Atlanta’s parks — tucked away amid a bustling city and expansive metro area — are one of its crowning jewels.
In the sticky months when grass and weeds threaten to overwhelm Atlanta, city parks staffing gets stepped up. But a new report by city auditors suggests a substantial number of parks could use more work.
BY ELLIE HENSLEY, MIDTOWN ALLIANCE EDITOR + PRODUCER ‘Tis the season for hot cocoa, holiday lights and gatherings with friends and family. No matter how you feel like celebrating and who you want to celebrate with this year, Midtown has something for you in the heart of it all. We’ve heard the arguments about how early is too early to decorate for the holidays. Right after the Thanksgiving turkey hits the table seems like the perfect time for us to switch on the lights for Midtown Bright, our holiday lighting installation that stretches two miles down Peachtree Street from the north end of the district near SCAD’s Atlanta campus to the south end by Emory Midtown Hospital. Midtown Bright includes about 100 trees wrapped in single-tone LED strands in 10 different colors. These kaleidoscopic hues were introduced several years ago to mimic the bright color scheme of the Midtown neighborhood’s brand identity. This project is funded by the Midtown Improvement District and has several tie-ins with property owners that partner with Midtown Alliance to host the lighting installations. Walk around the district and look for about 25 three-dimensional Moravian stars that range in height from three to 23 feet. You can find them scattered throughout Midtown in notable locations such as on top of The Fox Theatre and on the lawn of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Take a stroll down Peachtree between Thanksgiving and mid-January, when the stars are scheduled to be removed. The trees will remain decorated through the end of next January, and are illuminated beginning at 4:30 p.m. If you’re interested in building professional relationships this month among the colorful lighting displays, sign up for our holiday edition of Mix-It-Up Midtown happening December 1 at Livingston Restaurant and Bar, inside the Georgian Terrace. This historic street corner in Midtown is decked out with holiday lights and stars on three of its four corners, including at Ponce Triangle Park. Snap some photos, meet others who spend time in thedistrict and enjoy a cocktail, light bites and holiday music. All of the ticket sales from the event benefit Atlanta Children’s Shelter, and there will also be a toy drive at the event to benefit their Holiday House. For younger Midtowners, as well as the young at heart, we’re also hosting Holidays With the Honeybees, a free outdoor caroling performance by SCAD’s premier singing ensemble. The musical stylings of the SCAD HoneyBees include songs by legendary artists such as Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, Nina Simone, John Legend, Adele and Beyonce. Join us the evening of December 7 at Arts District Plaza, on the corner of 15th and Peachtree Streets, for a special holiday concert that will be fun for the whole family. We’ll have a free hot chocolate bar to keep us all warm and a visit from Santa Claus. From pop-up bars to special performances and Atlanta Botanical Garden’s annual Garden Lights, Holiday Nights, there’s a plethora of holiday events taking place in Midtown this year. Bring the family, book a girls’ or guys’ night or a date night, and spend some time with us this season. This is sponsored content.
