1, 2, 3, 4, 5: Freedom School is Live!

What do you get when you pair 120 promising students, 12 amazing Servant Leader Interns, 10 certified teachers, and 1 fantastic school together? Year FIVE of our Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® Program in partnership with the Barack and Michelle Obama Academy! On June 10, we welcomed an auditorium full of bright minds for our signature 6-week summer literacy program, and things are off to a fantastic start.

Over the last 4 summers, 86% of students tested have maintained or increased their reading level through our Freedom School program. We anticipate an equally successful experience for students this year! Our program is stopping summer learning loss in its tracks and ensuring that students living in Peoplestown return to school prepared to achieve.

Want to join in the fun? Each morning, the program starts with Harambee, which is an activity that allows the students to pull together and get excited for a day of learning. We invite you to “pull together” with us. Click here to make a monthly contribution of $10 or more to help students reach their full academic potential.

Youth on the Move "Paint the Town"!

If you happen to pass the corner of Farrington Ave & Farrington Place in Peoplestown, you will see precisely how Youth on the Move has left its mark! It has been an eventful year for students in Youth on the Move, our out-of-school time program for middle and high school students. From community service at our local senior center, to countless hours of academic tutoring and engagement in a variety of enrichment activities including dance classes, this year’s participants can also add ‘muralists’ to their resumes.

With the support of the Director of Education Services, Ann Fowler, and the Program Manager, Rakia Reeves, students added a pop of color to their neighborhood by completing a gorgeous community beautification project. As the spring semester ends, our students can look to this beautiful final project as a visual representation of the many colorful experiences that made up another successful academic year at Emmaus House.

Emmaus House Seeks Canvassers to Work in NPU-V Neighborhoods

Emmaus House has created a Community Canvassing Program to promote workforce training and employment opportunities to residents of the NPU-V neighborhoods: Adair Park, Pittsburgh, Mechanicsville, Summer Hill, Peoplestown, and Capital Gateway. We seek to hire a Program Coordinator and canvassers from each neighborhood.

The Program Coordinator must be a resident of one of the NPU-V neighborhoods listed above. Applicant must be an ambitious, multitasker able to inspire team members to keep them focused and running smoothly. He/she needs to be able to work at their own pace and utilize their time effectively. The Program Coordinator will serve as Team Lead and will provide day-to-day oversight of administrative & operational functions to achieve program sustainability & success in accordance with defined targets, strategies, and goals. This role requires the individual to be organized, detail-oriented, and comfortable working in community with a diverse team. For more information, click here.

Canvassers must be residents of one of the NPU-V neighborhoods listed above. Applicants must be passionate and motivated individuals who can approach many different personality types and modify the canvass script to match each particular person. Canvassers must work at their own pace and maximize their time effectively. Canvassers need to be positive, polite, respectful, engaging, and good listeners. For more information, click here.

Remembering Father Austin Ford, Founder of Emmaus House

All of us at Emmaus House are saddened by the news that our founder, Fr. Austin Ford, passed away this weekend. Fr. Ford was a fervent champion of the residents of Peoplestown and the south side of Atlanta. He was an instrumental figure in the struggle for civil rights, advocating that all people, regardless of economic or racial status, deserved fair and dignified treatment. Fr. Ford established The Poverty Rights Office at Emmaus House – a powerful reminder that all people have rights, but that some people have to work harder to benefit from them. Fr. Ford worked tirelessly to give voice to those who often went unheard.

Today, Fr. Ford’s legacy lives on in all that we do. The Poverty Rights Office, now the Muriel Lokey Help Center at Emmaus House, continues to serve all comers with a variety of services, helping people to move toward economic stability. Our education programs help children and youth to succeed in school. None of this would have been possible without the courage, compassion, and vision of Fr. Ford. All of us at Emmaus House owe a debt of gratitude to him for teaching us what it means to translate the Gospel into tangible, transformational action.

We ask God’s blessing on all those who grieve Fr. Ford’s loss, especially the members of the Peoplestown community and all those who worked side-by-side with him to make the world a better place. May he rest in peace.

Fr. Ford will be cremated, and a memorial service will be held on September 22, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30305.

Read the articles below for more more information about Fr. Ford's life, work, and legacy.






Walk the Road to End Gun Violence September 16, 2018 - Save the Date!

We invite you to rally your friends, families, youth leaders, and church communities to “Walk the Road” with us on September 16, 2018. Walk The Road is an opportunity to learn, serve, and walk with our neighbors in Peoplestown as we explore the community’s experience living in the neighborhoods south of downtown Atlanta. This year, our theme is gun safety. 

