News

Wells Fargo Days of Giving

If you bank at Wells Fargo, we would love for you to nominate kidz2leaders for their Days of Giving campaign.  Wells Fargo Days of Giving runs from May 23- June 19, 2017. Each local branch manager of a Wells Fargo bank can choose one charity to give $1,000.  Please contact your local branch and ask them to submit kidz2leaders. We can be the recipient of multiple bank location nominations, so this is an opportunity to introduce your Wells Fargo banker to kidz2leaders! The cut-off date is June 19. Please share this information with your friends and family and ask them to submit kidz2leaders as their charity of choice to Wells Fargo.  If you or your Wells Fargo branch has any questions, please direct them to Sandra Cathy at scathy@kidz2leaders.org, or 404-610-7300.

Game Changers

We are so thankful for the vision founder Rev. Diane Parrish had to start a ministry that serves prisoners’ children, and the many game-changing stories kidz2leaders has been a part of in our 18 years. We’ve included one of those stories below that was featured on Channel 2 WSB’s GameChangers show on Sunday, March 22. 

“Persistent, determined, and self-motivated.” These are the three words that 21-year-old Alexis would use to describe herself, and anyone who has been around Alexis for more than a few minutes would have to agree. Alexis graduated in December from Georgia Southern with a degree in Political Science and Justice Study. For the time being, she moved back home to help her mom take care of her grandmother and work while she studies for the LSATs and decides on which law school to attend. Since elementary school, Alexis has been laser-focused on one goal: to become a lawyer.  The dream sparked when she was on the debate team in middle school, and since then, nothing has been able to deter Alexis from this goal. “I want to be in the court room,” Alexis said.

Alexis began her journey with kidz2leaders at the age of nine in 2004. “I had been to other camps before, but my first year at Camp Hope was nerve-wracking. I was on a bus with a bunch of strangers who were happy to see me,” Alexis laughed as she remembered her first year. Executive Director Nancy Staub has known Alexis since 2004 when she was in Nancy’s cabin as a first-time camper. “She had a big laugh,” Nancy remembers. Alexis graduated to be a counselor in 2009 and since then has served Camp Hope as a counselor for three years and a cabin leader for three years. She also completed two years of the interns4tomorrow program where she worked at various businesses during the summer like Jackson Healthcare, Concord Pharmacy, and The Harwen Group. Looking back, she can see how kidz2leaders has been a source of support throughout her life. “I can see now how The Leadership Training Academy was a stepping stone to where I am now. Those classes helped me get into the interns4tomorrow program which helped me get scholarship money for school, and later gave me the opportunity to apply for the Thomas Elgar Scholarship,” Alexis said. This scholarship contributed to her college tuition.

“It didn’t come easy. I worked really hard to get where I am,” Alexis said. Alexis has worked since high school. Her first job in high school was helping teach World History. Since then, she’s worked at Taco Bell, Firehouse Subs, Chick-fil-A, Cook Out, taught swimming lessons, completed law internships, worked at an FCA Summer Camp, and the list goes on. But, Alexis knew she had to work hard to help her get through school and it came at a cost. “I was a full-time employee and a full-time college student,” Alexis said. “I didn’t really get to enjoy football or basketball games until I was a senior.”

Persistence, determination, and self-motivation. It’s evident that these strengths will help Alexis reach her goal of being in the courtroom and no doubt be a game changer in the lives of others.

 

k2l Appoints New Executive Director

Marietta, GA – March 20 – kidz2leaders, inc., an organization dedicated to working with children of incarcerated parents, announced the appointment of Christina G. Cummings as Executive Director today.  “She brings a wealth of experience to kidz2leaders and will play a key role in executing our mission,” said Dr. Diane Parrish, kidz2leaders’ President and Founder.  “Her enthusiasm, community contacts, and passion for making a difference in the lives of kidz2leaders’ children will be a tremendous asset to the Board.”

Prior to her appointment as Executive Director, Cummings served four years as Director of Programs for kidz2leaders, overseeing Camp Hope, creating the inaugural Family Retreat program, and overseeing all year-round programs designed to break the cycle of generational incarceration for children of inmates.  “kidz2leaders has a huge impact on the children and youth we serve, and I look forward to furthering the growth and mission of the organization,” Cummings said.

Prior to joining kidz2leaders, Cummings served as Volunteer Coordinator with Project Safe, supervising more than 200 volunteers as they worked to end domestic violence through crisis intervention.  During this time, she also worked at the Serious Fun Children’s Network camps in California and Ireland.

She holds a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication from The University of Georgia.

A native of Marietta, Cummings is a member of numerous organizations, including “30 Under 30” ,; Respite foster parent through FaithBridge Foster Care Ministry serving foster families and children in metro Atlanta; active member of Smyrna First Baptist Church; and is Certified in Nonprofit Finance & Accounting through Georgia Center for Nonprofits.

