Posts tagged Peoplestown
Homework Relief Boot Camp at Emmaus House

This summer, parents of students in our summer Freedom Schools® program identified their need for increased ability to help children with homework. To this end, in partnership with Literacy Action, Inc., Emmaus House has launched a new program called Homework Relief Boot Camp for Parents. The overall goal of the program is to increase the literacy skills of both children and parents so that they can achieve greater success in school and in the workplace.

Emmaus House is located in Peoplestown, a neighborhood challenged by low educational outcomes. For instance, 33% of residents do not have a high school diploma. Only 65.9% of third graders at D. H. Stanton Elementary School in Peoplestown read at or above grade level, down from 85% in 2009.

Each week in Homework Relief Boot Camp, parents will access the elementary school parent portal on computers to determine assigned homework and upcoming tests. They will also spend time at the end of each session reading with their children. As they support their children, parents will learn about and use tools to increase their own literacy skills in a setting free from the stigma often associated with literacy challenges.

This two-generation approach will help families break the cycle of poverty by addressing literacy barriers that affect both children’s success in school and parents’ economic opportunity. According to Literacy Action, research shows that regardless of family income or background, students with involved parents are more likely to earn higher grades and test scores, attend school regularly, have better social skills, graduate, and go on to postsecondary education.

Homework Relief Boot Camp meets at Emmaus House for eight weeks on Thursdays, beginning this week. Volunteers from the Cathedral of St. Philip will provide supper for children and adults prior to each session. While parents attend the Homework Relief Boot Camp program, their children will read or work on homework with volunteers from The Road Episcopal Service Corp.

If you would like to purchase a children’s book for the Homework Relief Boot Camp, please go to the Emmaus House Books wish list on For more information about Homework Relief Boot Camp contact Ann Fowler, director of education services at Emmaus House, at 404-808-1864 or

We are very grateful to the SMP Community Fund for their financial support of this new initiative.

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.

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
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

Programs for Moms in Peoplestown

Mother’s Day is this weekend, and what better way to celebrate than helping other mothers and families in need? Take a look at some of our programs that serve mothers, families and children in need and learn how you can help this Mother’s Day.

Emmaus House uses donations to provide struggling families in poverty with essentials, such as a Georgia ID, groceries from the food pantry, furniture bank vouchers, health care assistance, help with rent and utilities, as well as parenting education classes and a "Parent Cafe."

Parenting Education

Emmaus House offers the "A Great Start" program to struggling parents with children ranging in age from the prenatal stage to five years old. The program is to teach good parenting techniques from the beginning of the child's life to form a strong family foundation for the future. Not only do parents receive instruction, but dinner, childcare and other supports that will help the family unit. 

Parent Cafe'

The Parent Cafe' is designed to bring parents from all backgrounds together to discuss, support and share parenting tips and ideas, as well as helpful information and resources when it comes to parenting. This cafe is a judgement-free zone, and is intended to help encourage parents to build a social network and a sense of community with other parents in their same neighborhood.

To learn more about about programs for children, parents and families at Emmaus House, click here

To make a donation to Emmaus House on behalf of Moms, click here

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 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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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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