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Spalding County Collaborative Authority for Families and Children

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Little Free Library at Cowan Road Elementary School

A rededication of the Little Free Library at Cowan Road Elementary School was conducted Friday to honor former Cowan Road Elementary teacher Julie McLean Smith. Smith died on July 25 after having been diagnosed with leukemia in September 2016. Smith’s former co-workers praised her for being a good friend and an upbeat person. From left are Kristen Specht, who painted the butterflies on the library; Jan McLean, stepmother; Dan McLean, father; Jeff McLean, brother; and Jonathan Smith, husband. Brett Bell, who is working with the Spalding Collaborative on the Little Free Library project, gave an update on the project. He said 11 libraries have been constructed this year. The goal had been for one library to be constructed each month, so the effort is ahead of schedule, he said.

Tim Daly/Daily News

Be a mentor, dare to be the difference

The Spalding County Mentoring Program is looking for mentors and has a current campaign with a goal of 30 mentors in 30 days.

A mentor acts as a listener, a role model and a friend, according to the Griffin-Spalding County Mentor Program. Children who are mentored have better school attendance, better attitudes toward school, a greater likelihood of completing school and less substance abuse than non-mentored students, according to GSC Mentor Program Coordinator Elly Zhilyak.

To get started you need to be at least 18-years-old, complete an online application (at www.gscmmentor.org) and a background check. Volunteers are asked to pay $10 to help in the $45 cost of the background check, with the rest paid by the program.

Mentors are asked commit to mentoring a minimum of one hour, per week during the school year, attend a mandatory 2-hour mentor orientation. According to Zhilyak, there’s a mentor training/orientation session from 4 to 6 p.m., on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at the Griffin Spalding County School System Central Office Building, 215 South 6th St., for those who’ve already completed the application and background check.

The following schools are currently participating in the mentor program — Anne Street Elementary, Atkinson Elementary, Jackson Road Elementary, Moore Elementary, Cowan Road Middle, Kennedy Road Middle, Rehoboth Road Middle, Griffin High and A.Z. Kelsey Academy.

Mentors interact with their mentee on school premises, once each week for a meal, school program, game or conversation. The program requires a one-year commitment, but mentor-mentee pairings are encouraged to extend beyond the first year. The mentor visiting schedule is flexible during school hours.

Zhilyak said a mentor after hours is scheduled for the Sept. 26 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the 424 West Taylor St. office.

Why 12-months? Youth in mentoring relationships that lasted more than 12 months felt more confident about completing their schoolwork, skipped school less often, had higher grades, and had a lower rate of drug/alcohol use, according to www.childtrends.org, but “short-term relationships of three to six months typically show no significant improvement, and even briefer relationships will likely have a negative impact on the child.”

The Griffin-Spalding County Mentor Program began in 2012 through the combined efforts and contributions of the Griffin-Spalding Chamber of Commerce, the Griffin Housing Authority, and the Griffin-Spalding County School System and it is managed through the Spalding Collaborative.

The Mentor Program matches caring adults with students in the Griffin-Spalding County School System who would benefit from having a volunteer mentor to help on their path to becoming successful adults.

Parents have to consent for their child to participate in the mentoring program.

“Mentors do not take the place of parents, grandparents, or any of the other important people that make up your child’s life,” according to gscmentor.org. “They are simply a friend — someone to provide additional support and guidance to your child. Someone that can help support you in the toughest role of your life — caregiver of a child.”

For more information or to begin the process, visit www.gscmentor.org.

 

  • Sep 19, 2019

 

Land Bank considering deal with Housing Authority

The Griffin-Spalding Land Bank Authority is considering an agreement with the Griffin Housing Authority to help the Housing Authority reduce its tax liability.

“It gives us banking separation,” Housing Authority CEO Bob Dull said.

He explained “our objective is not to just sit on properties but to repurpose them” and get them back on the tax rolls.

This would be for parcels acquired by the Housing Authority, to be demolished, or fixed up and resold. He explained many of the parcels are donated and some are purchased and“this agreement is all of us working together.”

Dull said “deposit agreements, like this, are something new. Macon has one too.”

As proposed in the agreement, when the Housing Authority moves a parcel into the Land Bank, the Housing Authority remains responsible for maintenance and payment of contractors. They would have the ability to withdraw the property at any time to convey to a purchaser after paying the Land Bank for the costs incurred for the transfer.

“It indirectly makes us an agent of the Land Bank,” Dull said. “If we don’t pay our bills, we can’t get the land back.”