Please save the date for an afternoon of service projects and a guided tour of our neighborhood. Before we march to the Capitol Building Plaza, clergy and advocates will share perspectives on gun safety and legislation. The afternoon will conclude with a community meal. We look forward to walking the road with you in September!

Freedom School Campaign Raises $21,185!

Thank you for pulling together for children in Peoplestown! The Emmaus House Freedom Schools® program at the Barack and Michelle Obama Academy provides a safe place for children to learn, grow, and discover ways that they can make an impact on themselves, their community, and the world. Our program was strengthened this year by dedicated BaMO teachers and staff who worked with our Emmaus House staff, including our education director, Ann Fowler, and our parent engagement manager, Tavon Betts!

We are incredibly thankful to our community of supporters who rallied together to make our campaign a success. A generous donor will match these donations, thereby doubling their impact! 

A special thank you to the following individuals and organizations who created fundraising pages to help us surpass our goal:
Bishop Robert C. Wright, Katherine Branch, Kei Breedlove, Christian Carrera, Claiborne Jones, Adam Seeley, In-Home Tutors, St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, and St. Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church.

Fostering Family Leaders VIP

In 2017, we launched the Fostering Family Leaders (FFL) program with the support of the United Way of Greater Atlanta. This series of workshops focuses on strengthening leadership skills in our parents and families so that they can become leaders in their communities. Our first year of programming was a wonderful success and parents are excited to continue to build their leadership skills as peer mentors in the fall.

The United Way, in partnership with Sheltering Arms, found a special way to recognize FFL participants as V.I.P. Parents (Very Important Parent) for their leadership efforts throughout the year. A celebration in honor of our parents took place during the annual United Way and Sheltering Arms VIP Recognition Celebration hosted at the Loudermilk Center this month. Join us in celebrating the hard work of our parent leaders in Peoplestown! You can view more event photos here.

Top 5 Things to Know About our Freedom School Program

1. Why Freedom School?

There are many stellar summer curriculums to choose from, so why did Emmaus House choose Freedom School? The Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program is a proven curriculum that has served more than 137,000 children nationwide since 1990.

High-quality summer programs provide critical enrichment that helps to increase a student's reading ability. In fact, children from low-income neighborhoods, like Peoplestown, lose two to three months of learning ability compared to their higher-income peers who tend to make slight gains. Freedom School helps our students increase their academic achievement with the goal of ultimately breaking the cycle of generational poverty.

2. What’s that word I see everywhere…Harambee?

Harambee (pronounced ha-rahm-bay) means “all pull together.” Each morning, our students gather to channel their energy for the day and to empower each other to reach their full potential. The students focus on one of the following principles each week: 

  • I can make a difference in myself;
  • I can make a difference in my family;
  • I can make a difference in my community;
  • I can make a difference in the country and;
  • I can make a difference in the world with hope, education, and action!

Harambee at Freedom School is known especially for the motivating and creative cheers that these principles inspire. We’re also known for our volume–it gets pretty loud!

3. Do kids read ALL day long for SIX WEEKS?!

Each day at Freedom School starts with breakfast. When Harambee is complete, students separate into their leveled reading classes to begin the morning lessons using the Integrated Reading Curriculum developed by the Children’s Defense Fund. D.E.A.R. Time (Drop Everything and Read) is 15 minutes that is dedicated to free reading before heading off to Lunch.

The afternoon activities are diverse and change each week. For students who need it, Barack and Michelle Obama Academy teachers are on hand to help with math. Emmaus House’s own Charlotte Cameron leads the art class. Students even visit our local YMCA for swim lessons. We reserve Friday afternoons for field trips, and so far our students have visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center as well as Noah’s Ark in Locust Grove, GA. Students are looking forward to the remaining Friday field trips, of course! 

4. What’s an SLI?

Servant Leader Interns (SLI) are college students who lead each class of students to succeed. Their one-week training takes place at the Children’s Defense Fund Haley Farm in Tennessee. They also train with Emmaus House staff for an additional week. This year, we have "Junior" SLIs who are high school students and community members. We support our strategic priority of leadership development through the training and employment of our SLIs.

We are truly blessed to partner with Barack and Michelle Obama Academy this summer. 

5. You can get Involved!

There are three weeks left of Freedom School, and we invite you to join in on the fun. 

We are 77% to our goal! With your help, we can surpass our goal of raising $10,000 for Freedom School by July 20. 

All donations made by July 20 will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, by a generous donor.