Posts in Notes from ED Joseph Mole
Hope Comes Full Circle – Introducing our Circle of Hope Matching Gift Campaign

Meet Joel Baker, Fire Chief of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, recipient of our Ethel Mae Mathews Courage & Character Award, and Peoplestown native. He has come full-circle by investing his time in helping the children at Emmaus House. We thank him, and everyone else who has been touched by Emmaus House in some way, for circling back.

Chief Baker is just one of many individuals whose lives were changed through programs and services at Emmaus House. With that being said, we’re pleased to announce the Circle of Hope campaign. An anonymous donor whose life was impacted by Emmaus House many years ago has pledged to match, dollar for dollar, the funds we raise, up to $25,000. This means your gift will be doubled, allowing us to raise $50,000 or more for future programs for children and families this fall at Emmaus House.

Because of you, we will continue to grow, learn and show resilience in the face of poverty and other challenges in Peoplestown.

Become a "Peoplestown Partner"

Thanks to you, the sound of singing, chanting, cheering, laughing, and yes, even sometimes crying has filled the Emmaus House campus this summer. It is the sound of hope, the sound of a new generation of leaders. It sounds like God singing.

“Teaching children may be the highest way to seek God. It is, however, also the most daunting way, in the sense of the greatest responsibility.”

— Gabriele Mistral, in Thoughts on Teaching

This year, as an evolution of our Camp Summer Hope, we launched a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® site. Each day, 70 children and youth representing 40 neighborhood families experienced an integrated reading curriculum proven to help school-aged children maintain or improve their reading skills over the summer.

“My girls come home reciting the chants. They’re motivated. It makes it easier to get them to pick up a book,” 

— Shelbia, mother of two Freedom Schools® Scholars

Your support can make a life-changing difference for people like Shelbia and her children.

For seven summer weeks, we have the opportunity to affect educational achievement for our neighborhood children and youth. But what about the other 45 weeks of the year? What happens once children get home can make or break the academic advances they achieve during the day.

Emmaus House is committed to partnering with parents like Shelbia who are doing the hard work of raising their children while overcoming significant economic barriers. That's why this summer Emmaus House also launched the Peoplestown Family Initiative. This two-generations, case management approach is designed to accompany families as they strive to create stable home environments for their children.

Through your support of these new programs, you help to alleviate some of the stressors facing our neighborhood parents, providing them the tools to be the kind of parents they deeply desire to be. By connecting with both children and their parents, we address barriers and threats to stability before they become crises that could result in homelessness or worse.

Please consider making a gift this summer to support families in Peoplestown.

Your donation makes the Freedom Schools® summer program and the Peoplestown Family Initiative possible. Only with your support do families receive these vital programs.


You also have the opportunity to become a Peoplestown Partner, our new monthly giving program. As a special incentive, a generous supporter of Emmaus House has offered to give $150 for every person who becomes a Peoplestown Partner – up to $7,500! Please see the box below for more information on this exciting new program.

We are so grateful for your support. You make the work of Emmaus House happen.



Joseph Mole, LMSW

Executive Director

Shelbia Blackwell (featured in the article) and Kaye Montgomery, one of our Servant Leader Interns at the Freedom Schools® program
Shelbia Blackwell (featured in the article) and Kaye Montgomery, one of our Servant Leader Interns at the Freedom Schools® program
Introducing the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® Site at Emmaus House

We're embarking on a movement!

“Touch it, read it, learn it, teach it.  Everybody talk about it!”

I found myself chanting these words at the top of my lungs last month as I joined 40 other Executive Directors who, along with Emmaus House, will launch a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® site this summer.  In just a few short months, the campuses of Emmaus House and The Study Hall will be bursting at the seams with children chanting these same words as we welcome 70 young scholars, grades K-8.

In Peoplestown, 48% of our families live below the poverty line.  The children in these families struggle in school, with only 69% of third graders reading at or above grade level (compared to 85% across APS).  This year, Emmaus House has renewed our commitment to the educational achievement of Peoplestown children by revamping Camp Summer Hope through a partnership with the Children’s Defense Fund.

With a literature-based enrichment curriculum as the centerpiece, the CDF Freedom Schools® model is designed to foster the love of reading in young people while enhancing reading comprehension skills.  In 2014, 85% of children enrolled in the program nationwide maintained or increased their reading skills over the summer. 

In addition to our 70 neighborhood scholars, Emmaus House will welcome eight Servant Leader Interns who will deliver the curriculum and infuse our block at the corner of Hank Aaron and Haygood with energy, enthusiasm and a deep love for kids.  To lead this effort, Emmaus House’ own Ann Fowler has stepped into a newly created Director of Education Services role.  Our education team is already busy designing enrichment experiences in the arts, science, and physical education.

Emmaus House isn’t just launching a new program this summer; we’re embarking on a movement.  Will you join the movement to bridge the education gap and break the cycle of poverty in Peoplestown?

Grace and peace,


Joseph D. Mole, LMSW, Executive Director

Doing the Impossible

“Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

St. Francis of Assisi, a 13th century friar dedicated to serving the poor and arguably one of the most compelling figures in Church history, admonished the friars in his order with this simple message.  As a leader of organizations serving people impacted by poverty and injustice, I’ve seen the wisdom of these words play out time and time again.
Every day at Emmaus House, staff and volunteers help our neighbors do what is necessary and possible, and there are moments of inspiration when someone we’ve encountered achieves what seemed impossible.  A father lands a long-awaited job after months of unemployment.  A high school student gets the chance to go to camp in New England and fly on an airplane for the first time.  These are just a few of countless examples.
Phil Daniels, former psychology professor at Brigham Young University, developed a tool for assessing one’s roles and activities in life and work, which can be summed up in these words: Keep-Stop-Start.  I’ve found this reflective practice to be useful both personally and with organizations, and have even seen it adapted to include a fourth option: Improve.
Through your support and prayers, Emmaus House’ next chapter will be a story of the impossible becoming a daily reality in the lives of children, youth and families.  We will only achieve this through ongoing reflection on what we, as an organization, should keep, improve, stop, or start.  Thank you for walking this road with us.
Grace and peace,
Joseph D. Mole
Executive Director

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