MARTA has donated a railcar from the Authority’s original fleet to the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth. The donation of the 42-year old railcar is one of several activities planned as MARTA transitions to its new railcar fleet. Railcar #509 was built by Société Franco-Belge and placed into service in 1981 along with 20 other identical cars, then retired at the end of its useful life 30 years later. It has a 75-foot-long aluminum body and weighs 81,000 pounds and can hold 46 seated passengers, with operator cabs on both ends. The railcar was transported from MARTA’s Avondale Railyard to the museum on Wednesday, Nov. 16. Construction of MARTA’s heavy rail system began in 1975, with the first railcars rolling out in 1979. The existing heavy rail fleet totals 340 cars and was obtained under three procurements in 1979-1981, 1984-1988, and 2000-2005. MARTA will replace its entire heavy rail fleet over the next several years with 224 railcars (56 four-car train sets) purchased from Stadler in 2019 for $646 million; the single largest procurement for either organization, and a milestone in MARTA’s capital improvement program aimed at more efficient performance and enhanced customer experience. “With our future rail car fleet now in final design, it’s time we start clearing track space to make room for our new trains. We’re beginning to retire our oldest rail cars and we want to ensure that one of them is around for future generations to see. At the Southeastern Railway Museum, it will join our historic fleet of MARTA buses as we begin a complete rail car fleet replacement,” said MARTA General Manager and CEO Collie Greenwood. “I got here in ’98 and this is what I trained on to become a mechanic, so it’s got a little nostalgia going. I’m not going to shed a tear, but this is an end of an era. We are getting ready to start a new chapter with the new cars, so everybody can see the transition from old to new,” said Pierre Merrick, MARTA Journeyman Rail Car Mechanic. The interior of the new railcars features an open gangway so riders can move freely between cars, seating options including facing forward and inward, and state-of-the-art technology such as charging stations and digital system maps and service information. The exterior features a lighted “smile” on the front of the train that denotes the color of the rail line; Red, Gold, Green or Blue, so riders will know from a distance that their train is approaching. The Southeastern Railway Museum houses close to 100 rolling stock items such as historic Pullman cars, classic steam locomotives, historic MARTA buses, and now an original MARTA rail car, providing entertainment and education to visitors. “As Georgia’s Official Transportation History Museum, we’re honored to be able to acquire such a significant piece of our region’s transportation history. MARTA is a significant economic engine for our region, and we’re pleased to continue expanding the collection related to its history and development,” said Randy Pirkle, Executive Director Emeritus, Southeastern Railway Museum. To learn more visit Southeastern Railway Museum – Georgia’s Official Transportation History Museum (train-museum.org). For video and photos of the train being transported from the railyard to the museum and of MARTA’s new railcars click here EPK – OneDrive (live.com). This is sponsored content.
Representatives from the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recently joined Fiserv, a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology with a significant presence in the Atlanta area, to present three Atlanta-area small businesses with $10,000 grants in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month. The business owners who received grants included: Joel Ferrer of Chef Joel Coco Cabana LLC, a restaurant delighting guests with unique cuisine, showcasing Chef Joel’s classically trained background and Cuban heritage. Vanessa Higgins of Clean Tu Casa, a cleaning, organizing and personal errand service company serving homes, small offices and short-term rentals in Metro Atlanta. Alejandra “Luz” Pelaez of UP Advertising, a multicultural advertising and digital marketing agency specializing in reaching the Hispanic market, ensuring companies communicate authentically. In interviews following the grant presentations, the recipients discussed the impact the grants will have on their businesses. Chef Ferrer highlighted plans to invest in upgraded technology, while Vanessa Higgins underscored that the grants will enable her to create jobs and Sebastian Uribe of UP Advertising noted an anticipated increase in sales. The grants were awarded as part of the Fiserv Back2Business program, a $50 million commitment to support minority-owned small businesses. In addition to grants, Back2Business connects diverse small businesses with critical resources, including complimentary small business coaching, leading technology solutions such as Clover and community partners. “We’re proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by supporting these inspiring businesses and all the small businesses that play a crucial role in Atlanta’s economy,” said Vivian Greentree, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Corporate Citizenship at Fiserv. “Providing funding and resources to help small, diverse businesses thrive is a key tenet of the Back2Business program and it’s wonderful to see the impact this program has made in cities all over the country, and especially here in our own backyard in Atlanta.” “It is an honor to partner with Fiserv and the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to celebrate and support entrepreneurs in the Hispanic community during Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Alex Gonzalez, Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “Through the Back2Business grants, Fiserv is providing access to capital and resources to help these three Hispanic-owned businesses grow and thrive.” In addition to facing difficult business conditions such as rising costs, supply chain challenges and labor shortages, Hispanic-owned small businesses have their own unique set of challenges. “Fiserv recognition and support of the Hispanic community, providing valuable grants and services at a critical time for small businesses through Back2Business, is key to assuring equitable opportunities for our community and to being seen as the vital force that we are for the economy and the great state of Georgia,” said Verónica Maldonado-Torres, President and CEO, Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “When one group thrives, we all thrive as a society, and that is our goal at the GHCC – to match businesses with the resources, tools and opportunities to inspire them and help them reimagine the next for their company.” In addition to Atlanta, Fiserv has sponsored the Back2Business program in cities including New York, Milwaukee, Miami, Chicago, Detroit, Tulsa, Oakland, Washington. D.C. and Omaha. To date, Fiserv has presented nearly 1,500 grants to small businesses through the program. This is sponsored content.
