Teaching isn’t a profession where you can leave your job “at the office.” When teachers aren’t in their classrooms, they’re making lesson plans, grading papers, creating crafty, fun, and educational decorations and “centers” for their classrooms — and unfortunately buying their own supplies.

Ninety percent of teachers spend—on average—$600 of their own money on supplies for their students each year, so that every child begins the school year with a level playing field. And this is where the Henry County Adopt-A-Teacher Initiative comes in.

The HC Adopt-A-Teacher campaign was created by the Raise Me Up Foundation, a non-profit organization that was formed in 2016 to help the community create a safe and healthy environment for children to grow.

According to the foundation’s executive director, Priti Griffin, the inspiration for the Adopt-A-Teacher Campaign comes from the foundation’s desire to positively impact and support the teachers and educators within our community.

“Our teachers are on the front lines every day, working tirelessly to meet the needs of every child they teach. Many of these children come from economically diverse backgrounds, and unfortunately may not always have the resources for their participation in the classroom,” she said. “It’s unfair to put the financial cost of continuously supporting these children on the shoulders of our teachers, [and] that’s where the Adopt-A-Teacher campaign steps in and offers its support.”

According to Griffin, the Adopt-A-Teacher campaign was designed to allow the community to select or “adopt” a teacher of their choice, access a list of needs supplied by that teacher, and deliver the supplies to the appropriate school by August 31, 2017. The community will be able to access a detailed list of teachers (adoptees) with their wish-list of supplies from the Raise Me Up Foundation’s website, www.raisemeupfoundation.org, as of July 24, 2017.

Are you a teacher who wants to participate? Registration for specific classroom needs will begin on the website on July 24. You will be able to request specific supplies you need for your classroom. Individual or corporate sponsorship and general donations are appreciated and welcomed July 15 through August 31, and can be dropped off at several supporting community sites, including Moye’s Pharmacy (on the square), The American Cookie Company (Tanger Outlet), Sky Zone McDonough Trampoline Park, and the Connecting Henry office in McDonough.

In 2016, local businesses like Strawn Insurance, NEWSole Running, H3 Automotive, The Women’s Center PC, and Southern Grace Hospice and Palliative Care contributed valuable sponsor dollars, enabling the campaign’s first year a great success. The campaign successfully facilitated the adoption of 192 teachers.

“Our goal is to double the number of adoptions and sponsors from last year,” said Griffin.

“We’re receiving phone calls and emails daily from teachers wanting to be “adopted.” Teachers can be added to our list by submitting a request through our website or sending us an email at contactus@raisemeupfoundation.org.

The updated needs list is below.

In addition to the Adopt-A-Teacher campaign, the Raise Me Up Foundation also facilitates  Darkness to Light/Stewards of Children trainings in an effort to recognize the signs and help prevent sexual child abuse. “We need to help train the community to recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse,” Griffin said.

And the foundation is currently facilitating these trainings to all Henry County School staff.  “Although Darkness to Light trainings are the main focus of the Raise Me Up Foundation, we recognize other needs within the community and try to provide resources and programs such as HC Adopt-A-Teacher, the Henry County Healthy Children’s Conference, an anti-bullying campaign, and more,” Griffin said.

For further information on the Raise me Up Foundation and its programs, please contact their office at contactus@raisemeupfoundation.org.

 

 

If you live in the Henry County area, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve heard of Our World at HOPE Park. This special needs awareness organization has been heavily involved in the community recently by building an all-inclusive special needs playground, convincing a local movie theater to have a sensory-friendly screening of Cars 3, and most recently, through fundraisers and generous donations, they have been able to schedule the constriction and opening of a special needs school right here in Henry County, which is desperately needed.

Why is a special needs school needed? As of 2012, 1.5 million people have autism. That number is growing at a rate of 15–17 percent a year—and most of these individuals are all under the age of 22. This means that families have to devote their lives to taking care of these children with special needs for their lifetime, and it means at least one parent probably cannot work because they need to take care of their child.

And because there are no facilities on the south side, when their children do go to school, they have to commute to Atlanta and back daily. This is a costly and time-consuming dilemma for these families that already have a lot on their plates.

