Posts tagged Emmaus House
Please Join Us for Walk the Road: Beyond the Braves

Sunday, September 27th 3pm - 6pm at Emmaus House. 

Walk The Road is an opportunity for youth and youth leaders to learn, serve, and walk with our neighbors in Peoplestown as we explore the community’s voice in the re-development process after the Atlanta Braves leave Turner Field.

Please join us for a day of panel discussions, service projects, a guided tour of our neighborhood, and a community cookout. The theme of this year's event will be moving forward as a community as our neighborhood experiences change following the Braves' relocation. 

The schedule for the day is as follows:

Registration ($5 or 5 cans of food): 3:00 – 3:15 pm

Panel Discussions: 3:15 & 4:45 pm

Walk the neighborhood to Turner Field: 4:00 pm

Service projects: 3:15 pm

Community cookout: 5:30 pm

RSVP via our facebook page.

CDF Freedom Schools® program

It all begins each morning with Harambee ("let's pull together"), a high energy gathering of our Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools® scholars. Inspirational songs and enthusiastic chants get everyone moving, motivated, and ready to embrace the day to come.

One of the highlights of Harambee is Read-Aloud, when a special guest comes to read to the 70 scholars who attend the camp each day. Guests have included a bishop, judge, film director, foundation executive, and many others who serve as role models.

One of our Read-Aloud guests was Dr. Robin Robbins, the new Principal of D. H. Stanton Elementary School here in Peoplestown. Here is how she described her experience of Harambee:

Spending time at Harambee made me realize that I am the luckiest principal in Atlanta Public Schools! I was able to see many of my students from D.H Stanton Elementary School engage in a very fun and interactive summer experience through HARAMBEE! I hope to one day learn the many chants, rituals, and norms that I experienced that morning! Such a magical experience for my children!

Harambee is just the beginning of a fun and enriching day where reading is the main event. Ann Fowler, Director of Education Services and leader of the program describes the mission of our camp this way:

One of the goals at Camp Summer Hope, a CDF Freedom Schools® program, is to help readers and non-readers fall in love with books. To help achieve that goal, the Children's Defense Fund has provided us with a rich library of books representing the best work of writers and illustrators in the country. My favorite time of the day is Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.) time, when all scholars and adults on site silently read a book of their choice for 15 minutes.

We know that reading at grade level is an important measure of future academic success. However, at D. H. Stanton Elementary School, 31% of students do not meet this important target and even more see the advances they make during the school year erode during the summer months (the "summer slide"). Our goal is to "turn the curve" on this challenge by helping our scholars to improve their reading abilities and to develop a love of reading that can last a lifetime.

One of our primary goals at Emmaus House is to increase educational achievement for children and youth through our summer and year-round programs. Through our participation in the CDF Freedom School's® program, we believe that our children and youth will make huge strides as they work toward academic success. 

Dr. Robin Robbins, new principal at D.H. Stanton Elementary School, reads to the scholars at Harambee.
Dr. Robin Robbins, new principal at D.H. Stanton Elementary School, reads to the scholars at Harambee.
Bishop Appoints New Vicar of Emmaus House Chapel

It’s been a year full of exciting changes at Emmaus House, with the transition to a new Executive Director and the introduction of a new leadership structure. In 2014, in light of the increased demands of leading and growing the programs of EmmausHouse, the Bishop and the Advisory Board made the decision to separate the roles of Executive Director and Vicar of Emmaus House Chapel.

Following the retirement of the Reverend E. Claiborne Jones and the hiring of a new Executive Director forEmmaus House, the Bishop turned his attention to the search for and selection of a permanent Vicar of EmmausHouse Chapel.  

A search committee comprised of Emmaus House leadership and Chapel members, chaired by Rev. George Maxwell, spent six months clarifying the role of the Vicar and interviewing potential candidates. The process was instrumental in discerning the needs of the worshipping community and the qualities of the priest who would be called to this vital ministry in Peoplestown. What emerged was the need for a vicar whose skills would include the ability to expand the chapel’s outreach to children and youth in the community, renew the liturgical life of the chapel, and create opportunities for Christian formation. 

On June 1, Bishop Rob Wright announced the appointment of The Reverend Ricardo Bailey as Vicar of Emmaus House Chapel. Father Bailey brings a rich background of experience in parish ministry, education, and formation and will work in partnership with Joseph Mole, Executive Director of Emmaus House, to flesh out a robust ministry to neighbors of all ages in the Peoplestown community. 

Father Ricardo Bailey was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He holds a BA degree in Sociology from Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, as well as a Baccalaureate degree in Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) and a Masters of Divinity (M.Div) from Saint Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland. Fr. Bailey was ordained to the Diaconate in 2001 and to the Priesthood in 2003. 

Currently, Father Bailey teaches New Testament Biblical Studies at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, a role he will retain in addition to serving as Vicar of EmmausHouse Chapel. He will step away from his current roles as Priest Associate and Priest-in-Charge of Hispanic Ministry at the Cathedral of St. Philip prior to his transition to Emmaus House Chapel on June 8, 2015. 

Father Bailey is married to Mrs. Marica Bailey and is the father of Alexus, Makiya, Zahria, and Ricari. 

