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YMCA removes economic barriers between those in need, programs

YMCA removes economic barriers between those in need, programs

ATLANTA -- The YMCA of Metro Atlanta kicked off a campaign on Tuesday that will connect families in need with scholarships, allowing them to participate in YMCA programs. 

The campaign, Why It Matters takes place once a year. For 2013, board members Charlie Yates, Jr. and Carol Cookerly will co-chair the campaign as it works towards raising $2.7 million. 

"The Y has always had an annual campaign that helped meet the need for financial assistance," Cookerly said. "But, this marks the first year we are pulling together our 23 local Ys and launching a system-wide brand and effort to secure the funds we need to continue to play a pivotal role in Atlanta by helping individuals, especially children, reach their greatest potential."

Gas South, community partners give gift of circus fun to 425 children

Gas South, community partners give gift of circus fun to 425 children

ATLANTA -- Gas South, along with some other community partners will take 425 kids with special needs and their families to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's Circus.

As reported by a spokeswoman for Gas South, the company is teaming with the Metro Atlanta Mayors Association, the Georgia Municipal Association and Feld Entertainment to make the night of circus fun happen. The 425 children and families will get free admission to the circus, the DRAGONS and Magical Journey, as well as a private pre-show where the children can interact with the circus animals and performers on the arena floor. 

The shows are set for February 15 at Philips Arena and February 22 at the Gwinnett Center. There will be special access for wheelchairs, along with other mobility devices as needed. 

Chick-fil-A Daddy-Daughter Date Night returns in 2013

Chick-fil-A Daddy-Daughter Date Night returns in 2013

ATLANTA -- Chick-fil-A's wildly popular Daddy-Daughter Date Night will return in February.

More than 100 Atlanta- and Athens-area Chick-fil-A restaurants will host the event on Saturday, Feb. 2 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Every couple in attendance will receive an activity sheet with conversation topics and a booklet called "Continuing the Conversation," which gives the dads and daughters suggestions for getting to know each other better.

"One of Chick-fil-A's goals is to promote community connections and enrich the lives of everyone we serve," Chick-fil-A area marketing director Robin Lomax said in a statement. "We understand the importance of father-daughter relationships and want to encourage dads to take a break from busy schedules, enjoy their daughters' company over a meal and have fun."

Hundreds attend AKA peace rally

Hundreds attend AKA peace rally

ATLANTA -- More than 200 metro Atlanta middle school students attended a peace rally and workshop hosted by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. over the weekend.

The rally was a kickoff for 40 Days of Peace, which begins Monday. 40 Days of Peace is a commitment to kindness and service that encourages young people to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

At Saturday's rally, speakers encouraged attendees to stop bullying and stay out of gangs. Police officers gave a presentation on how to interact with law enforcement.

A concurrent workshop for the parents in attendance focused on implementing strategies to keep children safe and on the right track in life.

AKA holding peace rally for middle school students

AKA holding peace rally for middle school students

ATLANTA -- Members of metro Atlanta's chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will hold a peace rally and workshop for middle school students over the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday weekend.

The event will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Ivy Community Center in southwest Atlanta. It is part of the 40 Days of Peace project, which aims to spread service and kindness through the country.

The peace rally and workshop will aim to teach young people about Dr. King's mission, and to raise awareness of crime and crime prevention strategies. Law enforcement members will also give an interactive presentation to encourage children to stamp out gangs and bullying.

Middle school students from several metro Atlanta counties -- Cobb, Cherokee, Clayton, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale -- are expected to participate.

Britt ES wins first Family-Friendly Partnership School Award

Britt ES wins first Family-Friendly Partnership School Award

SNELLVILLE, Ga. -- Three Georgia schools have been selected as the first-ever recipients of the Georgia Department of Education's Family-Friendly Partnership School Award.

W.C. Britt Elementary School in Snellville is the only metro Atlanta school to win the honor. The other two schools -- Morningside Elementary and Miller Elementary -- are in Houston County, south of Macon.

The Family-Friendly Partnership School Award is awarded to schools that offer exceptional customer service for Georgia families. They have easy-to-navigate websites, welcoming staff members, comfortable waiting areas, clear signage and engaging student work throughout their buildings.

Governor's Office of Children and Families gives second grant to DeKalb

Governor's Office of Children and Families gives second grant to DeKalb

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis announced on Tuesday that DeKalb will receive a second performance-based grant from the Governor's Office of Children and Families.

According to Ellis's office, the $300,000 Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting grant will be put towards ensuring that children ages 0-5 are ready for school. The grant will also provide prenatal health support for pregnant women using the Parent as Teachers and Early Head Start/Home Based Option models for home visiting.

To provide services to families, DeKalb County will partner with Refugee Family Services, Scottdale Child Development and Family Resource Center and Partnership for Community Action - Early Head Start.

Through the previous MIECHV grant, DeKalb families received home visiting services, including all cultures, socioeconomic statuses, races and circumstantial needs.