Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 181

Beyond exhausted and too much fun at SafeHouse!

Spent the entire evening outside talking to everyone. It was great catching up with some, meeting some more new people, and getting to know yesterdays new people a little more.

We're hosting a Game Night there tomorrow so I also talked to some of the guys about helping out and helping the new volunteers that come out. They all said they were looking forward to it - I'm hoping everyone has a good time tomorrow! Join us if you can :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 180

I had a really good time at SafeHouse this evening - it was all about good news and meeting new people, in addition to catching up with some of the regulars.

One of the guys I hadn't seen in a while came by and was showing off some keys, and when he caught me looking he grinned and told me things were working out. I was so excited for him! He is in an apartment now and is working, and has been for a month. he came by to visit today and to share his good news with us. I'm hoping things continue to go well for him!

I met a couple of new people as well - not new to SafeHouse, I'd seen them before but just hadn't had an opportunity to really talk to them. One stood out for me - he's 21years old and has been coming to SafeHouse for about three years. He lived in Texas with his mum, she then got deported and he moved to Atlanta to live with an uncle. His uncle lost his job and moved back home to Jamaica. Now the young gentleman is here by himself. He completed school up to the 9th grade and doesn't have a lot of work experience. But he's very positive and says he's trying to get his "head right". When I asked how he was going to do this he said he needed to first look for a job and eventually get his GED. I told him I was going to keep checking up on him, and I'm hoping to find some way of helping him make a change in his life. Any ideas??

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 179

I don't think I've been this tired in a while! There's so much going on each day and it seems to be getting just a little more difficult to go out everyday to volunteer. I'm really really thankful to everyone who has been able to cover for me and keep the project going!! I would not have made it this far without you.

Today I made it back to Kashi to help with their street meals program. It was nice going back and it really didn't feel like that long since my last visit there. As usual, there was lots of conversation around the table: dating, July 4th plans, restaurants, music, books (The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - one of my favorites, strongly recommend it).

I think I'm back there next week, and I'm sure it will be as much fun as today was.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 178

My brother and cousin volunteered for me today at Books for Africa, here's how it went:

"It was another busy day at Books for Africa. Despite the blazing heat, there were a lot of people there to help out today. A church group as well as some other okes who were just there to volunteer. They received a new truck load of books so everybody was busy with sorting books out. Overall a good group of people and everyone was really just concentrating on getting all those books done."

It was the first time my cousin helped out, here's his quick take on volunteering:

"It was good. Time flew by. I was surprised by how many people were there to volunteer and help out."

Thank you both so much for volunteering today!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 177

It started off as a normal, calm evening at SafeHouse. I caught up with the regulars, spent some time with my buddy, and chatted to the gentleman who recycles cans. We talked about reincarnation, karma, and positive energy. He shared stories about good deeds and not worrying about anything negative. He has a really positive attitude that is apparent as soon as you meet him.

As the evening progressed the storm clouds got closer and there was no sign of the church that was serving today. It got to the point where we had to tell people to leave before the rain came down because it didn't look like the church group was coming. We started cleaning up and putting the chairs away. And as the gate started closing the church group pulled up!

They came in and went ahead with the service and meal preparation. It was pouring down at this point and most of the crowd had already left. It was still raining when the food was ready to be served so people were told to go ahead and eat inside before they left for the evening :)

Hopefully everyone that left early found somewhere to eat! And I'm hoping they all find somewhere dry to sleep tonight...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day 176

I had a quick night at SafeHouse this evening thanks to a horrible migraine!

I hung out at the gate with some of the regulars. It was really laid back, we talked about things going on in the city today, they told me a little about different people walking in, a couple of the guys played ball. It wasn't very busy there though, probably because there were other events going on downtown.

Once service started, I helped clean up the lot and left shortly after. Hoping this migraine goes away by tomorrow so I can go back to having a more social evening there :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 175

I finally made it back to SafeHouse tonight and was so excited to be there! I was only able to spend a little time outside on the lot before it started pouring! My 2year old buddy came outside and surprised me, so ofcourse I spent all evening running around with him. I also had some conversations about kids, family, relationships, and life in general.