By Alex Ryan Bauer, Membership & Engagement Manager, Central Atlanta Progress / Atlanta Downtown Improvement District Downtown Atlanta is alight with creative energy. From public installations and education to performances and films, our burgeoning arts community is poised for its most high-profile year yet. And now, 18 artists and organizations will receive well-deserved funding to advance their work in Downtown Atlanta, contributing to the overall vibrancy and culture of our city center while fortifying its reputation as an international influence in the arts. This week, Arts & Entertainment Atlanta awarded $150,000 in grants to a diverse spectrum of creative talent working within the Downtown community. The 18 artists and organizations that will receive funding to support their projects are: Andrew Blooms – Project Support: Art Exhibition Anicka Austin – Project Support: Dance/Performance Ashlee Haze – Project Support: Performance/Poetry Carl Janes – Project Support: Artist Studio & Performance Venue Cienna Minniefield – Project Support: Community/Education DanceATL – Project Support: Dance/Performance Erin Palovick & Carley Rickles – Project Support: Community/Education Eso Tilin Projects – Project Support: Art Exhibition Fly on a Wall – Project Support: Dance/Performance Future Dead Artists – Operational Support: Gallery & Community Arts Programming Gavin Bernard – Project Support: Visual Art Kerri Garrett – Project Support: Visual Art La Candela Flamenco – Project Support: Dance/Performance Mike Stasny – Project Support: Artist Studio & Performance Venue NOVA CYPRESS BLACK – Project Support: Film Praise House Project – Project Support: Multimedia Installation The Evil Doers Mega – Project Support: Art Exhibition T. Lang Dance – Project Support: Dance/Performance A&E Atlanta is a neighborhood activation and economic development project for Downtown Atlanta. Now in its third year of grant funding, the program fuses outdoor media, art, and advertising to present cultural and public space programming. The initiative is managed by the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID) and is self-funded through revenue-sharing agreements with media companies within the district, which includes Orange Barrel Media and BIG Outdoor. “A&E Atlanta’s grant funding has increased yearly, giving us a greater opportunity to showcase the local creative community and their work in downtown Atlanta,” said Fredalyn M. Frasier, ADID’s Project Director of Planning and Urban Design, who oversees the initiative and its grants. “This year’s submissions were impressive, and it made the review process very competitive. We’re excited to announce these eighteen grantees and look forward to experiencing their creations.” For proof of A&E Atlanta’s impact on the arts community, look no further than Ebony Blanding. Ebony is a writer/director from Atlanta who received an A&E Atlanta grant in 2021. She then wrote and produced her film Jordan, which premiered at the Rialto Center for the Arts in September 2022. “Funding from A&E Atlanta made me feel like making Jordan was possible,” Ebony said. “The grant and overall support have been the largest and most supportive opportunity I’ve had as a working artist. It allowed me to stretch my talents and imagination. To not have to create from a place of scarcity is affirming. Every artist deserves that.” Ebony’s work tells stories about Black girls and women coming of age on their own terms. Drawing from her Southern roots, she creates original interpretations of gothic tales, Black folklore, and Afrofuturism and explores the nuances of Black womanhood and spirituality through a fantastical lens. Ebony calls Jordan her love letter to Black girl adventurers of all ages and said premiering it Downtown was a major milestone in her career. “I felt so proud having a free screening in my hometown that the community and film lovers could enjoy courtesy of A&E Atlanta,” Ebony said. “Accessible art is a defining aspect of the Atlanta community and my art practice. At the screening, I met new folks who spoke life into me after seeing the film, affirming that my work is not in vain. I saw family and friends whom I have not been able to see due to the pandemic. It really made me feel loved on.” By empowering artists like Ebony to create and share their work, A&E Atlanta is reaffirming Downtown Atlanta’s status as a hotbed of creativity on the verge of reaching its boiling point. What will set it off? Ebony has the answer: “We’re an ecosystem that needs each other.” Wholeheartedly supporting the arts in our city is the key to fostering a future that celebrates community and new representations of the human experience. A&E Atlanta’s programming does just that, all in a way that is unique to this place, right here. Because, as we all know, there ain’t no place like Atlanta. This is sponsored content.
