Shining our Light – Alexis’ Journey

YOTM   Senior Spotlight:  Alexis (center) pictured with YOTM friends, Quavontaye and Malik, before heading to VSU with $20,000 in scholarships.

YOTM Senior Spotlight: Alexis (center) pictured with YOTM friends, Quavontaye and Malik, before heading to VSU with $20,000 in scholarships.

When Alexis Peterson set foot on the campus of Valdosta State University in mid-August, she had one mission in mind: to let her light shine. Her sister Maxine ‘made a way’ to rent a car that would take Alexis on the 226-mile journey from Atlanta to campus. After a short stop at The Waffle House, Alexis moved into her new home in Langdale Hall. She is one of 1,600 freshmen at VSU. This historically large class size is no match for self-assured Alexis who hopes to help her introverted roommate, Tatiyana, break out of her shell.

 “I feel so blessed. Emmaus is my family… I love them. I worked hard, but Emmaus helped get me here. I wouldn’t be willing to walk up to someone, shake their hand, and introduce myself like I do now. I’m going to be myself and shine my light.” – Alexis Peterson

With just a few weeks under her belt, Alexis is acclimating to college life as a Computer Information Systems major- a nod to her time in the Saturday STEAM program at Emmaus House. She has a full academic schedule that includes Human Geography and a 4-day per week “Principles of Computer Programming” course. She’s even been to her first party – which she jokingly described as “pretty lame.”

Fun aside, Alexis credits her commitment to making ‘good friend choices’ and her focus on academics to the support and guidance she received attending Emmaus House programs throughout her middle and high school years. Thanks to your generosity, our capacity to support Alexis, her family and other families in Peoplestown has grown this past year.

This year marks 50 years that Emmaus House has served the Peoplestown community. In addition to celebrating this important milestone, we’re looking ‘Forward from Fifty.’ We’re keeping busy each day expanding our social service and education offerings. With the support of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, we’ve doubled the amount of food we can distribute through our Food Pantry. A converted two-bay garage houses our commercial refrigerator and freezer to offer produce, meats, and dairy to our clients. In conjunction with the Peoplestown Family Initiative (PFI), we are moving closer to the goal of removing food insecurity as a barrier to success.

Alexis’ favorite program, Youth on the Move (YOTM), is back this fall – bigger and better than ever! We’re grateful that The United Way of Greater Atlanta helps make this possible. ‘Let your light shine’ is just one of the many empowering mantras youth like Alexis learn when they spend their evenings getting critical homework help and exploring exciting career paths at YOTM.

When YOU shine your light by donating, you help children and youth to succeed at school and you help parents move toward greater economic well-being. An anonymous donor has pledged to match, dollar for dollar, the funds we raise as you shine your light on Emmaus House - up to $17,000. The impact of every dollar you give will be DOUBLED. With your help, we can look ‘Forward from Fifty’ by serving, supporting, and listening to our neighbors here on the southside of Atlanta.

Thank you for partnering with us to make a difference in the lives of children, youth, and families in Peoplestown and surrounding neighborhoods. Alexis’ success story is just one of many we are grateful to experience each day- reminding us of how far we have come and inspiring us to continue the work God calls us to do. Only through your unwavering faith and support are these successes possible.

Donate today to support children and youth who hope to follow in Alexis’ footsteps. Your donation will be matched – dollar for dollar! Your donation will result in even more inspiring stories as we move ‘Forward from Fifty.’