The properties conveyed would be insured by the Housing Authority and may be marketed by the Housing Authority. There would be individual contracts for each parcel conveyed, Dull suggested.

The Land Bank discussed the proposed agreement last week, will be reviewing it, and consider action on it at its October meeting, according the Land Bank Chairman Newton Galloway. Dull said the Housing Authority would consider the agreement at its November meeting.

 

  • Sep 19,2017

 

Little Free Library vandalized

In the first case of actual vandalism, the Little Free Library at Northside Hills Apartments was intentionally damaged.

After being dedicated and installed on Friday, it was vandalized over the weekend.

“It is with great sadness that I report the first case of intentional vandalism surrounding one of our 11 Little Free Libraries of the Griffin-Spalding County community,” Bell said.

“Northside Hills Apartments Little Free Library’s Steward Da’Shundria Davis called me Monday morning to say how shocked she was to find that the Little Free Library had been knocked off its wooden pole, as well as missing its door plus the books,” Bell said. “Trust and believe, we will not be deterred by the ignorant actions of others in the continuing of this initiative. The Little Free Library is being repaired and once completed, will be placed inside the Northside Hills Apartment’s community center.”

Bell added the hours of operation at the community center are weekdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The children will still have access to ‘take a book, leave a book.’ I expect there will be at minimum 15 Little Free Libraries by the end of 2017 of the Griffin/Spalding community, both indoors and outdoors,” he said.

Bell had mentioned vandalism at the dedication, asking the children to look out for the box, but also noting damage because of use was not vandalism, and he hoped this one would be used.

That is what happened to the one at Fairmont Homes, where the glass in the door came loose from use. It was quickly repaired and remains in service.

On the way to 15, there are two more Little Free Library dedications this month. There has been at least one a month since Bell and Spalding Collaborative began this effort in January.

The existing LIttle Free Library at Cowan Road Elementary School will be dedicated to the memory of Julie McLean Smith by the McLean family and the school at 4 p.m., Friday, Sept. 22. The following week a ribbon-cutting is scheduled for one at City Park, sponsored by the Sun City Civitan Club, at 4 p.m., Friday, Sept. 29.

For more information and locations of the Little Free Libraries around town, visit http://spalding.gafcp.org/little-free-library-initiative/ or email brettbell@designscreated.biz and doris@spaldingcollaborative.com.

BY RAY LIGHTNER STAFF WRITER RAY@GRIFFINDAILYNEWS.COM Sep 18, 2017

Little Free Library vandalized

In the first case of actual vandalism, the Little Free Library at Northside Hills Apartments was intentionally damaged.

After being dedicated and installed on Friday, it was vandalized over the weekend.

“It is with great sadness that I report the first case of intentional vandalism surrounding one of our 11 Little Free Libraries of the Griffin-Spalding County community,” Bell said.

“Northside Hills Apartments Little Free Library’s Steward Da’Shundria Davis called me Monday morning to say how shocked she was to find that the Little Free Library had been knocked off its wooden pole, as well as missing its door plus the books,” Bell said. “Trust and believe, we will not be deterred by the ignorant actions of others in the continuing of this initiative. The Little Free Library is being repaired and once completed, will be placed inside the Northside Hills Apartment’s community center.”

Bell added the hours of operation at the community center are weekdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The children will still have access to ‘take a book, leave a book.’ I expect there will be at minimum 15 Little Free Libraries by the end of 2017 of the Griffin/Spalding community, both indoors and outdoors,” he said.

Bell had mentioned vandalism at the dedication, asking the children to look out for the box, but also noting damage because of use was not vandalism, and he hoped this one would be used.

That is what happened to the one at Fairmont Homes, where the glass in the door came loose from use. It was quickly repaired and remains in service.

On the way to 15, there are two more Little Free Library dedications this month. There has been at least one a month since Bell and Spalding Collaborative began this effort in January.

The existing LIttle Free Library at Cowan Road Elementary School will be dedicated to the memory of Julie McLean Smith by the McLean family and the school at 4 p.m., Friday, Sept. 22. The following week a ribbon-cutting is scheduled for one at City Park, sponsored by the Sun City Civitan Club, at 4 p.m., Friday, Sept. 29.

For more information and locations of the Little Free Libraries around town, visit http://spalding.gafcp.org/little-free-library-initiative/ or email brettbell@designscreated.biz and doris@spaldingcollaborative.com.

