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Five charitable groups get $1,000 grants each

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

The CEO of a non-profit agency that works with disenfranchised young people to help them become successful members of the community, hopes that getting a $1,000 grant, Thursday, will open doors to other funding sources.

Hearts to Nourish Hope is one of five non-profit organizations to get a $1,000 grant from the foundation established last year by Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough.

Deborah Anglin, CEO of the 16-year-old agency, said the funds will be used for the successful completion of seven to eight weeks of work-ready training, and a two-week internship.

"We're just so excited to get the recognition and support from the community," said Anglin. "Getting the grant will strengthen other grant proposals, because we can say we have the endorsement of the foundation and the sheriff's office. This is something that is deeper and longer-lasting than just getting this grant."

One new aspect of the agency is its program, DORM (Development of Responsible Men).

"We focus on young men aging out of foster care, or who are homeless, or face other challenges," said Anglin. "We give them a place to stay for 18 to 36 months, and teach them life skills so that they are ready to move out on their own. We have six men on the property right now."

Tawonda Parker, of Inspiring Body Works Inc., said her agency will use the grant on a three-part mentoring program for middle and high school students.

"We want to help them through the difficult challenges the low-income minorities in Clayton County will face during the 2011-2012 school year," said Parker.

Ladies of Favor also got a grant. Agency representative, Gabrielle Starr, said the $1,000 will be used to create an after-school program for young girls.

"We want to let teen girls know that it's OK to just be a child, and not to be in a rush to be an adult," said Starr. "We promote abstinence, offer spiritual guidance and teach them leadership and self-esteem."

Marybeth Leavell accepted the grant on behalf of Prevention Plus. "We will be using this money to help young people apply for college," said Leavell. "So many of these kids don't even have the $25 application fee to apply for college, so they can move on and be successful."

Leavell said the agency targets young people 14-24, who have not graduated from high school or gotten a GED.

The fifth agency was Bountiful Harvest, a church-based organization that mentors to youths, said Kimbrough. The grants were handed out during a reception at Arts Clayton in Jonesboro.

The sheriff, who took office in January 2009, started the Kem Kimbrough Foundation in 2010 to help shape the community of Clayton County. He told the grant recipients, Thursday, that he also has another motive.

"Sometimes, kids get off the track, because they don't know how to handle disputes, and they can make lifelong mistakes," he said. "Sometimes, they can't recover from that. My jail keeps about 1,800 inmates on a daily basis, and we'll book in 30,000 any given year. We need to start at the front end to build better citizens, to build a better Clayton County."

Anglin said she hopes the exposure will also help drum up interest in business partnerships. Any business interested in working with Hearts To Nourish Hope, with internships, can access the web site at www.heartstonourishhope.org. Leavell, too, put out a public call.

"We have positions open, coming up this fall, and we don't want any spot to go to waste," she said. "If you know someone 14-24 without a GED, give us a call."

Prevention Plus' web site is www.fpss.org/ForestParkStreetSchool.asp. Officials can be reached at (404) 363-9600.

Anyone wanting to make a donation to fund next year's grants, can contact the Kimbrough Foundation at (404) 229-2881.