Coming up in August, Our World at Hope Park is hosting their second annual “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes” Walkathon on August 19 at 8 a.m., at Henry County High School. All participants will be wearing heels for a mile-and-a-half walk to raise awareness about families with children who have autism. Women have the option to wear tennis shoes (since they know the struggle of heels anyway!). Why does everyone have to wear heels? It’s to give participants a better idea of the multitasking special-needs moms are required to do on a daily basis.

It’s free to register, but participants will require a minimum of $25 from sponsor donations. There will be a Waffle House breakfast immediately following the event.

Check out this fun video from last year’s event:

It’s been 20 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published. And since then, “The Boy Who Lived” has been a huge influence with folks who are probably in their 30s now, but still get that glimmer of excitement when they hear John Williams’ familiar jingle that was played at the beginning of every Harry Potter movie.

These same (now) adults were the ones who were reading about Harry Potter’s 11th birthday when they were 12, and were standing in line to get their hands on the much-anticipated Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when they were 21 years old. Not just for this group of people, but for many generations still, the “Magical World of Harry Potter” has instilled the love for reading in many. The love of a good story, with loveable characters, plot twists, acts of courage, and doing the right thing, no matter the cost.

Books-A-Million in McDonough has been celebrating Harry Potter’s birthday for the past three years, and has had a party at their bookstore for each one. This year, their fourth year, they’ll be focusing on the fourth book, The Goblet of Fire, and “cordially invite all fans to celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday by attending a ‘Yule Ball’” on Saturday, July 29, from 4 p.m.–8 p.m. Activities will be throughout the evening, so people can drop in at anytime.

At this event, dress robes are highly encouraged, and there will be a costume contest, trivia, wands and other games and activities, as well as prizes and giveaways. The cafe will have plenty of Harry Potter-inspired drinks and snacks for purchase. The event is free, and there will be something for all ages to enjoy.

So if you’re a “Potterhead,” we will see you at Books-A-Million on July 29, dressed in your best dress robes — and hopefully no hand-me-down robes with garish ruffles that your mum’s making you wear.

Fireworks and July 4 celebrations go hand in hand. And who wants to drive all the way up to Atlanta and fight the crowds and traffic to go to Centennial Park or SunTrust Park? Especially when there are celebrations to be had on the south side. Check out four places to see some fireworks and to celebrate July 4 this year. These celebrations are a bit earlier than the actual Independence Day, giving you time to still have your family and friends over for your own celebrating.

“3 of July Celebration,” hosted by Harding Plumbing, Heating and Cooling
125 S. Zack Hinton Pkwy, McDonough, 30253
Who says you have to celebrate on the actual fourth? Starting at 6 p.m. on July 3, Harding Plumbing, Heating and Cooling will be hosting a “3 of July Celebration” at Richard Craig Park in McDonough. There will be a local band, inflatables for kids, food, and of course, fireworks. No coolers will be permitted at this event. Parking is $10 per loaded car, and everything else is free — including the bouncy houses for the kids.

O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags “Fireworks Extravaganza”
1500 Tara Place, Hampton, 30228

In addition to their usual Friday Night Drags event, O’Reilly Auto Parts will also be putting on a Fireworks Extravaganza for an early celebration on June 30 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags is a heads up, street-style drag racing series on Atlanta Motor Speedway’s eighth-mile pit road, with an average of 225 drag racers and 90 show cars in front of nearly 5,000 fans each night,” according to the Atlanta Motor Speedway’s website. Combine loud, fast car racing and fireworks? Sign us up! Spectators $10, Kids under 5 are free. The gates open at 6:30 p.m.

“Annual Fire Works Extravaganza 2017” Eagles Landing Country Club
100 Eagle’s Landing Way, Stockbridge, 30281
Fast cars not your speed? Eagles Landing Country Club is also hosting a fireworks extravaganza on June 30 from 6:30 p.m.–11 p.m. It’s open to the entire community, and festivities will include live music with five-member-band, “Retro Paradox,” a stilt walker, caricature artist, balloon animal making, an “All-American” all-you-can-eat buffet, and of course, a fireworks display, starting at 9:30 p.m. Cost is $25 for adults, and Children twelve and under $15. Wristband sales begin at 6 p.m. in the main lobby, buffet service will be from 6:30 p.m.–9 p.m., and The Junction will be selling drinks and snacks a la carte until 11 p.m. Member lounge and patio will be offering “bar bites” until 10 p.m., and adult beverages will be available until 11 p.m.