  • Sep 18, 2017

Book Drop at First National Bank

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last Friday for the Little Free Library Book Drop at First National Bank in Griffin. FNB serves as the primary location for the books donated to the program, whose focus is to build lending libraries in community locations. FNB Marketing Director Andrea Dunson (center, with scissors) and members of the 2017 Griffin-Spalding Leadership Team conceived and organized the inventory system at FNB to house and help in the distribution of books to the little libraries throughout Spalding County. FNB’s drop box was designed by Brian Miller and the box’s wrap was made by Chase Moody. “This is so, so exciting. The box looks absolutely amazing,” said Brett Bell organizer of the Little Free Library program in Spalding County. “We are very, very excited about this initiative in Spalding County,” Dunson said, adding that FNB will serve as main site for the program’s book as long as the Little Free Library program is in Spalding County.

KAREN GUNNELS/DAILY NEWS

Northside Hills hosting 11th Little Free Library

The 11th Little Free Library will have a ribbon-cutting celebration today at 4 p.m., at Northside Hills Apartments.

The apartment complex at 615 Northside Drive will host the celebration and be the steward. The Little Free Library there is sponsored by Vulcan Materials Company.

Next week, the existing LIttle Free Library at Cowan Road Elementary School will be dedicated to the memory of Julie McLean Smith by the McLean family and the school. That ceremony will be Friday, Sept. 22 at 3:30 p.m.

There will be another on Friday, Sept. 29 at City Park at 4 p.m. It will sponsored by Civitan Club of Sun City. Life Song Church’s Youth will be the steward, according to Brett Bell.

The Little Free Library initiative has been spearheaded by Bell and the Spalding Collaborative to promote literacy in the community. Bell said he first learned about the Little Free Library, when Doris Breland at the Collaborative told him about it.

“In December, I said to Mrs. Doris, let’s do this, and the community has done this,” Bell said, last month, at the dedication for the 10th one a DeVotie Baptist Church.

Bell thanked the ongoing supporters of the Little Free Library initiative.

“It’s amazing how this initiative has brought so many spokes of the wheel together,” Bell said, referring to the many businesses and individuals who have stepped up to support this initiative.

There was a ceremony last week for one those — First National Bank — which has become the library for the Little Free Libraries by collecting, sorting and storing donated books that go to stock and replenish books at the Little Free Libraries. The bank now has a drop box to accept donated books. WellStar Spalding Regional Women’s Center also has a drop box.

For more information and locations of the Little Free Libraries around town, see http://spalding.gafcp.org/little-free-library-initiative/ or contact brettbell@designscreated.biz and doris@spaldingcollaborative.com.

Doc Holliday BBQ & Music Festival returns

The annual Doc Holliday Barbecue and Music Festival will return to downtown Griffin Sept. 22 and 23, bringing with it entertainment of the past and present.

This family-friendly event not only offers entertainment for all, but has made it more affordable than ever before.

In past years, the festival was a gated event and required payment to enter, but not this year.

“It’s a non-gated event, so there’s no cost; it’s free. The concerts and kid’s activities – it’s all free,” said Will Doss, of Eagle’s Way Church and the Spalding Collaborative, two of the event’s organizers.

The weekend’s festivities will kick off at 5 p.m. Friday with concerts in The Park at 6th. Performing will be The Garrett Collins Band, Mixed Tribe and Griffin Rhythm. A variety of vendors will also be on hand beginning Friday night.

“We’ll have a ton of food and beverages, several apparel-type things and a couple of non-profits,” said Doss. “Vendors will be set up Friday night and all day Saturday.”
Another hugely popular annual event – the Southside Riders’ Association Tab Run – will also take place Saturday morning, with the ride finishing up at the Doc Holliday BBQ & Music Festival.

“There will be 300 to 400 motorcycles riding in,” Doss said.

The SRA will be providing free entertainment for kids, offering bounce houses and train rides.

One key highlight of the weekend – the barbecue competition – promises to make your mouth water.

“The Georgia Barbecue Association competition will be great. We’re anticipating about 40 professional teams because we are having a double-points contest this year,” Doss said.

The barbecue teams will be set up in the Spalding County Annex parking lot across from the train tracks on Broad Street.

“The general public can purchase a sampler platter with twelve teams barbecue for $5. It’s called the People’s Choice, and if they purchase it, they’ll actually get to vote, and there is a prize for that,” Doss said.

In addition to the live concerts, DJ Matt Floyd will be playing a wide variety of music all day Saturday.