Once the rain started we stayed inside, and keeping my buddy entertained and quiet was a bit of a mission. But we made it through the service, without disrupting anything.

I had a great time, looking forward to going back tomorrow. Hopefully the rain won't distrub the socializing :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 174

Being in the academic industry, and the field of education... my interest is always piqued when any type of educational news or movement is raised in the media.

I'd opted to volunteer online today, because Chandni was out of town and logged into after being away for quite a while.

Imagine my excitement, when Care2 - asked for members to sign a petition targeted to Education Secretary Arne Duncan to adopt national academic achievement standards, and maintain uniformity nationwide.

I signed the petition and gave them a slew of reasons as to why it was important to do so from my experience in working with students from across the nation.

I was tempted to look into several other petitions, but I opted to Click to Donate instead!
I'll give you a rundown:

One click helped sponsor 1 child in need today.
Together we've provided 738 months of child sponsorship.

One click saved 7.4 sq. ft. of rainforest today.
Together we've saved 9,295.9 acres of rainforest.

One click protected 11,000 sq. ft. of big cat habitat today.
Together we've protected 17,007,482 acres of big cat

One click just supported life saving research today.
Together we've clicked 20,771,439 times to end breast cancer forever.

One click helped a shelter pet today.
Together we've helped feed 19,199,547 pets in shelters.

One click helped protect baby seals today.
Together we've clicked 18,511,047 times to fund IFAW's seal hunt observers.

One click protected 100 sq. ft. of ocean today.
Together we've protected 47,432.6 acres of oceans.

One click fed a rescued primate today.
Together we've fed rescued primates 18,774,765 times.

One click offset your computer's energy use today.
Together we've offset 12,966,385 days of computer energy use.

One click helped provide justice for women worldwide today.
Together we've clicked 14,376,101 times to end violence against women.
This is huge, especially today because at 7:30pm today CSB Management Group and the It's Just Us Radio Show held a A Male Celebrity Fashion Event: Walking the Runway for a Cause

One click helped adopt and protect threatened wolves today.
Together we've provided 116,940 days of wolf adoption

The sponsors for Care2 range from FritoLay to Crystal Light, and it's encouraging to see these large corporations participate in such small efforts we make to make the world a little brighter!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 173

It's been a rather hectic day at work so my brother, Jiten, covered for me today. Here's his recap for today:

"I was back at Books for Africa this morning. It was very tiring since there were only 5 volunteers there today. As soon as I got there, I found out what needed to be done and got right to it. I spent a full two hours packing books into boxes preparing them for shipping. I stacked up an entire pallet of 30 boxes filled with leisure reading books for primary school students in standards 1 to 4. The other 4 volunteers were all doing their part. There wasn't much conversation happening today unfortunately, as we were all on different sides of the warehouse... In those 2 hours I packed over 1000 books which will be going to a country in Africa soon. Just 2 hours of helping out made such a huge difference".

He's right - it doesn't take a lot of time to make a difference, but it does take WANTING to make a difference.

Thanks for helping out today kid!! You're definitely making a difference, and making me proud :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 172

Another day of virtual volunteering...I went to and found an interesting challenge on there.

This was a research challenge for Melbourne Respects - a venture between City of Melbourne, People First -Total Solutions and Travellers Aid aiming to find solutions with and for young people to the issues of violence in the City of Melbourne.They needed help finding research on young male violence specifically in the city of Melbourne, Australia in  2010. 

I did a basic Google search as well as a database search on galileo. 

There's something for everyone on - use your skills to help make a difference!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 171

It's been an evening of virtual volunteering on

I tested my knowledge on flags of the world and did fairly well. I donated 2500 grains of rice. Still need to practice this one a little more before I switch subjects again :)

Hope you get to try this one out too! Happy virtual volunteering!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 170

Chandni and I made a quick stop at SHO before she left town for work.

I was out earlier this afternoon when it was sweltering hot outside, and by the time I got there I was thankful it had cooled down a bit.

I can't imagine what it was like for everyone to be out there in that heat all day!

So, if any of you would like to donate some water to SHO, it'd be awesome!

Okay, back to our night... We'd seen so many familiar faces tonight, that it was time to go by the time we'd done our rounds and said hi to everyone.

