Category: Making a Difference

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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Dunwoody remembers MLK with Day of Service

Many Dunwoody residents braved freezing temperatures to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. with a “Day of Service” at Brook Run Park Jan. 21. Volunteers donated food and assisted with cleanups and plantings around the North Peachtree Road park. Participating organizations included the city, the Dunwoody Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, the Community Assistance Center, Second Helpings Atlanta, the Dunwoody Nature Center, the Daffodil Project and Trees Atlanta. Photos by Phil Mosier. Dunwoody High students Claire Porcher, left, and Molly Clinch bring food for donation. Members of the Dunwoody Chapter of Jack and Jill of America prepare to...

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Around Town: His life changed, retiree finds new focus in helping kids

Two moments changed Steve Wadley. Taken together, they convinced him to spend part of his retirement devoting his time, talents and experience to raising money for local organizations that support education in Atlanta’s inner-city schools. The first moment came when Wadley was a boy. He played football then on a team based in Buckhead. His team played in a citywide league and when he and his teammates played away games in poorer Atlanta neighborhoods, he saw that those players had nowhere near the level of support — the new equipment, the uniforms, the practices — that benefited him and...

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Sandy Springs event set to honor late senior advocate Dorothy Benson

  Fulton County has announced a Jan. 28 to honor late senior advocate Dorothy Benson, the namesake of a Sandy Springs senior center. Benson, who died in November 2018 at the age of 97, according to an online obituary, helped create Fulton County’s senior centers, including the one that bears Benson’ name, the Dorothy C. Benson Senior Mulitpurpose Complex at 6500 Vernon Woods Drive. The Fulton County event will be held there from 4-7 p.m. The event is essentially the public memorial service to honor Benson, whose death had not been announced other than the obituary, for “her community activism, senior...

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Buckhead’s Darlington Apartments displacement impacts tenant-aid nonprofits

The real estate firm that displaced hundreds of Buckhead’s Darlington Apartments tenants for a “luxury lifestyle” renovation should pay the five-figure tab for social service workers who gave emergency assistance to tenants, a local nonprofit says. Meanwhile, the firm’s management division is a direct partner of another nonprofit that helps tenants — including those at the Darlington — avoid homelessness, in what the group’s director calls the “double-edged sword” of real estate companies’ charity sometimes being directed at problems they helped create. Buckhead Christian Ministry was hit with roughly $100,000 to $150,000 in unbudgeted costs to help more than...

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20 Under 20: Honoring students who give back to the community

The question arises every year as we consider nominations for our annual 20 Under 20 honors: How do these students find the time to give so much back to the community? As you will see, this year’s list is filled with young people who somehow manage to juggle their busy lives with doing extraordinary things to make Reporter Newspapers communities and the world a better place to live. As in previous years, we asked public and private schools along with service organizations and the general public to nominate students who have been active volunteers in their communities. These students...

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After fire, Chastain Park Conservancy may get better HQ

Following a Jan. 4 fire that destroyed the Chastain Park Conservancy’s headquarters, the city will help it find a new or renovated home that might be better suited for its next decade of growth, according to District 8 City Councilmember J.P. Matzigkeit. “Out of loss can come opportunity,” said Matzigkeit, who co-founded the parks advocacy group and previously served as its board chair. Known as the Barn, the headquarters was a large hut made of prefabricated steel dating to the World War II era, located off Powers Ferry Road within the park. The Conservancy had planned to rename it...

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Heritage Sandy Springs awards volunteers

Heritage Sandy Springs volunteers were recognized with awards at a Dec. 12 ceremony, the nonprofit announced. “These volunteers were honored for their dedication to the community and their outstanding volunteer contributions to Heritage Sandy Springs,” the organization said in a press release.“Heritage Sandy Springs would not be where we are today without three decades of committed and caring volunteers,” said Carol Thompson, the executive director in the release. “Starting with Joey Mason, Garnett Cobb, Dottie Megal, and others who saved the spring site and relocated the Williams-Payne House, volunteers have created, built, and supported Heritage Sandy Springs since 1985,”...

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Coping with a Crisis: The Reporter’s 2018 coverage of opioid addiction in the suburbs

The combination of prescription painkillers, heroin and synthetic opioids is killing people around the nation, including within Reporter Newspapers communities. In 2018, the Reporter covered the local impacts through the exclusive four-part series “Coping with a Crisis: Opioid Addiction in the Suburbs” by veteran journalist Max Blau, as well as related stories and the debut of our “Reporter Extra” podcast. The following is a recap of key stories in “Coping with a Crisis”; click the headline to read the story. Life after death: Families turn obituaries into protests against the stigma of addiction After eight O.D.s and a prison...

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Buckhead CID to give $50K to homelessness program

The Buckhead Community Improvement District will contribute $50,000 in seed money to a major program aimed at solving chronic homelessness in the city. HomeFirst Atlanta, a joint effort of the city and the United Way’s Regional Commission on Homelessness, aims to raise $50 million and leverage even more funds for a variety of tactics to provide housing and otherwise reduce chronic homelessness. At the BCID’s Nov. 28 board meeting, member Thad Ellis of Cousins Properties said he and Executive Director Jim Durrett recently met with Jack Hardin, an Atlanta businessman well-known for his work on homeless assistance. Ellis said...

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Blue Heron Nature Preserve receives wetland restoration funding

Blue Heron Nature Preserve plans to restore 2.5 acres of wetlands on its Buckhead property with $71,000 in grant and other funding the nonprofit recently received. Blue Heron was chosen out 250 nationwide applicants to receive a $30,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for urban wetlands restoration, a Dec. 4 press release announced. Another $41,000 in matching funds was provided by local groups, including Blue Heron itself, the Atlanta Audubon Society, the Amphibian Foundation, the Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management, Hands On Atlanta, Beech Hollow Farms and Marcy Scott, a local ichthyologist, according to the release....

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Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber names ‘Woman of Distinction’

The Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce has named its 2018 “Woman of Distinction” as Trinita Ervin, an employee at Northside Hospital and founder of a nonprofit. “Now in its eighth year, the Woman of Distinction Award is annually given to a woman in the local community who has demonstrated exceptional leadership through professional endeavors and community involvement, has generously shared her time and talents to demonstrate a sense of social responsibility and has made a difference in Sandy Springs,” a press release said. Ervin was announced as the winner at the chamber’s Nov. 13 meeting, according to the release....

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