Posts tagged atlanta
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
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.

Update on Our Turkeys for Families Fundraiser

A Successful Sign Up Day for Families

On Monday, despite unseasonably cold weather, 225 families lined up to receive their vouchers for a turkey and all the fixings to make a Thanksgiving dinner at home.  The remaining 125 vouchers will go to other residents who could not make it on Monday, including at least fifty seniors.  After the line had slowed, Ann Fowler, who manages the program, said, “Everyone deserves to have special moments in their lives.  Thanksgiving symbolizes family and it’s a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season for those struggling to put food on the table.”

Meet Jerrica Holliman.

Jerrica has been a resident of Peoplestown for 17 years. Jerrica has three adult children, all of whom have jobs, and she regularly receives groceries from the food pantry. This will be her second year as a participant in the Thanksgiving at Home program at Emmaus House. 

What does this Thanksgiving program mean to you?

Jerrica:  It means a lot.  They help us for real in so many ways nobody would even imagine.

They put a smile on my face. I’m so happy that we have this in our community.  People come together around Emmaus House.

Fundraising Continues

Love abounds. And because of everyone's love-inspired generosity, so do turkeys!

We are pleased to announce, with heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has contributed to our Thanksgiving At Home Fundraiser, that as of today, we are 77 percent funded in our goal of providing Thanksgiving meals for over 350 families in the Peoplestown community!

With 24 days left, we are more than hopeful of reaching 100 percent. But we still need your help.

Please don't think, "Oh great!  All is well. They'll reach their goal, I need not bother."  We still have a ways to go.  A mere $10 means a family celebrates their lives together in their own home around a Thanksgiving Day feast.  And don’t forget the leftovers they’ll get to enjoy - what’s better than Thanksgiving leftovers?

So, if you haven't contributed, please help us quickly reach our goal. And please urge just one friend or family member to do the same... let's get these birds 'in hand' and share our bounty with many less fortunate than ourselves.

How to Contribute

Our fundraiser is coordinated through IndieGoGo. You can visit our campaign page here:

Please note that your receipt will say that the donation went to “The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta.”  However, please be assured that 100% of your contribution will come to Emmaus House to purchase Thanksgiving turkeys.

There you can find out more about our Thanksgiving At Home Program, as well as Emmaus House’s general mission and the Peoplestown community that we serve.  Please visit our campaign site to discover how you can spread a little love this holiday season.

Lastly, a huge thank you to all who have already contributed to the campaign.  And a huge shout out to the staff and volunteers who are lovingly making this effort happen.  Blessings to all.


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What's At Stake This November: Issues That Affect Us All

Perhaps the single most crucial issue facing uninsured citizens and voters in Georgia this November is Medicaid Expansion.  This issue has significant implications for the individuals and families who come to the Lokey Center at Emmaus House every day for help with medical bills, prescriptions, and co-pays.  

Medicaid expansion in Georgia would qualify our state for a 100% federal match of funding for three years, and a 90% federal match thereafter.  This translates to $40 billion our state could receive in the span of just ten years, with a staggering 650,000 currently uninsured Georgians obtaining medical coverage.

Not insuring those who cannot afford the high costs of healthcare ultimately affects everyone.  Neglecting any one portion of the community affects the health of the whole through unseen and unintended repercussions.  Emory and Morehouse medical schools estimate that 10 Georgians are dying preventable deaths each day due to lack of access to healthcare.  With the expansion of Medicaid, we could save up to 3,600 lives per year!

Medicaid expansion not only alleviates suffering and saves lives.  It also provides health outcomes that create personal economic independence.  Healthy individuals are able to remain gainfully employed rather than slip into chronic illness, unemployment, and poverty.  Chronically ill populations create an enormous burden on local and state government health, support, and administrative services that must be garnered from local and state taxes.  On the other hand, healthy populations contribute to the economic health of a region.

In addition, expanding Medicaid would contribute to job creation of an estimated 56,000 jobs in Georgia, which increases the tax base.  An expanded tax base funds improvements such as education, employment, urban redevelopment, and public transit that benefit everyone.  An expanded tax base also contributes to finding solutions to other social justice issues such as crime (yes, it is a social justice issue), nutrition, housing and homelessness.  If not addressed, these issues combine and reverberate throughout the social order to compound as negative effects that contribute to ever-increasing poverty and crime within and upon the larger communities of city and state.  Denying health care for a few, by rejecting Medicaid expansion being offered through the Affordable Care Act, reduces quality of life and increases overall total economic costs thereby reducing quality of life for everyone in the region.  The myriad sector services that are required to respond to the combined effects of illness, poverty, and crime will far outstrip the costs of providing healthcare to those who would qualify under Medicaid Expansion in our state.

The AJC reports that 57% of Georgians support the expansion of Medicaid.  That leaves a significant percentage of folks who do not.  As individuals, we can suffer from tunnel vision that blinds us to the big picture.  We tend to respond to things that only directly affect us.  However, when we expand our thinking beyond our own daily lives, we see that the welfare of others is, in reality, our own.  Each of us is a part of the larger whole.  No one lives in isolation.  We all affect each other's welfare.  Will you keep this perspective in mind as you enter the ballot box on Tuesday?  Be wise, and vote!