I wish we had more time!

I hope everyone had a good weekend, and a good Fathers day!

Have a fabulous week, and Happy Volunteering!!!
Chandni and Dona

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 169

Unfortunately we weren't able to volunteer at Global Soap today because the warehouse was closed for the day. So I ended up going back to SafeHouse this evening.

The weather got a little nasty early on, so everyone was asked to come inside. Luckily in addition to service, there was a group of visitors there who kept the crowd entertained with their music. Things went really smoothly and the crowd was patient and pleasant the entire evening. I'm sure everyone was glad to be inside and dry, for the most part!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 168

I'm back in town a little earlier than anticipated so I went down to SafeHouse for the evening. The group there tonight was really good! People enjoyed the food and the group spent a lot of time outside talking to everyone. They come down to serve food regularly so they know a lot of the men and women there.

One of the conversations I had today was about housing for people who are homeless. One gentleman was telling me that he was going to an organization to do a psychological evaluation, and if he was given a psychiatric diagnosis the organization would give him a place to live based on his income. I asked why he needed to have a mental illness to get housing and his response was that if you wanted a decent place to live where someone wasn't telling you what to do all day long, in Atlanta, this is one of the few options. In this program you have to attend some kind of treatment, but it's based on your schedule/availability.

Some of the housing that is specifically for people who are homeless - transitional housing - has a lot of structure and rules put in place, some of which is needed. But the way this gentleman explained it was that the lack of rules and responsibility is what reinforces some people to stay on the streets. So going into a program that has rules for everything is usually a turn off.

He shared some great insight into the housing problem in Atlanta, and definitely made me more aware of the issues. We need to have a better system in place, but I don't know what that would be yet...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 167

Part of this project is getting my family and friends involved in giving back. My little brother, Jiten, has been a big part of this project and always helps out when he can. He covered for me today and went to Books for Africa, here's what he has to say:

"I was back at Books for Africa today. There was a good group with the church group there along with the usual community service outies [people]. They remembered me from last time and were happy to see me back there to help out. We sorted books and listened to some music. A couple of the church outies started breaking it down and dancing and singing with the music. Everyone was having a good time! I helped one of the girls with sorting books, and got to know her a little bit as well. Overall, it was a lot of fun and the time absolutely flew by. Looking forward to heading back soon."

Thanks for volunteering today kid!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 166

After another busy day and another 4hour drive, I almost didn't get my volunteering in for the day!! This is when care2 makes things easy.

I did the usual click-to-donate tabs and went through all of them as always. I then moved on to the petitions page. Here are some that I signed off on:

  • The first was to stop the senseless slaughter of Australian camels. Australia has the largest population of undiseased dromedary camels anywhere in the world. Now, the Australian government is proposing to slaughter the majority of them in the name of carbon control. 
  • First to sign a petition to stop using handcuffs as punishment in schools! A student who was handcuffed to a railing for an entire day for not wearing a belt had to eat his lunch while handcuffed. Another student, 15 years old, was handcuffed to a railing for hours just for greeting her friend too loudly in the hallway. These incidents do not describe events that occurred at a correctional facility, but at Capital City Alternative School in Mississippi.
  • I LOVE chocolate. The next was a pledge to make my chocolate child labor free. In the Ivory Coast, the leading supplier of cocoa, more than 100,000 children are reported to work in the cocoa fields, and as many as 10,000 are suspected to be victims of human trafficking and slave labor. The children are made to work for little to no wages and often live and work in dangerous conditions. Some are even beaten daily. This is a pledge to support chocolate companies that purchase only Fair Trade cocoa. First to sign this one too!! Check out some of the companies that support fair trade: stopchocolateslavery
  • The last was to tell Mattel to stop destroying rainforests for toy packaging. Rainforests are torn down and turned into paper products, while the empty land is converted into pulpwood plantations. Critical wildlife habitat and carbon-rich rainforests and peatlands are being wrecked for cheap, throw-away toy packaging.
Hope you get a chance to check out care2 and help make a difference!
Happy giving!  