For a second year, ULI Atlanta will administer the Etkin Scholar’s program for 2022 – 2023. Last year, ULI Atlanta was one of five district councils to pilot the ULI Etkin Scholar Program designed to introduce college and university students with a real estate interest and degree focus to the resources available through ULI membership while integrating those students into the ULI path of learning. The program has expanded this year to eight cities. The Etkin Scholars program is seven (7) months long and will run from November 2022 through June 2023. During this time, scholars will be required to: Spend an average of three hours monthly on ULI activities, in-person or online; Attend two ULI National Etkin Scholars virtual events; Attend four ULI Atlanta Scholars events in person; Access to Foundations of Real Estate Certification program at your own pace online at ULI Learning (details coming later this fall/winter) The overall goal of this program is to bring the scholar into the world of land use and commercial real estate development – to educate and connect them with the many fields, leaders, and limitless opportunities of this industry. The Atlanta Scholars will have the opportunity to tour projects, meet local leaders and learn about career options and attend events on industry trends and challenges. Between the two program years, students represented in Atlanta have come from Atlanta Technical College, Emory University, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State and Morehouse College. We are excited to announce the class for the 2022 – 2023 year below: You can also read more about the Etkin Scholars and see their bios here Special thank you to ULI members and program leaders, Amanda Rhein, Keith Mack and Quinn Green for leading this as a signature initiative of the DEI Committee. Click here to learn more about the ULI Etkin Scholars Program. This is sponsored content.
By Rob Brawner, Executive Director of Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Through collaboration and collective investments of multiple public, private, and philanthropic entities, the BeltLine trail corridor is on schedule to be completed by 2030. Finishing other parts of the BeltLine – including the remaining parks – will require similar collaboration and investment. There is an immediate opportunity to advance the BeltLine vision through the development of Enota Park. Located south of I-20 with direct access from the Westside Trail, Enota Park will be a gateway to Westview, serve surrounding Westside neighborhoods, and attract BeltLine users citywide. Developing the 8-acre park will restore forest habitats, help manage stormwater runoff, create spaces for public performances and visual art, and increase recreation facilities with a basketball half-court, activity field, splash pad, and playground. Consistent with the steps identified in How to Continue Delivering Great Parks, this shovel-ready BeltLine jewel reflects a community-informed master plan. Public funding through the BeltLine Tax Allocation District and the Moving Atlanta Forward infrastructure package is covering half the development cost. Building on a generous gift from The Coca-Cola Foundation, the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership is approaching philanthropy to secure the remaining $7 million within our broader fundraising efforts. As part of the BeltLine vision, Enota Park is more than just new green space. It is a catalyst for improving the quality of life for local residents and advancing equitable economic and health outcomes in collaboration with current and future partners. Housing: With poverty levels in surrounding neighborhoods ranging from 21% to more than 35%, we need to ensure current residents can afford to remain in their homes and benefit from the park. Generous philanthropic contributions to our Legacy Resident Retention Program enable us to cover property tax increases for long-time homeowners, our Home Empowerment Workshops help residents lower their housing costs, and Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and its partners continue to create new affordable units along the BeltLine. These initiatives alone are not the full solution, and additional tools are needed. Affordable housing developers, non-profits, funders, and policy-makers can help ensure existing residents remain in these historic neighborhoods by focusing their efforts around Enota Park before it is constructed. Jobs and Small Business: Enota Park will create new economic opportunities for local residents and businesses as BeltLine development continues to stimulate