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Leadership group hosts empowerment event

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Stockbridge resident, La'Tangie Montgomery, runs a home-goods company, called Tangerine Made, out of her home.

She sells everything from handmade aprons, throw pillows, and window curtains, to pies and cakes. She even sells some of the Watkins brand of spices she uses in her baked goods.

"It [the company] developed over time," she said. "It started with me just making clothing, but then I realized what I really liked was, things for your home."

Even though the 50-year-old businesswoman has been running her company for five years, she said it is still difficult to get Tangerine Made's name out there, so people know it exists.

"I can't afford advertising for my company, so I sell some of my things on eBay," she said.

Local small business owners, like Montgomery, will soon get a chance to expose the community to the fact that their businesses exist.

The Clayton County Extension Service's Grassroots Leadership Institute's Class of 2010 will host a first-ever "Hands On Clayton" empowerment event, on Dec. 4, from 10 a.m., to 2 p.m., at Mundy's Mill High School, which is located at 9652 Fayetteville Road, in Jonesboro.

The free event will serve as a showcase for local programs and small businesses that often do not get much publicity," said the leadership class' media spokesperson, Kim Allen. "We wanted to give people in the community as much information about services in the community, and businesses in the community, as possible," she said.

Allen said that each year, the Grassroots Leadership Institute's class is tasked with doing a project to improve the community, in the areas of health and wellness, education and economic development. She said it is up to each class to decide what their project will be, but she added that members of the current class are hopeful that the "Hands On Clayton" event will become an annual project, taken up by future classes.

She said there are 37 businesses and government agencies signed up to showcase their goods and services at the event. According to the event's web site -- http://claytongaempowerment.org/ -- some of the activities exhibitors will perform include physical fitness assessments by a trained martial arts instructor, body-mass-index and blood-pressure screenings by a representative of LA Fitness.

There will be several health groups distributing information on a variety of health and wellness issues, ranging from suicide, to breast cancer, according to the web site.

Clayton County Public Schools, the Clayton County Library System, Sylvan Learning Center, Brenau University, Walden University, and the Clayton County Council of PTAs are all scheduled to provide education-related information, according to the web site.

Allen said the Grassroots Leadership Institute is expecting 300 to 400 people to attend the event. She added that there will be a door-prize drawing done every hour, with the prizes being items donated by the businesses that are exhibiting at the event.

La'Tangie Montgomery said she is excited about the prospect of exposing her business to a wide range of people in the community, all at one time.

"I think it's helpful, because it helps people know we're here, and people in their community are still making handmade goods," she said.

For more information, visit http://claytongaempowerment.org/, or "friend" the "Hands On Clayton" event on Facebook.