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 165

Letter writing tonight:

  1. Sent a letter to the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, Minister of State for Environment and Forests, and Prime Minister of India urging them to ensure that the human rights of citizens are fully respected. Two environmental activists, Ramesh Agrawal and Dr. Harihar Patel, have been jailed in Chhattisgarh to silence their environmental concerns about industrial projects in the state. They have been jailed on false charges of "circulating defamatory material", "disrupting public order", and "causing alarm and panic among the public" for raising their concerns in a mandated public hearing about a local power plant operated by Jindal Steel and Power. While Dr. Patel remains in jail, Mr. Agrawal is being hospitalized for hypertension and is chained to his hospital bed - a clear case of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
  2. The next was to the President of the Republic of Cameroon. Jean-Claude Roger Mbede has been sentenced to 36 months in prison for homosexuality, a criminal offense under Section 347a of the Cameroonian Penal Code. He is currently serving his sentence at the central prison in
    Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon. He is at risk of physical attack and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment on account of his real or perceived sexual orientation. He is a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely because of his sexual orientation. 
  3. The last was to the Minister of Justice in Argentina. The Indigenous Quilmes people consist of around 3,000 people and most of them live in the north-western Argentinean province of Tucumán. The community of Colalao del Valle is one of the biggest Quilmes communities with approximately 1,000 inhabitants. On 30 May a judge based in the northern Argentinian city of San Miguel de Tucumán rejected the request by the Quilmes Indigenous community of Colalao del Valle to stop the eviction order against their families. Members of the community were previously evicted from this land three times. Each time they reoccupied the land days later.  The 30 May decision has given the authorities the go-ahead to attempt a new eviction. Currently around 30 people, including 10 children, live on the disputed land. Evicting Indigenous communities is currently forbidden under Argentinean legislation.
While writing these letters I came across a success story that shows just how much of a difference you can make. Check it out:
When a Tweet can Change the World

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 164

After a busy day at work, volunteering, and a four hour drive - I'm exhausted!! Here's what I did today:

I was at SafeHouse this evening and arrived to a parking lot FULL of people. One of the groups visiting there this week was singing in the parking lot - it was like a mini concert. The service was also held outside.

I somehow found some familiar faces and spent time talking to a few different people. One of the guys is scheduled to have surgery in July, so we talked about the stress of that, as well as his doctor's appointments before then and what he has to do after surgery. He's starting to get a little stressed out right now but says he is finding healthy ways to manage that. We talked a little about writing down his thoughts and about using some deep breathing to help with the stress.

I then spoke to the gentleman who is very spiritual. He had another message for me, so he gave that to me and than talked to me about communication without cellphones.

I walked around spending a couple of minutes with some of the regulars I know. I won't be back at SafeHouse till Sunday so I tried to talk to as many familiar faces as I could. I'm already looking forward to going back :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day 163

It was another good night at SafeHouse. My 2year old buddy was there and was ready to run around and play ball. I spent some time just walking around with him, saying hello to everyone and catching up with a few people I hadn't seen in a while, including my volunteer friend. He has been volunteering everyday this week, mostly at the food bank. So we shared stories about our experiences there. We're still trying to volunteer there together someday.

I spent some time with the gentleman who recycles. He brought his newest creation - Nicholas - with him today. He has already started working on the next recycle bin - I'm looking forward to seeing that one too!

Meet Nicholas

Chilling with Vancouver

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 162

Dreamy Gelato
At some point in our adventures, we met Sukai Crook of Dreamy Gelato. A wonderful woman that has a Gelato store at The Avenue in Cumming, GA.

Chandni and Sukai worked together to donate 150 cups of the creamiest, lightest gelato for our clients at SHO.

It was a long journey to Cumming, but we were able to catch up on our way there, which I was ecstatic about. We picked up the ice cream, packed it in our coolers, but still needed to get ice. Of course we kept missing every gas station and grocery store possible on our way to SHO before we finally got ice.

Chandni saw her little buddy at SHO before we even pulled up to the gate, and couldn't wait to go play with the adorable little 2 year old!

We passed out Caramel pecan and Chocolate cookies and cream out to everyone, and we had enough for seconds and thirds!!!!

Serving gelato

Chandni and her 2year old buddy :)
We hung out for the rest of the night, talked about basketball teams we were rooting for, used as many big words as we possibly could amongst ourselsves (lol) and laughed throughout.