Along with significant parish experience, Fr. Bailey brings to this work a unique background and gifts in working with young people and an enthusiasm to use those gifts both within the chapel and in the neighborhood with a special focus on children and youth living in poverty. Fr. Bailey is a priest of great faithfulness and energy, and has the full support of Bishop Rob Wright and Joseph Mole as Emmaus HouseChapel begins a new chapter of dynamic ministry in Peoplestown. 

If you’d like to send Fr. Bailey a note of welcome, you may reach him via e-mail at

Emmaus House is Founding Member of the Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition

Many of you have asked how Emmaus House is engaged in the ongoing conversation about the departure of the Atlanta Braves and the future of the Turner Field property, located on the northern border of Peoplestown.  We are well aware that what happens there will have a tremendous impact on our neighborhood and those we serve.  To that end, Emmaus House has become a founding member of the Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition. 

Mia Hobdy, Director of Community Partnerships, provides the following update.

Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition


A few months ago, a small group of neighborhood leaders from Neighborhood Planning Unit V (NPU-V) began to develop the Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition (TFCBC).  We believe that the best way to ensure a positive development for the residents of our communities is to come together with one unified purpose and voice.  To that end, the TFCBC will organize residents and supporters to advocate for transparent development, inclusive planning, and community benefits related to the redevelopment of the Turner Field Stadium area.  Our goal is to represent community residents in the recommendation and negotiation of specific community outcomes that should result from this major redevelopment project.  (Click here to learn more about Community Benefits Agreements.)

The TFCBC seeks to partner with the City of Atlanta and Invest Atlanta to ensure a robust and inclusive planning process through the recently awarded Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) planning grant. (Learn more about the LCI award here.)  Emmaus House believes there must be a competitive and transparent process to select a developer for the area. 

Coalition Membership:

Key organizations that have laid the groundwork for this coalition include: Organized Neighbors of Summerhill, Summerhill Neighborhood Development Corporation, Peoplestown Revitalization Corporation, Peoplestown Neighborhood Association, Mechanicsville Civic Association, Emmaus House, ECO-Action, Annie E. Casey Foundation Atlanta Civic Site, NPU-V, Georgia STAND-UP, 303 Community Coalition, South River Watershed Alliance, Partnership for Southern Equity, and others. 

Organizations can participate in the Coalition in one of three membership tiers: Resident Organizations based in the immediate communities; Community-Based Organizations based in south Atlanta communities; and Endorsing Organizations.  Please see the TFCBC Operating Agreement (attached) for more information on eligibility, responsibilities, and authority of each membership tier.  All organizations may attend monthly Coalition meetings and participate on committees. 

We hope you’ll offer your support to this powerful grassroots effort to create equitable and visionary development in our communities. 

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

Introducing our newest initiative: 25/15 Intensive Case Management

As Emmaus House begins a new chapter, we are committed to seeing families in Peoplestown move beyond poverty through strategies that support educational achievement and economic independence.  To this end, we are making some enhancements to two of our flagship programs, Camp Summer Hope and the Lokey Center.  Here, we look at the Lokey Center.  Look for more on Camp Summer Hope in our next email.

For many years, the Lokey Center at Emmaus House (formerly the Poverty Rights Office) has served as our drop-in help center, offering emergency assistance to our neighbors in Peoplestown.  This work is important and it will continue. 

However, with 48% of families in Peoplestown living below the poverty line, we know that we need to do more to help people to break the cycle of poverty.

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE  New Lokey Center Service Model

Therefore, as an evolution of our work, we are pleased to announce our 25/15 Case Management Initiative, a program that will enable us to serve families in a deeper, more transformative way.  In 2015, we plan to enroll 25 individuals and families in a holistic program that will lead to greater overall wellbeing and, ultimately, increased economic self-sufficiency.  

Through collaboration with a select group of strategic partner organizations, we will offer interested families the opportunity to undergo a formal intake assessment.  Then we will work with them to build a plan that will help them achieve goals that they set for themselves.  Emmaus House will act as the hub at the center of the service wheel, referring people to partner agencies where appropriate.  We are excited to work with some excellent partners, including The Center for Working Families, the Georgia Justice Project, and the Technical College System of Georgia, among others

Utilizing an evidence-based model called the Self Sufficiency Matrix, we will track the progress of participants in categories like housing, employment, income, food, childcare, children’s education, adult education, healthcare coverage, life skills, and family/social relations.

To maximize effectiveness, we will institute a two-generation approach, coordinating services for parents and their children – a key to breaking the cycle of poverty.  To this end, we anticipate that 75% of the adults enrolled in the program will have children who participate in other Emmaus House programs, such as Camp Summer Hope or Saturday Arts.     

In order to move all of our programs to the next level, we have created a new staffing model at Emmaus House, resulting in some shifts in responsibilities.  Ann Fowler, formerly Director of the Lokey Center, is now serving as Director of Education Services, a new role that will utilize her education background to bring about significant innovation to our summer program.  New to Emmaus House is Adam Seeley, our new Director of Social Services.  Adam comes to us with a wealth of relevant experiences, most recently as Chief Operating Officer of the Gateway Center. Additionally, Helen Bohanna, a longtime volunteer, has joined the staff as a part-time caseworker.  We are very excited to have such highly qualified individuals working to fulfill our mission here at Emmaus House.