“Fireworks Hike” at Panola Mountain
2620 Highway 155 SW, Stockbridge, 30281

Looking for something a bit different to do this year? Panola Mountain State Park will be hosting a 4th of July Fireworks Hike on July 2, starting at 8 p.m. Take a leisurely stroll with a ranger to the top of Panola Mountain. Enjoy a panoramic view of Stone Mountain and Atlanta’s July 4 celebrations from a distance. Bring bug spray, water and a flashlight for the walk back down the mountain to a waiting campfire and s’mores. This program is $20 per person, plus $5 to park. Call their nature center to register at 770-389-7801.

 

Our World at HOPE Park is doing some amazing things in Henry County. They’ve recently built an all-inclusive special needs playground, convinced a local movie theater to have a sensory-friendly screening of Cars 3, and most recently, through fundraisers and generous donations, have been able to schedule an opening of a special needs school right here in Henry County, which is desperately needed.

As of 2012, 1.5 million people have autism. That number is growing at a rate of 15–17 percent a year—and most of these individuals are all under the age of 22. This means that families have to devote their lives to taking care of these children with special needs for their lifetime, and it means at least one parent probably cannot work because they need to take care of their child. And because there are no facilities on the south side, when their children do go to school, they have to commute to Atlanta and back daily. This is a costly and time-consuming dilemma for these families that already have a lot on their plates.

And Our World at HOPE Park’s mission was to bring this school to the families of Henry County, and they’ve succeeded. But some families need help in paying tuition for this school, and that’s where ten-year-old Hayden comes in.

According to Lori Hamp Harris, “When Hayden was three weeks old, something terrible happened … he was rushed to the hospital with traumatic brain injury (TBI) on both sides of his brain,” she said on Facebook. “No one thought he would live. Even if he did, the doctors gave him no hope to ever be able to walk, talk, see or hear. They expected him to have a trach to be able to breathe his whole life,” she said.

“But Hayden had different plans.”

After being adopted by a loving family, Hayden has come a long way in his short lifetime.

“At three, they were able to successfully remove and rebuild his trachea. He sees. He hears. He talks. And after some time on braces, walks,” Harris said.  “For many parents, these milestones are taken for granted. For [Hayden’s parents], each milestone for Hayden is a gift from God,” she said.

Hayden is even learning to read, comprehend, recall stories and write legibly, according to Harris. He’s sure come a long way.

There is one more thing to know about Hayden. Even though he was hurt terribly as a baby, he has a tremendously passionate heart, and for his tenth birthday, Hayden wants a big party with lots of people. And in lieu of gifts, he wants people to donate money to Our World at Hope Park to give other children with special needs scholarship money to go to their special needs school. Hayden’s dream is to have many, many people line up to put donations in the bowl as they are passing by to wish him a Happy Birthday. His birthday bash will be held at the new all-inclusive playground, HOPE Park — Big Spring, McDonough, on July 15 at 5 p.m. RSVP on the event page, or email Harris directly at lori@ourhopepark.com so Our World at HOPE Park can have enough food and drinks on hand for guests.

If you are not able to attend, but want to make Hayden’s 10th birthday wish come true, you may donate at: https://form.jotform.us/OurWorldatHopePark/happy-10th-birthday-hayden.

In addition to the birthday donations, Our World at Hope Park is hosting their second annual “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes” Walkathon on August 19 at 8 a.m., at Henry County High School. All participants will be wearing heels for a mile-and-a-half walk to raise awareness about families with children who have autism. Women have the option to wear tennis shoes (since they know the struggle of heels anyway!). Why does everyone have to wear heels? It’s to give participants a better idea of the multitasking special-needs moms are required to do on a daily basis.

It’s free to register, but participants will require a minimum of $25 from sponsor donations. There will be a Waffle House breakfast immediately following the event.