Category: Making a Difference

Sandy Springs Olympic swimmer helps raise funds for cancer research

Two-time Olympian Nei Kuan Chia, who lives in Sandy Springs, helped raise funds for pediatric cancer at June 11 swimming event. Nei Kuan Chia joined local swimmers from the Ansley Sharks summer league team at the Ansley Park Lap-A-Thon in Midtown, a fundraising event benefiting Swim Across America-Atlanta, according to a press release. Nei Kuan Chia took photos with swimmers and autographed swim caps for participants. He competed in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics in the butterfly stroke competitions. He still competes in swimming events and is traveling to South Korea this summer to compete with a national team,...

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Sandy Springs cystic fibrosis fundraiser breaks record, receives award

Cars & ’Q for the Cause, a Sandy Springs tradition that raises money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, raised $520,000, beating its fundraising record as it celebrated its 10th anniversary. The company also received an award from the foundation for its work raising over $3.5 million so far. The fundraiser started in 2009 as a small car show and barbecue in the parking lot of Choate Construction as a way for the local company to try to save the life of a close family friend Leann Rittenbaum Ott, who died in November 2018. But the fundraiser continues in Ott’s...

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Sisters raise funds for Sandy Springs breast cancer nonprofit

Three sisters raised $9,700 for the TurningPoint Breast Cancer Rehabilitation, a Sandy Springs nonprofit that treated their mother for the disease. Emilie, Samantha and Lauren Scalise presented a check May 17 to the nonprofit board for the funds raised at their Feb. 2 event held in Buckhead’s Chastain Park. Called “Strides for Survivors,” it was the third annual event and the most successful with 175 people participating in the walk, a press release announced. Over the three years hosting the event, the Scalises have raised over $26,000. They were inspired after their mother Stephanie Scalise, a breast cancer survivor,...

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We Love BuHi founder steps down, will take ARC job

Marian Liou, the Brookhaven resident who turned her socially conscious Instagram account about Buford Highway into the influential nonprofit We Love BuHi, is resigning as the organization’s executive director to take a new job. She will start June 10 as a program analyst at the Atlanta Regional Commission, leaving behind four years of work on a nonprofit that came to spotlight Buford Highway’s famously diverse culture on the brink of gentrification. “I never would have left if there wasn’t a perfect opportunity for me,” said Liou in a phone interview. The growth of We Love BuHi from a personal...

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Volunteer for a Better Sandy Springs helps school build outdoor classroom

Volunteer for a Better Sandy Springs’ 17th annual event brought volunteers out to help clean up 17 local sites and work on special projects building outdoor classrooms at schools. In two special projects, volunteers helped Lake Forest Elementary School and Sandy Springs Charter Middle School build out STEAM-focused outdoor classrooms at the April 27 event. Volunteers also helped clean up Crooked Creek Park, a new park under development by the city. Organized by Leadership Sandy Springs, VBSS kicked off with a welcoming message from Mayor Rusty Paul at North Springs Charter High School. Other sites where volunteers did landscaping,...

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Holy Spirit students, neighborhood team up to clean Jackson Elementary forest

Holy Spirit Preparatory School students teamed up with the Mount Paran Parkway Neighborhood Association to clean and restore the forest at Warren T. Jackson Elementary. Holy Spirit students and MPPNA neighbors worked April 13 to clear the nature trails and ensure the health of the trees by removing trash and debris and trimming back English ivy, a press release said. The school and neighborhood are both on the Buckhead and Sandy Springs border. The public Jackson Elementary does not have the resources to take up the cleaning on its own, so the neighborhood often helps, the release said. “Atlanta...

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Buckhead’s Mountain Way Common to host cleanup April 20

Friends of Mountain Way Common will host a volunteer cleanup of the North Buckhead park on Saturday, April 20 to mark Earth Day. The cleanup will run 9 a.m. to noon at the park at 4124 North Ivy Road. According to a press release, the cleanup is for all ages and people of all physical abilities, with “no hard work involved.” Volunteers are asked to bring a trash bag and gloves. The event marks the environmental day Earth Day, which is officially observed on April 22. For more information about the park and the friends group, see its website...

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Sandy Springs cars and barbecue event celebrates 10 years of fighting cystic fibrosis

  Cars & ’Q for the Cause, a Sandy Springs tradition that raises money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, will celebrate its 10th anniversary when it returns this year on May 4. The fundraiser started in 2009 as a small car show and barbecue in the parking lot of Choate Construction as a way for the company to try to save the life of a close family friend Leann Rittenbaum Ott, who died in November 2018. But the fundraiser will continue in Ott’s honor, the company announced. The event has grown to more than 1,200 attendees and features over...

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Registration open for Volunteer for a Better Sandy Springs on April 27

The annual community service event Volunteer for a Better Sandy Springs returns this year on April 27. Organized by Leadership Sandy Springs, VBSS will kick off at 8 a.m. with a welcoming message from Mayor Rusty Paul at North Springs Charter High School, 7447 Roswell Road. Volunteers will help with projects at local schools and clean several parks until 1 p.m. Some of those projects include helping Lake Forest Elementary School and Sandy Springs Middle School build out its STEAM-focused outdoor classrooms, a press release said. Volunteers will also help clean up Crooked Creek Park, a new park under...

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Standout Students: Riley and Jack Buehner of Riverwood International Charter School

Riley and Jack Buehner, two Riverwood International Charter School students, spent their winter break hand delivering 11 suitcases of shoes to children in Uganda. The trip to the African nation was part of a school project and a Boy Scout program meant to form connections with fellow Scouts on the other side of the world. Riley collected over 450 pairs of shoes with the help of his Scout troop and his brother Jack to fulfill Riverwood’s “Middle Years Programme,” which is required for the International Baccalaureate curriculum. The shoes were delivered to Uganda as part of the Boy Scout...

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$3K grant supports Eagle Scout’s cleanup work at Buckhead’s Mountain Way Common

Buckhead’s Mountain Way Common park has received a $3,000 grant that will support ongoing cleanup and reforestation work led by a local Eagle Scout. Matthew Keagle of Troop 370, sponsored by St. James United Methodist Church, has been working on the 13-acre park at 4134 North Ivy Road since 2016, amassing over 1,100 volunteer hours, according to park partner group Livable Buckhead. He and the parks’ friends group have now received a total of $12,000 in grant funds for reforestation. The $3,000 Restoration and Resilience Grant from the National Environmental Education Foundation will help them plant 100 trees, plus...

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Los Niños Primero honored at Sandy Springs MLK Day celebration

The city of Sandy Springs marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 21 with its annual celebration of a local social-service nonprofit organization. This year’s honoree was Los Niños Primero, which assists underserved Latino preschool children. The event offered an orientation to the organization’s work and is meant to encourage volunteering. For more information, see losninosprimeroga.org. Photos by Phil Mosier. Children in the Los Niños Primero dance program perform for the crowd. Maritza Morelli, executive director of Los Niños Primero, speaks to the attendees. Ingrid Lopez, a parent of a child in the Los Niños Primero program, shares her experiences....

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