Emmaus House will continue to offer emergency drop-in services.  We will continue to be a calm port in the storm for our neighbors in crisis.  Our 25/15 initiative will build on our already successful program, making our work even more transformative for our neighbors and friends here in Peoplestown.


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Christmas Eve Festival for Children

Every year, on Christmas Eve, Emmaus House hosts a Festival for children and their families to gather together in community and share in the joy of Christmas. Local parishes, community organizations, companies and individuals come together to make donations of toys, games, books, toiletries, gift cards, and cash, and to volunteer their time. Then, on the morning of Christmas Eve, hundreds of children (last year we welcomed 880 children) line up to greet Santa & Mrs. Claus and receive a wrapped Christmas gift. 

Among other festivities this year, we'll have a storyteller, a magician and a Christmas movie with snacks.

Our Christmas Eve tradition at Emmaus House began  47 years ago with Father Austin Ford, and has been a wonderful community event each year since. 

Giving Tuesday: Giving Back Goes Viral

A new wave of grassroots philanthropy is rising in the hearts of many as more and more people join helping hands to unite for positive change.  As world, national and local economies continue to face extremely serious challenges, people are rising to the occasion by sharing their personal bounty, energy and time in helping others.

GivingTuesday is one such web-based facilitator. It is both an organization and an event.

We've had Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, Cyber Monday all followed by Giving Tuesday this December 2nd.  This is the third annual Giving Tuesday campaign. This year, owing to its previous success, Giving Tuesday incorporates an international component to raise worldwide awareness and share the joy of giving back.  This consciousness raising is, perhaps, Giving Tuesday's biggest contribution.  

Through their website the example of giving is being promoted by a savvy campaign titled "The Unselfie".  Here's how their crowd photo sharing campaign works:    Write your contribution of time, energy or cash on a small placard.  Take a 'selfie' holding your sign, tag with #unselfie and any charity close to your heart and post to your social media pages. 

Simple as that!  By sharing your personal example, it will inspire others to be more selfless while promoting specific ways to give back.

Giving Tuesday also provides tools to increase the fundraising effectiveness of organizations.  

In addition to being cheerleader for giving, the web-based organization helps individuals, groups and organizations identify causes and recipients and directly supports a plethora of causes by channeling funds to smaller organizations and persons.  The areas range from helping individuals achieve educational goals, to environmental causes such as saving sea turtles.  To view some of the fantastic work they are helping promote, visit their FaceBook and website news pages.

If you would like to add your voice and heart to a concerted global community of giving, Emmaus House encourages you to join hands with the human community by participating in Giving Tuesday this December 2nd.  If you've already contributed to Emmaus House or wish to do so, please take an 'unselfie' and upload it to the Giving Tuesday site.  This will not only help increase contributions to Emmaus House's efforts but will help inspire others to give of themselves in helping recreate a more bountiful world for all.  

So please spread the word to family and friends!  Encourage them to contribute whatever they can of personal time or resources to Emmaus House or their favorite organization, issue or cause... and don't forget to inspire others by participating in the worldwide unselfie campaign.

Comfort and Joy in Peoplestown

A Message from Joseph Mole

I love this time of year.  For many of us, the stretch between Thanksgiving and the New Year is full of celebration, food, family, and friends.  Even in the “helping” field, we often see a decline in familial conflicts as folks suspend their grievances with one another in the spirit of the season.  For many, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

In Peoplestown, Emmaus House plays a significant role in ushering in the holiday season.  For the 350 families who will participate in our Thanksgiving at Home program, it will be a great beginning to the season.  They will have all the ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving feast, thanks to those who donated through our Thanksgiving Turkeys for Families campaign.  This was our first attempt at crowd-funding and it was a great success.  We exceeded our goal of $3,000 ($3,125 at last count), and over half of those who donated did so for the first time.  Thank you to each person who participated for your generosity!

Once the Thanksgiving celebration ends and the holiday shopping season begins, we enter a season of stress and pressure for the parents of many of our Peoplestown families.  With many parents already struggling to make ends meet, the expectation of providing another holiday meal and gifts for their children is often difficult to meet.  To this end, Emmaus House invites you to bring a little comfort and joy to a family by forming a Christmas Family Partnership.

Individuals, families, and groups may partner with a Peoplestown family to provide gifts and household supplies to help ease the pressure on parents.  Emmaus House will supply a list of needs to facilitate your shopping (including household needs, clothing, and gifts).  Family Partners should expect to spend between $75 and $150 per person in the family.

Please contact Ann Fowler at for more information.  She will pair you with a family and provide a list of suggested gifts based on family composition and needs. Gifts should be delivered to Emmaus House by December 21.

Your generosity will bring comfort and joy to a family in need this Christmas.  Thank you for spreading cheer and goodwill to our neighbors in Peoplestown this holiday season and all year round.

Grace and peace,

Joseph Mole, LMSW

Executive Director


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