It was a fabulous night, and we're both going to end it with some Netflix (Chandni) and a swim (me).

Everytime I head to SHO, I'm Always reminded of why we're doing everything that we're doing. It's not always convenient, but it's always humbling and rejuvenating.

It's selfish. I know. But I love being at SHO!!

I really, really, really hope you guys can make it out with us one day!

Good night!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day 161

I had a fun evening at SafeHouse today. Stayed outside and had a couple of different conversations. Two gentlemen were telling me about their experiences in the army/military. They were sharing stories and explaining why they chose to enlist. They talked about how it builds your strength and character and that it is an experience they would recommend to anyone.

I talked with another gentleman about trust and what it takes for him to trust people. Of course there were the hellos and quick conversations. I saw a couple of people I hadn't seen in months. It was great seeing them there and being able to catch up with them. Hopefully get to see them again soon!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 160

After a busy day I went to SafeHouse, and was glad to be back :)

Again, it was a couple days since my last trip there, so it started with catch up conversations, and discussions on work, life, and the weather. My 2year old buddy was there too, so there was the usual running around.

The gentleman who always stays to clean up was there. So at the end of the night he and I picked up trash, put away chairs, and swept the lot. He's a quiet person, but we've bonded over cleaning and so I use the time to get to know more about him. Today we had a work-related conversation: he doesn't work and isn't currently looking for anything. He told me that he spends a lot of time in the library, reading up on environmental and global issues, and spends time in bible study. He said he is using this free time in a positive way and right now he is content with that.

That made an impact on me, and its refreshing to meet someone who values their time enough to do good things with their free time. Glad he was there today, and glad to be able to have these conversations with him.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 159

My mum and little brother, Jiten, volunteered for me today. They delivered meals for Project Open Hand. Here is what they had to say:

"We were the only volunteers there today. They have a company delivering the majority of the meals during the week. We were lucky to get an easy route - there was just one stop where we dropped it off to the office at the apartments, which then disperses the food. It was quick and easy, and had a huge impact in terms of people being served."

My little brother has done this one with me before so he knew what to expect. My mum on the other hand, did not think this was enough. Her overall impression - do more. So the challenge for me will be to find her something that she thinks is more meaningful but still fun!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 158

I was back at the Salvation Army this evening. There were about eight other volunteers helping out today, mostly kids, teens, and a pregnant lady who is due this Friday!!

One of the parents told me she brought both her kids so that they could learn to be responsible and learn to give back to their community. So they helped out with serving, cleaning trays, wiping down tables, and mopping! They are all regulars there and knew where everything was and what needed to be done.

Today we served barbecue chicken, green beans, potatoes, corn bread and sweet tea. And when that ran out there was pizza.

I saw the guy who is transitioning out so spoke to him for a few minutes. He told me he was pretty close to getting a job in a kitchen and he was really looking forward to it.

I had another good volunteering experience here and will be back the next time I'm in town!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day 157

I'm in Augusta for a few days so I volunteered with the Salvation Army soup kitchen this evening. When I walked in the chef came over with a big smile to welcome me back. He's really hospitable! And makes it fun so you feel like going back to help out.

Today we served mac n cheese hamburger helper with garlic bread and salad. It wasn't as crowded as I remember. The chef told me that was because it's the beginning of the month and people still had their cheques.

I asked about one of the guys who used to stay there and who used to volunteer in the kitchen. He has graduated the program and is in the process of tranisitioning out - I'm so glad for him! He's a great person and hopefully this will be the start of a new life for him.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day 156

I hung out with my two year old buddy at SafeHouse again :)

Before that though, I talked to one of the gentlemen (the one who donated his hair to Locks of Love) about jobs and housing. We hadn't had one of our long conversations in a couple of days, so we had a chance to do that today. He shared that he had a job interview coming up and that he was starting to look at going into a transitional home. He is beginning to take the steps to get off the streets and it's wonderful seeing him go through that process! Keeping my fingers crossed for him!!