Executive Director Announcement

It is with great sadness Diane Parrish as President and Bob Graff as Chairman of the Board for kidz2leaders accepted the recent resignation of our Executive Director Nancy Staub. Nancy has served kidz2leaders full-time for the last eight years. Before that, she volunteered her time with the organization since our earliest years. When she retired from IBM after a 30-year career in sales, she talked with Diane about coming on staff, in a part time capacity. Diane asked her to put the interns4tomorrow vision Diane had into reality.  Nancy did this with excellence.  Nancy’s career progressed through different staff positions at kidz2leaders until she became the Executive Director in her later years. Her familiarity with the corporate world combined with her passion for our kids made her an excellent Executive Director.

Nancy helped us through some tough times during the recession and was instrumental in helping us grow from an entrepreneur founder-led “teenage” organization, to a fully mature not-for-profit.  Because of her attention to the good stewardship in all of our resources, from volunteers to financial, the ministry is ready for our next season of growth.

We look forward to seeing Nancy around as a volunteer for kidz2leaders in the future in whatever way she would like to serve. The Board of Directors and staff wish her the best in her second “retirement” and look forward seeing where God takes her.

 

We are Family!

The Family Retreat is the newest program of kidz2leaders, inc. where the entire family of a Camp Hope camper is invited to a weekend away to Camp Twin Lakes’ Will-a-Way campground in Winder, GA. “We realized through discussions with parents and caregivers how hard it can be to make time for positive, meaningful family experiences. We wanted to provide the opportunity for families to escape their daily challenges, bond as a family unit, and grow together,” Director of Programs Christina Cummings said.

The program kicked-off in the spring of 2016 and is intended to be a glimpse into life at Camp Hope. Each retreat offers activities for the family like fishing, canoeing, archery, and biking, but with a much more relaxed schedule than Camp Hope so families can enjoy down time together. Mary and
her five children attended the first family retreat. Her son, Nick, has attended Camp Hope for four summers and his siblings enjoyed getting a taste of the fun Nick has each year. “The younger siblings get to see what they have to look forward to,” Mary said of the retreat, specifically thinking of her daughter Lilliana who is old enough to attend Camp Hope for the first time in May. But, it’s a weekend not just for the kids. “I get quality family time,” Mary said.

The parent bible study that occurs over the weekend is an important aspect of the retreat. The workshop is led by a volunteer who comes to facilitate conversation on God’s forgiveness and grace. “I’m blessed to share with these parents who are trying so desperately to make a better life for their children,” Barbara Lester said. Barbara has led the parent workshop at two different retreats and is always touched by the sharing and prayer that occurs in their few hours together. “It’s very powerful. The Holy Spirit is at work,” Barbara said, “Parents are sharing together that they are not alone.”

The weekend is a fun getaway for everyone involved, including the volunteers who come serve as “family buddies.” They get to know the families and help with activities. This event is a great entry point for someone who wants to get involved with Camp Hope, but isn’t able to get away for an entire week.

And, in only the way Camp Hope does, as the weekend comes to a close, the Camp Hope family tree grows as new relationships are made between the campers, siblings, parents, and volunteers

The next family retreat is coming up February 24-26. Family buddies are still needed – please consider joining us! Contact Christina to sign-up.

 

2016 hope4christmas party

hope4christmas

Save the date for our annual hope4christmas party on Saturday, December 10 at Mt. Bethel UMC. 2016 Camp Hope Campers, Families, and Volunteers are invited to attend. Be sure to RSVP by calling 770-977-7751.

We are also looking for donations of Christmas gifts and Christmas meals. Visit our sponsorship page for  more information on how to donate to our Camp Hope families this Christmas season!

Alumni Update

The Alumni program is a vital component of the kidz2leaders program. Our alumni are the product of the years of commitment they gave to the program and are still giving through their volunteer work.  As we continue to survey the alumni (campers who graduated to become counselors and/or interns4tomorrow), we have heard from some alumni that have been out of touch for years and are now back in touch with the Camp Hope/kidz2leaders family!

As an example of the importance of what kidz2leaders does to impact camper’s lives, only 1 percent to 2 percent of students with incarcerated mothers and 13 percent to 25 percent of students with imprisoned fathers graduate from college, according to a 2013 report from the American Bar Association and the White House. However, over 60% of interns4tomorrow students have attended either trade/ technical school or college for some period of time, and 10% received either an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree.   

