Meet our Summer Interns!

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It takes different ideas, unique gifts, and team of passionate folks to transform a community. This summer, we have been so grateful to have Mykala and Alexandra interning at FCS. Mykala is an architecture major at Georgia Institute of Technology, and Alexandra is studying Advertising and Human Development at the University of Georgia.  

Mykala

Mykala, from Augusta, Georgia, has dreamed of designing homes since childhood, and working with FCS has been a life-changing experience. “It’s amazing to look back and see I am actually pursuing my dream,” Mykala says. “Being able to give back to my African American community is the most interesting and amazing part of my job. Everyday I am inspired to become a better and more creative designer for my future endeavors.”  

This summer, Mykala has been creating floor plans for a few new FCS properties. FCS currently has homes under construction, waiting for demolition, being renovated, and on the market. Mykala has been learning Chief Architect, an intuitive software program that allows users to draw and create 3-D rendering of new construction and renovations. “This internship opportunity has taught me that hard work pays off,” Mykala says. “As humans, we must learn to keep faith and work hard even during times of adversity in order to succeed.”

Alexandra

Alexandra will begin her senior year this fall at UGA. She originally learned of FCS through a campus organization called ServeUGA. Then, a nonprofit leader loaned her Toxic Charity. “In the book, Bob Lupton mentions the nonprofit that he started in South Atlanta, and I remember wondering if it was still around,” Alexandra says. “I loved the visionary approach based on years of on-the-ground work. After some research, I discovered that not only was FCS still around, but it was thriving!” She immediately signed up for an FCS Open House and came to visit. Thanks to funding through the Ash Service Award in the UGA Honors Program, she was able to come work with FCS this summer!

Alexander has brought incredible graphic design and marketing skills to FCS this summer. She created images and materials for our Raise a Latte campaign and has been creating branded items for Community Grounds. “I have been learning a lot more about product marketing and developing my skills with Adobe Photoshop,” she says. “But the biggest things I have learned have come from being in this office and working for this amazing nonprofit. I have learned more about intentional neighboring, economic development, mixed-income housing, and urban communities than I ever thought I would. Even though I've only been here for around a month, the soul and spirit of South Atlanta and its people have already found their way into my heart.”

We have been so grateful to Mykala and Alexandra for joining our team this year! We value their work, but mostly, we have benefited from their perspectives, enthusiasm, and energy they’ve brought to the community this summer. We hope to see more of them in the future!

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Christmas in July!

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Christmas is five months away. We know there are parents in our community who have already thought about the distant holiday and wondered how they will create a special memory for their kids. That’s one of the reasons we do Pride for Parents each year. We want our neighbors to experience the joy and generosity of the season that celebrates Christ’s birth. We don’t want them to feel inadequate or like someone else’s charity case.

Pride for Parents began with one simple belief that families would prefer to provide for themselves at Christmas than receive a handout. To come alongside families with limited means, we collect donated, new toys each year and sell them at greatly reduced prices.

Our Christmas toy store allows parents the wonderful opportunity to select and purchase gifts for those on their lists. We are constantly amazed by the generosity we witness in shoppers who delight in finding that perfect gift for a niece or grandson or child. The proceeds from toy sales support year-round jobs in our grocery store and coffee shop.  

We couldn’t host Pride for Parents without the generous support of individuals and groups who joyfully gather toys and gift cards to make available for families each Christmas. Our biggest need is toys, and we would love for your business, church, or organization to host a toy drive this year. Believe it or not, now is the time to start planning! Visit our Pride for Parents page for more information or contact Katie Delp. Thank you for supporting Pride for Parents! 

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Serving Food with Dignity: Partnership with Urban Recipe

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Walk into our FCS community room two Wednesdays a month, and you’ll find neighbors unpacking boxes of canned goods, sorting fresh cucumbers and carrots, or supervising the efforts. We partner with Urban Recipe, who organizes a food cooperative for our neighborhood.

The co-op model offers a creative and dignified alternative to traditional, food-centered ministries. Participants join a 50 family co-op, where members are selected as leaders to run the bi-weekly meetings. But everyone pitches in! There is a shared expectation that everyone will show up on time (or call to let leaders know you’ll be late) and help to unload the delivery truck and sort the food into boxes for each family present.

One Wednesday, women sat in a circle, dividing up greens, avocados, and other vegetables into ziplock bags for each box. They talked and laughed while they worked, which is one of the values of Urban Recipe’s program. On their website, Urban Recipe says, “Because of the consistency and sense of ownership the model offers, our co-ops not only provide food security for those in need, but are a place where relationships are formed, dignity is affirmed, and community is strengthened.”

A participant shared how much she loves the fresh fruits and vegetables available through the food co-op. Though some women admitted they occasionally encounter vegetables like Brussels sprouts or asparagus that are not favorites.

After boxes have been prepared, families may gather for prayer and a scripture reading, which again affirms the community and spiritual-based aspects of the co-op model. One longtime co-op member said sometimes women stay until noon or two o’clock, even though co-op begins at ten in the morning. There is a connection that is formed as families participate over time.

Donors subsidize the cost of purchasing food for the co-op, but each member pays a $4 fee each Wednesday, along with their sweat equity, to off-set costs incurred by the gathering. It’s a food ministry model that shares at its core the values of FCS.

If you’re interested in learning more about hosting your own food co-op, Urban Recipe offers trainings. For 2017, they are scheduled for August 8 and November 14. You can learn more here.

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