Of course once my buddy came outside it was all about him! We ran around again, tried to count to five, he moved around imaginary chairs and had a full conversation going - only half of which I understood :)

There was also an energetic four year old there today - he's a sweet kid but he's exposed to life on the streets and sees/hears a lot of things that aren't always appropriate. This comes out in the way he interacts with others. Kids pick up on what we say/do so easily and it's really evident with this little boy.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day 155

I'm volunteering from home today. It's been a few weeks since I last visited Amnesty International so it's a night of letter writing. 

The first letter was for the immediate and unconditional release of Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese scholar and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, who is serving an 11-year sentence for  "inciting subversion of state power". Liu Xiaobo co-authored "Charter 08," a proposal for political and legal reform in China. The police took Liu Xiaobo from his home in Beijing on December 8, 2008, two days before the planned launch of Charter 08. Numerous signatories of the charter have been questioned and harassed by Chinese authorities since its launch but only Liu Xiaobo has been charged or tried.

The next was asking the US government to support an international investigation into war crimes and other abuses during the war in Sri Lanka. During 2009, thousands of civilians died in the final months of the war in Sri Lanka. Both the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers committed war crimes and other gross human rights abuses. But no one has been held accountable.

My last letter was to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar urging the Myanmar authorities to take immediate action to ensure that prisoners involved in protests in Insein, Hkamti
and Kale prisons are not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment and that the Government of Myanmar ensures that prison conditions throughout the country meet international standards. Political prisoners in Myanmar who have initiated peaceful protests in three prisons, including hunger strikes, are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Amnesty International has received credible reports that seven prisoners who were on hunger strike were placed in solitary confinement in cells designed for military dogs between 24 and 26 May. Political prisoners in Myanmar have used hunger strikes to protest poor prison conditions in the past. Prison authorities have tortured those who protest, or subjected them to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, including reducing their diet, shackling them, and confining them in dark cells or military dog cells for protracted periods.

The letter writing takes just a small amount of your time but has a huge impact! Hope you're able to have an impact on human rights issues today!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Day 154

Chandni was swamped with family and work priorities that took up the entire day.

So Kwanza, Nithi, and Raksha played freerice throughout the day.

Chandni went ahead and messaged us early this morning, and asked for us to send her results at the end of the day.

Raksha did about 540 grains of rice, and I did a 1000.
Last I checked Nithi and Kwanza were still playing, and we're waiting for their total tally.
Kwanza did 1370 grains of rice.

It's not always possible for us to physically volunteer.
We're blessed to have friends to step out for us and volunteer or offer their time and efforts to volunteer with us online.

Thank you everyone for all your support!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day 153

I had so much fun at SafeHouse today! After having to answer to some of my friends for not going there since Sunday, we spent some time catching up on how each was doing. I was told that I'm not allowed to "ditch" them for that long again. My 2year old buddy's mum then came up to me to tell me that he was there today and that he was taking a nap but would be up soon. That made my day!

Once he woke up I spent the rest of the evening chasing him around the lot. He has so much energy! We chased birds, ate chocolate chip cookies, played ball, ran around, and he was still playing at the end of the night when it was time for me to leave.

I'm exhausted, had too much fun, and now looking forward to a SafeHouse weekend :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 152

I went to City of Refuge this evening to volunteer. City of Refuge offers both life saving resources and life building tools to individuals and families in Atlanta who are living on the margin. They have programs that span multiple areas of need – from food, clothing and shelter to job training, placement, housing, healthcare and education. Their goal is to provide access to and information about the best possible opportunities for success to those who are willing to work hard for positive change.

As I was driving down Joseph E. Boone Blvd, I noticed the stark difference in neighborhoods across the street. I later learned that the neighborhood surrounding City of Refuge is home to more inmates in Georgia’s prisons than any other in the state and that the zip code, 30314, is home to the highest crime rate of any zip code in Georgia. Despite this, City of Refuge is an “open campus” to the community during designated hours each day of the week. And, for me, there was no sense of danger or nervousness as I walked around. 

Today I helped serve meals to women and children staying at City of Refuge. I was the only outside volunteer there but had a great time with the ladies who work there. They were welcoming and are really efficient in that kitchen. After serving the meal, I helped clean up before saying my goodbyes.

I really enjoyed the experience and am looking forward to going back, as well as to trying out some of their other programs.