement. mand and boy small   

OPEACE serves children and families who live in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, an inter-city neighborhood where the average annual family income is well below the poverty line.  The majority of children attending OFW public schools qualify for free breakfast and lunch programs.  A significant number of elementary, school-aged children score below grade level on scholastic assessment measures, such as the CRCT test.  To learn more about the work of OPEACE, go to: http://www.operation peace.org. 

UUCA’s involvement with OPEACE reflects collaboration between Promise the Children (PTC) and the Hope-Hill Advisory Teams (HHAT).  Our aim is to promote the well-being of all children through advocacy and direct service.  We have a variety of opportunities for volunteer involvement, such as one-time only events/projects: one-on-one math or reading tutoring with a child in need; or serving as a classroom helper.  Come by the PTC/HHAT table in the Social Hall on Sundays to learn how you can make a difference.girls dancing medium

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The Story of Jamal

Jamal was a rising first grader In the Operation P.E.A.C.E. Summer Academy. In class, he couldn’t focus and he didn’t seem to be learning anything. The staff thought he needed special help, and asked me to work with him. To this rather daunting task I brought no relevant professional training or credentials. All I had was some tutoring experience, some intuition, and, I hope, some common sense.

Rather than trying to teach Jamal specific things, it seemed to me that he needed to learn how to listen. (If you concentrate, there’s no guarantee that you will understand the message; if you can’t or won’t concentrate, you’re guaranteed not to understand.)

I read books, talked about what was in the books, and asked questions. The questions began with very basic stuff. I read a passage about a baseball game, and asked Jamal which team had won the game. He said, “Huh?”

I reread the passage and asked him again. He mumbled, “I dunno.”

I read it again, and asked the same question. He muttered, “What?”

I read it the fourth time. This time he knew the answer.

By the second session we were beginning to have a reasonably normal conversation—or at least about as normal a conversation as one might expect between a first grader and a retired business lawyer.

By the third session Jamal was acting pretty much normal. My guess was the he wasn’t suffering from kid attention deficit disorder, he was suffering from adult attention deficit.

In the fourth session we read a story that involved putting things in the mail. Jamal said he knew all about mailboxes. That’s where he and his mother post letters and games for his father, who’s in jail.

Ron Davis
Aug. 8, 2013

 __________

When we write Our Stories, the children are real and the stories are true but the names of the children are changed.

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Filed under Hope-Hill Neighborhood Partnership for Academic Excellence, Our Stories

A Grand Finale for the Operation P.E.A.C.E. Summer Academy

05Located at the center of the largest concentration of low-income housing in the southeast, Operation P.E.A.C.E. provides—free of charge to parents—vitally needed after school care. It also operates a free eight-week Summer Academy, with lots of fun, lots of learning, special help for struggling students, and free meals. These services are vital to children who might otherwise go unsupervised—and go hungry—during the summer months.

For the last two years UUCA has held special fundraisers for Operation P.E.A.C.E. And, shoulder to shoulder with our friends from other faith communities—notably, Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church and Big Bethel AME Church—we have volunteered during the summer.06

During the coming academic year some of us will be working with the after school program at Operation P.E.A.C.E.

001On Friday, August 2, the Operation P.E.A.C.E. Summer Academic held its Grand Finale. A good time was had by all. Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, who has been actively involved in supporting Operation P.E.A.C.E. addressed the audience.

Among other things, the students presented a skit on how to stop bullying. There was much singing and dancing.067

A highlight of the show were the movies produced by Susan Duderstadt of UUCA, who led the science program this summer at OPEACE. We had great fun—and learned a thing or two as well—as we watched the older students report form various 046locations in the Solar System.

Meanwhile, the younger students taught us how to respect our world’s many ecosystems.095

We look forward to continuing our partnership with Operation P.E.A.C.E.

For a gallery of pictures from the Grand Finale, go here.

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