Children and youth with an incarcerated parent typically live in low-income housing, receive free lunches at school, move frequently, are behind academically, and are families of color. They often live with a single parent or a court-appointed custodian like a grandmother. Several siblings, cousins, or additional adult members of the extended family may live with them. At least one parent has been incarcerated since or before they were eight years old. Children with incarcerated parents also are less likely to live in neighborhoods that provide a supportive network for families. Their parents are more likely to report feeling unsafe in their communities and less likely to feel they have people on whom they can rely for help.  Historically, more than 25% of all kidz2leaders campers not participating in the interns4tomorrow program, attended either trade/technical school or college, and three are currently serving in the military.

Parental incarceration limits a child’s social interactions.  These children typically don’t have access to reliable transportation, so participation in after school sports activities and clubs is limited.  Also, the parent or custodian may rely on the older children for child care.  The responsibility for caring for younger siblings at an age when they need nurturing themselves, leads to a lost childhood.  kidz2leaders wants campers to experience the joys of being children and enjoy shedding some of the responsibilities they are forced to carry at home.  Because age-appropriate social activity is crucial to the development of these children and youth, the word “fun” is incorporated into the kidz2leaders mission statement and woven into our curriculum that is used year-round.  100% of interns4tomorrow students successfully completed their 2016 summer internships.

One outstanding alum deserves special recognition.  Courtney was recently recognized at the Atlanta Dream vs. Seattle WNBA basketball game on September 4 game for her service in the U.S. Army Natioimg_3308-1nal Guard. Courtney graduated from Brookwood High School in Gwinnett County in May, 2013.  She attended the University of West Georgia for two years before transferring to Kennesaw State University. She joined the United States Army National Guard on April 27, 2015, and began her training at Ft. Sill, OK.  She just returned home from seven weeks of training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO where her Military Occupational Specialty is transportation.  She will continue her studies at Kennesaw State this spring, majoring in Biology and participating in drills on weekends throughout the year.  Her long-term goal after college is to serve her country through Active Duty in the Army.  Please keep Courtney in your prayers!

 

JE Dunn Hammer Down 5K

The 6th annual JE Dunn Hammer Down 5K is coming up on Saturday, October 15th, beginning in front of the JE Dunn Construction office at 2555 Cumberland Parkway SE in Atlanta. Hosted by the Atlanta office of JE Dunn, the race will begin at 8:30 a.m., with registration opening at 7:30 a.m. Proceeds from the race will benefit kidz2leaders’ Camp Hope and Feeding The Homeless Project. Last year’s race raised $30,000 for both kidz2leaders and Feeding the Homeless Project.

To register or find out more information please visit their website:  http://www.hammerdownrun.com/

2016 Spin for Kids

Pic 5

Join us for Camp Twin Lakes’ 11th annual Spin For Kids! Over the past 10 years, Spin For Kids has raised over $3 million and sent more than 4,000 kids to camp. Spin For Kids is Camp Twin Lakes’ annual fundraising bike ride that helps provide life-changing camp experiences for children with serious illnesses, disabilities, or other life challenges. On October 16 at Camp Twin Lakes – Rutledge, our fundraising efforts will culminate in a fun and fulfilling ride that winds through the scenic backroads of beautiful Morgan County, Georgia.

For the past three years, Camp Twin Lakes has been the location for our annual summer camp, Camp Hope. Because of their collaboration with our organization, our campers are able to participate in ropes course, team building activities, fishing, canoeing, pottery, archery, fishing, and more – and all led by their amazing staff.

Spin For Kids offers multiple routes for riders of all skill levels. You can choose from six scenic road routes: 5, 15, 27, 47, 62 or 100 miles. Along each route, you will enjoy delicious goodies at rest stops, while the dedicated team of first aid, route marshals, and bike technicians keep you safe. For those of you with young children, you can register your kids to participate in Day Camp while you are out riding.

For more information, visit the Spin for Kids website. To register and join our team, scroll down on the Spin for Kids homepage to “search for teams” and type in kidz2leaders.  For questions, call the kidz2leaders office at 770-977-7751. 

 

2016 Elgar Family Scholarship Recipients

Dominique

Congratulations to our newest Elgar Scholarship recipients; Amber, Dominique, Malique, and Noah!  The Elgar Family Scholarship is awarded to students who have completed one year of college; are in good standing with kidz2leaders; and who have maintained a 2.0 GPA or higher.

Amber and Tom 1Amber is a Junior at Albany State and hopes to graduate in three more semesters with a degree in marketing.  Dominique just completed her first semester as a Sophomore at Georgia Gwinnett College with a 4.0 GPA where she is pursuing forensic accounting as a major.  Malique just completed his Freshman year at Georgia State, making the Dean’s List both semesters.  And, Noah just completed his Freshman year at the Perimeter College campus of Georgia State.  His plan is to transfer after his Sophomore year to either Kennesaw State or Georgia Tech to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Noah and Elgars 2

 

 

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