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"Vote" Photographer: Theresa Thompson License
"Vote" Photographer: Theresa Thompson License
The Squeaky Wheel Gets The Grease (or, Why We Should Vote in So-Called 'Off Year' Elections)

Many are discouraged from voting in an 'off year election'.  But the term is disparagingly misleading. The so-called ‘off year’ or non-presidential election cycle is tremendously important at the local and state levels.  It is the opportunity to affect grassroots changes at home; the time to hold local, state & federal representatives accountable.  In addition, it is a time to voice one's opinion on important ballot issues that directly affect our daily lives.  As Jay Bookman, award-winning journalist, political columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution put it, "Here in Georgia, if black Georgians voted in larger numbers, they might not have a government that refuses Medicaid expansion for hundreds of thousands of lower-income working people... they might not have a Legislature that recoils so instinctively from mass transit and other perceived “urban” amenities."

NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks put it this way, “Voting is not a social luxury, it is our civic responsibility."  In truth, voting is an action of responsibility to ourselves and our loved ones.  

Black voter turnout six years ago was nearly 70%; but election analysts mainly attribute this to Barack Obama’s name on the ballot.  According to United States census data, over 66% of registered Black voters went to the polls for the November 2012 election. That’s 2% higher than registered White voters, and nearly 6% higher than U.S. voters overall.  

"The squeaky wheel gets the grease" is an American idiom used to convey the idea that the most noticeable (or loudest) problems (or people) are the ones most likely to get attention.

Source: Wikipedia

African Americans, along with unmarried women, youth voters and other voters of color also make up a rising population of eligible voters, according to a 2013 Voter Participation Center report. Together, this group makes up more than half of the eligible U.S. voting population. And yet, statistics show that in “off year elections” African Americans still don’t turn out to vote in proportion to the rest of eligible voters.  

Clearly, some of the causes can be attributed to access - restrictions imposed by social and economic factors.  While Emmaus House of Atlanta does not advocate nor endorse any political party or persuasion we do advocate engagement in the political process.  We encourage self-empowerment by encouraging voting participation through sponsoring voter registration and turnout by partnering with social justice and political educational groups such as The Georgia Justice Project.

Here are a few reasons why everyone who is interested in social and economic justice, including our neighbors in Peoplestown should vote:

1. Earlier generations fought and died for this right.

We can't afford to lose the hard won gains nor dishonor the lives of so many who have given their blood, sweat, tears and some their very lives for us, the beneficiaries of their struggles for social justice.  We as individuals and a people, no matter our ethnicity, cannot afford to relinquish the hard won rights of the Labor Movement in the early 20th century or the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s.  We must ask ourselves: how can we honor the personal sacrifices of Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. here in America during the 1960’s, and of Mahatma Gandhi in India in the 1940’s who was a model for Dr. King?  We must continue to claim their victories.   We must keep Dr. King's dream alive.  We must make our voices heard. We must vote. As Gandhi enjoined, "Be the change you want to see in the world."

2. African Americans are an important voting bloc.

Statistically this was most evident proven in the 2008 & 2012 presidential elections.  This should be our rallying cry to continue turning out in all elections, especially so at the all important local and state levels.  Without a concerted voice, politicians won't address the needs of whole populations.  

3. Everything to gain, and much to lose.

Issues such as unemployment, housing, education and health could worsen if voters don’t express their needs to elected officials.  If voters don't demand changes, their needs most likely won’t be addressed.

4. Fighting against embedded apathy.

Many subscribe to the ‘I don’t feel like my vote counts’ school of thought and won’t vote in any election.  African Americans need to vote and show that their vote is important.  If we don't vote, we're sending the message that we don't count.  A major way to express political will is through voting.  As well, we need to ensure that politicians take our votes very seriously by showing up en masse. We need to hold our elected officials accountable by voting out those who are unresponsive to the needs of everyone.

We urge everyone in our neighborhood, and across the state, to vote at next Tuesday’s election. Let our voices be heard.  

Listed below is the closest voting precinct to Peoplestown. But each registered voter is assigned a polling place, so please refer to you voter information card. If you you are unsure of your polling location, you can visit or call 404-612-7020. Election Day - November 4th

Atlanta South Side Health Center

1046 Ridge Avenue SW

Atlanta, GA 30315

Information about Voting From Fulton County's Website

Polls to open at 7:00 am on Tuesday, November 4th

On  Tuesday, November 4, 2014, all 370 precincts in Fulton County will open to welcome voters. The Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections is confident that pre-election preparations will result in an easy and pleasant voting experience for all electors. As always, administrative and technical support is available in the field and at the Election phone bank to address questions that may arise.

As of October 30, 2014, 75,051 voters have cast ballots during Early Voting and 5,942 via Absentee Ballot. 

Voters who plan to vote in person on November 4th should keep the following points in mind:

  • Voters must vote at their assigned polling place listed on their voter information card. Any voter who is unsure of where to vote should go to the Elections Department website at or call 404-612-7020.
  • Voters must provide identification that contains both a photo and signature in order to vote. Acceptable forms of ID include Georgia driver’s license (or ID card issued by a Georgia Department of Georgia Voters are required to show one of six forms of valid photo identification when voting in person, during the absentee or advanced voting period or at the polls on Election Day. The valid forms of identification are as follows:
  1. A Georgia driver’s license, even if expired.
  2. Any valid state or federal government issued photo ID, including a free Voter ID Card issued by your county registrar or Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS).
  3. Valid U.S. passport.
  4. Valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority, or other entity of this state.
  5. Valid U.S. military photo ID.
  6. Valid tribal photo ID.

If a voter does not have one of these forms of photo identification, they can obtain a FREE Voter ID card at their County Registrars’ office or the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services.


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Tricycle. Photographer: Florian Klauer
Tricycle. Photographer: Florian Klauer