Children First’s summer friend-raising series, “Stories from Childhood: From a Tiny Acorn,” got off to a rousing start with three amazing memoirs from prominent Athenians. About 40-50 people attended each of the July sessions: Doc Eldridge, former Athens-Clarke County Mayor and current head of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce; the Reverend Archibald “ A.R.” Killian, retired businessman and one of the first two black policemen in Athens; and Claude Williams, communications entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Mr. Eldridge discussed how, in high school, he worked with Michael Thurmond, former Georgia Secretary of Labor, to defuse racial tensions during school integration. He also reminisced about how small Athens was during his childhood -- the Beechwood area was in the country.
Mr. Killian recalled paying five cents a week for a good preschool education. He also talked about letting white students from the University of Georgia eat at his restaurant, Killian’s Four Seasons. That is, until Governor Lester Maddox personally came to tell him to stop.
Mr. Williams remembered narrowly escaping injury in the deadly 1936 Gainesville tornado because he stopped at a friend’s house while walking to elementary school. He said that his parents instilled in him a love of education, a strong work ethic, and a commitment to charitable giving.
Children First is launching a 7-week series called "Stories from Childhood: From a Tiny Acorn" on July 14th. Each week's event will feature one of seven iconic figures in and around Athens who will tell about the challenges, happy times, and cultural happenings that marked his or her childhood.
Each speaker will be interviewed by another notable Athenian in a lively conversation. For example, Flagpole editor Pete McCommons will interview Doc Eldridge in the kick-off event on July 14th, and Clarke County district school board member Vernon Payne will interview Bertis Downs on August 18th.We will be working on having audio, video, and commentary available on our website for those that miss any of the events. We hope you all can join us for this exciting series!Click HERE to read an article about the event at OnlineAthens.
We want to extend a huge thanks to the UGA Kappa Alpha Thetas for raising almost $10,000 for our CASA program through their CASA Fiesta this past semester. CASA is the Theta sorority's national philanthropy and the UGA chapter has been an invaluable partner in our program's work with abused and neglected children in the community. Thank you to everyone that attended the event and to all the Theta's that have worked so hard to give children a voice.
See photos of the event by clicking on "Read More" below!
As you know, I am the new Executive Director of Children First. One of the hardest things to do after replacing someone who has been a well known and passionate advocate, such as Christain Orobello, is to bring the work of the organization back into focus after an extend search process. Our professional staff and devoted board members are terrific resources that are ready to go do real good in our community, so that process is made easier in our case.
In an effort to refocus the efforts of Children First, both the board and staff undertook separate retreats to answer the following question:
"What initiatives and activities must this organization undertake and/or complete in the next three years to give Children First the stability, resources and leadership to meet its mission of ensuring the children of our community are quickly returned to safe, secure and permanent living environments?"
As a stakeholder and community member, we'd love to hear your thoughts on this question. I feel it is a valuable exercise to critically examine the motivation of and reasons for the work we do advocating for children and families in our community. Hopefully, we can count on you to help us do that.
We appreciate your thoughts and comments. Please comment below to let us know what you think.
Thank you for helping to Put Children First.
Executive Director, Children First, Inc.
Congratulations to our 4 newest CASA Volunteers! They were sworn in as officers of the court last Thursday by Juvenile Court Judge Shearer in front of an audience or supportive families and friends. Thank you to everyone that came to celebrate their graduation from training and we wish these new advocates the best of luck as they begin speaking up for a child in need!
Thank you to the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority for their consistent support of the Athens-Oconee CASA Program. The recently held a "Rock the CASA" BBQ and raised nearly $9,000 through the Tickets Fore Charity event! These women have been dedicated advocates for CASA's cause for years, and our CASA program would be hard-pressed without them.
Photos From the Rock the CASA BBQ
Thank you to everyone that attended our Volunteer Appreciation on Thursday, April 28th. The weather was beautiful, the food was delicious, and it was wonderful to see so many dedicated child advocates and supporters!
Congratulations to the following award winners:
Monika Dobbs - The Linda and Jerry Strickland Volunteer of the Year
Kelsey Chandler - Childcare Volunteer of the Year
Beth Johnston - Volunteer Voice of the Year.
A special thank you to Trumps Catering and Sally and Mark Barnes for their help with this event. Check out photos below or on our Facebook Page.
Every year, November is recognized as Adoption Awareness Month. While all adoption issues are important, this month focuses specifically on the over 115,000 children in foster care available for adoption. Activities and celebrations are kicked off with a Presidential Proclamation, and while efforts made at the national level certainly help build awareness of adoption, participation in local programs, events, and activities by those of us with a direct connection to adoption can often be the most effective way to promote positive perceptions, debunk the myths, and draw attention to the tens of thousands of children in foster care who wait and hope for permanent families.
Below are several links for ideas to celebrate Adoption Awareness Month, photolisting and bios on some of the 115,000 foster children awaiting adoption, and how to get involved.
As part of this year's Casa Mia, Mi Corazon event, we are holding a raffle with some amazing prizes. Check out the prizes below. You can purchase tickets until 5pm on Friday, October 1st.
Gift Card Wallet
Over $800 in gift cards to local businesses including Last Resort, Arbor Spa, Athens Home Organizer, Big City Bread, Revolutionary Massage, and more...
Tickets $10.00Purchase Now!
Big Pine Key Vacation House
Treat yourself! One week at a 3BR, 2BA home on Big Pine Key! The house is right on the canal making it perfect for fishing, family fun, or just a week away from it all!
Tickets $10.00Purchase now!
The golf package includes a free round of golf for 4 at Briar Rose in White Plains, Georgia, $100 at Calloway Golf, $60 at the PGA Tour Superstore, and "To Win and Die in Dixie: The Birth of the Modern Golf Swing and The Mysterious Death of It's Creator" by Steve Eubanks.
Tickets $10.00Purchase Now!
The Atlanta Braves Package includes 2 baseballs signed by Braves pitchers Derek Lowe and Michael Dunn, Braves T-shirts and other fanfare, as well as "Of Mikes and Men" by Pete Van Wieren - long time Braves announcer.
Tickets $5.00Purchase Now!