The 21 for 21 Campaign Raises $37,593

Thanks to you, we raised $37,593 for Youth on the Move with our 21 for 21 campaign! We are so grateful for every donation, share, and mention over the last few weeks. Because of you, we will offer even more valuable enrichment activities, advanced tutoring, and new learning experiences to our bright neighborhood students. You are helping them to succeed in middle school, high school, and beyond.

Greg Cole
Hear Every Voice

Dear Friends,                                                                              


On August 20th, it will have been 400 years since slavery began in Jamestown. In addition to suffering other unspeakable cruelties, those enslaved men and women’s voices and their futures were stolen from them.  Three weeks ago, a group of religious, educational and community leaders came together in Atlanta. Then and now, the hope was to join others all over the country in considering what this bitterly painful milestone demands of us in shaping our nation’s future. We are inviting you to join us.

The conversation over the past three weeks has come together in a collective effort now identified as Hear Every Voice with audio and video resources to be as widely shared as you see fit. We continue to believe that a failure by adults to acknowledge the persistent legacy of inequality and listen to the voices of all of our children lets them down in a profound way and carries our nation’s history of inequity forward. The science is unequivocal.  The impact of stereotyping on children of color begins early and impacts societal expectations. Inflicting silence on children rather than teaching them to listen and guiding them to use their words to engage with others is devastating to their ability to read and learn – and so much more.  This moment calls for our collective resolve to hear and honor our children’s voices, across our schools and houses of worship, across our city, our state and our country. It is time to make and keep a new promise of freedom for all of our children in the 5th century that begins this week.

We hope these resources -- which include age-appropriate extension activities for children -- provide a useful framework, spark ideas and start conversations that matter all across the city. Of course, all schools, faith communities and other organizations will decide individually how they are used, if at all, over the next month and beyond:

  • Under the theme of “shine and share your light:” opera singer Tim Miller, who sings “God Bless America” at the Braves games, has arranged and recorded a special rendition of “This Little Light of Mine.” Please listen here: Timothy Miller Sings "This Little Light of Mine" We believe it forms the core of a meaningful and impactful experience for preschool through elementary age children and their teachers: celebrating each child’s “light.” One set of extension activities (see attachments) is designed for the younger children to enjoy at some point after hearing, singing and dancing to the song. Another set of activities is for older children – still to be used in response to the song. Lastly, and on perhaps the most important level, the intended audience is the adults who are responsible for charting our children’s courses. The more the children have the chance to “shine” and share their joy and their gifts, the more we hope that we, the adults in their lives, will finally get the message to see them in their full potential and hear them -- every one of them.  

  • Students of Grady High School have produced a set of thoughtful school-wide reflections on the meaning of this juncture in their lives: Hear Every Voice: Grady Students. We expect these spontaneous interviews – as well as Tim’s audio -- will be embraced widely by adults, in the days and weeks ahead. For example, Grady’s history teachers plan to use the video throughout their classes so that they can engage as many of their students as possible and extend the experience of the several dozen who created it. Our hope is that Grady will share it and the extension activities they design with middle and high schools acrossAtlanta and well beyond it.

  • Jerry Parker, principal of Usher Elementary School, has recorded a call to four minutes of silence and reflection for adults to act upon sometime during August of 2019 in remembrance and with resolve that our children will never be silenced again: Jerry Parker: Hear Every Voice.

Taken together, we hope all this work marks a beginning, as we embark on a new school year and a Fifth Century.


Rabbi Peter S. Berg, Senior Rabbi, The Temple      
Mindy Binderman, Executive Director, Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students
Stephanie Blank, CEO, the Naserian Foundation
Meria Carstarphen, Superintendent, Atlanta Public Schools
Greg Cole, Executive Director, Emmaus House
Dr. Walter Gilliam, PhD, Director, Yale University’s Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy
Nancy Flake Johnson, President & CEO, Urban League of Greater Atlanta
Soumaya Khalifa, Executive Director, Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta
Dr. Ami Klin, PhD, Director, Marcus Autism Center; Professor and Division Chief, Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
Lauren Koontz, President & CEO, YMCA Metro Atlanta
Robin Kranz, Founding Partner, Brownieland Pictures
Milton Little, President, United Way of Greater Atlanta
Dennis Lockhart, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (ret.)
Malcolm Mitchell, Super Bowl Champion and Children’s Book Author
Christopher Moses, Director of Education & Associate Artistic Director, Alliance Theatre
Daniel Pedersen, Chairman Emeritus, Alliance for Early Success
Blythe Keeler Robinson, CEO & President, Sheltering Arms Early Education and Family Centers
David Roemer, CEO, Ideas Unlimited
Mariela Romero, Regional Director, Community Empowerment, Univision Communications
Jill Savitt, President & CEO, National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Doug Shipman, President and CEO, Woodruff Arts Center
Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD,  President Emerita, Spelman College
Dr. Julie Ann Washington, PhD,  Director, Communication Sciences and Disorders in the College of Health and Human Sciences, Georgia State University
Rev. Raphael Warnock, PhD, Senior Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church
Arianne B. Weldon, Get Georgia Reading Campaign Director, Georgia Family Connection Partnership
Comer Yates, Executive Director, Atlanta Speech School

Please click here to download the Hear Every Voice activities.

Youth on the Move is now a 21st Century Community Learning Center!

In its fourth year, Youth on the Move is getting a makeover! While the 4 tenets of Enrichment, Empowerment, Education, and Experiences remain the pillars of the out of school time program for middle and high school students, we can now share that we have been named a 21st Century Community Learning Center by the Georgia Department of Education!

The 21st CCLC program is authorized under Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as amended by Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The purpose of the program is to provide opportunities for academic enrichment activities during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session, such as before and after school or during summer recess. The competitive grant application process is months long, and we credit the support of our neighborhood schools in making this opportunity possible. Through this new partnership, YOTM will increase community-school engagement, provide advanced tutoring, and expand our enrichment activities over the next 5 years.

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!