From the Shadows of the Past – a re-enactment group – will return to the festival to present three shows in The Park at 6th depicting the shootout at the OK Corral. Each show will run about 30 minutes, and show times are slated for approximately 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Another quite popular event will return – the ancillary cookoff competitions.
Open to the public, there will be three categories – chicken wings, barbecue sauce and desserts.

Registration is ongoing, with a fee of $25 per category.

The ancillary competition will be held Friday evening, and additional information and registration is available online at http://www.dochollidayfest.com.

Another popular event is the raffle, with this year’s prize being a smoker valued at $2,500, that was donated by Stump’s Smokers, who, along with Penrose Construction, is a primary festival sponsor. Tickets are only $5 each and will be available for purchase until 4 p.m. Saturday.

Six partners – the Griffin Main Street Program, the Exchange Club, Eagle’s Way Church, the Downtown Council, the Chamber of Commerce and the Spalding Collaborative – make the festival possible.

All profits from the event will go to the Spalding Collaborative’s Children’s Charity Fund.
“One of the biggest things they do is the Backpacks 4 Kids program through the school system,” Doss said. “It identifies children who might be at risk of going the weekend without eating and provides food to them.”

The festival will run from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Guests are welcome to bring their own chairs, but bleacher seating in The Park at 6th will be provided.

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

The GRIP
September 14, 2017

 

Local team honoring Ellis at Walk to End Alzheimer’s

The Southern Crescent counties of Spalding, Coweta, Fayette, Henry, and south Fulton Walk to End Alzheimer’s is Oct. 7 at 9:30 a.m. at the Frederick Brown Amphitheatre in Peachtree City.

The Griffin-Spalding County “Hearts to Love” walk team is dedicating the memory walk to honor the caregivers and the 1,200 who suffer from Alzheimer’s living in the community.

The team is also honoring the work of Jo Ellis, the Spalding County Senior Center supervisor who initiated programs and events to raise awareness and the hope for an Alzheimer’s cure. She lost her battle to a different disease, cancer, Sept. 29, 2016.

“She will never know what results may come from her effort actions toward Alzheimer’s but if we do nothing, there will be no results,” a statement from the “Hearts of Love” team read.

For more information or to donate, visit www.alz.org/walk or Hammond Services Facebook page. You may also call Nancy Moore at 770-227-2899 for more information.

Submitted to Griffin Daily News

10th Little Free Library at DeVotie Baptist

DeVotie Baptist Church is hosting the 10th Little Free Library located next to its playground on Ruth Street.

Worship Leader Brett Duncan said he “stumbled upon one” in Jackson, saw them pop up here and wanted to host one at the church.

“I saw that as an extension of beautifying the community,” Duncan said.

He noted it is also part of the church’s goal of “reaching up, reaching out, reaching in” to the neighboring community.

Minister Daniel Foster said it is “fantastic to reach children in the neighborhood, to build a relationship with children in the neighborhood, to let them know we are resource here for you.”

Brett Bell — who has spearheaded the Little Free Library initiative with the Spalding Collaborative — thanked Duncan, saying, “we didn’t even ask. He came to us. Thank you for your leadership.”

Bell said he first learned about the Little Free Library when Doris Breland at the Collaborative told him about it and how it has promoted literacy in communities across the country.

“In December, I said to ‘Mrs. Doris, let’s do this, and the community has done this,’” Bell said.

Bell said the goal was to do one a month, beginning in January and with this one, there have been 10 so far, with two more planned for next month — at Northside Hills Apartments on Sept. 15 and at the Griffin Area Resource Center on Sept. 29.

Also next month, Bell said, there will be a ribbon-cutting Sept. 8 at First National Bank for the drop box being located there.

Andrea Dunson of First National Bank organized the book sustainability program for the Little Free Library initiative, getting that job added to the marketing director position at the bank, which has a room set aside as a library of books to go out to the Little Free Libraries, sorted by children’s, youth, fitness and adult.

WellStar Spalding Regional Hospital also has a book drop by the Women’s Center at the hospital, Dunson said.

Bell thanked the ongoing supporters of the Little Free Library initiative — including First National Bank, WellStar and the Griffin-Spalding County Library. The library, he said donates books too. There is no competition. He thanked the art departments at Spalding High School and Rock Springs Christian Academy which had decorated some of the boxes.

“It’s amazing how this initiative has brought so many spokes of the wheel together,” he said.

For more information and locations of the Little Free Libraries around town, visit http://spalding.gafcp.org/little-free-library-initiative/ or contact brettbell@designscreated.biz and doris@spaldingcollaborative.com.