job growth. Neighbors can train for new jobs in construction and other industries through Westside Works, Construction Ready, and other BeltLine workforce partners. Small businesses, including those participating in the BeltLine MarketPlace, will welcome additional customers as the future openings of Enota Park and Westside Trail Segment 4 connect and attract more people to the Westside to both visit and live in developments created with preservation in mind as envisioned in the updated Subarea 1 Master Plan. Health and Wellness: The physical, mental, social, and environmental health benefits of parks are well documented, and Enota Park will provide lower-income residents with easy access to a high-quality green space (countering a national pattern of inequitably distributed parks). There is an opportunity for partners to help advance positive outcomes by delivering programming at Enota Park to build on the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership’s free fitness classes. With multiple schools proximate to Enota Park (including KIPP STRIVE across the street) and approximately 12% of the residents aged 65 and older in surrounding neighborhoods, multi-generational programs will be needed. The momentum behind the BeltLine is stronger than it has ever been, yet there is still much more to be done. Building Enota Park in coordination with affordable housing, economic development, and health initiatives is the next opportunity to advance the BeltLine vision and equitable outcomes. Want to join us to make this vision a reality? Contact Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 404-446-4404 to find out more and how you can help. This is sponsored content.
By Debbie Fiddyment Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf and Operation HOPE chairman, founder and CEO John Hope Bryant cut the ribbon Wednesday on a newly redesigned Stone Mountain branch that focuses on resources for unbanked and underserved communities. The updated Stone Mountain Memorial branch in DeKalb County introduced a “HOPE Inside” center and financial coach who works for the Atlanta-based nonprofit Operation HOPE. The financial coach will seek to empower community members with financial education and guidance, such as helping them improve their credit scores. It’s Operation HOPE’s 200th “HOPE Inside” location and the first redesigned Wells Fargo branch in the U.S. to feature an Operation HOPE financial coach. It marks the beginning of the bank’s work to introduce “HOPE Inside” centers and coaches in 20 markets by the end 2023. The plan, part of Wells Fargo’s Banking Inclusion Initiative, also includes redesigning 100 branches in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods across the nation. It’s Scharf second visit to the Atlanta area this year after he earlier announced a $20 million donation to help diverse small businesses in the city. The Stone Mountain branch in DeKalb County was chosen because it’s in one of the most diverse and fastest-growing counties in Georgia. The urgency for financial stability is growing as residents from DeKalb County and metro Atlanta face rising inflation and greater economic challenges. According to the FDIC, about 5 percent of Atlanta metro area residents are unbanked, and the unbanked population is disproportionately Black and African American, Hispanic and Native American. This is sponsored content.
By Robert Foley, M.Ed., Senior Project Director and Eric Strunz, MPH This Native American Heritage Month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is launching a suite of new maternal health resources for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities to raise awareness of urgent warning signs during and after pregnancy. A good measure of a country’s health is how well their systems and communities are taking care of their expecting and new mothers. While the maternal mortality rate decreased globally from 2000 to 2017, the United States (U.S.) continues to find itself struggling. In 2020, the U.S. experienced a rate of 23.8 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births –up from 2018 and 2019 and one of the worst in the developed world. The maternal death rate for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women is consistently higher than the U.S. national average, and AI/AN woman have a higher prevalence of postpartum depression (14%-29.7%) when compared to the U.S. average (11%). The disparity demands action. Mothers are the carriers of life and hold a sacred place in our societies, with this role being even more revered in many AI/AN cultures. People who are pregnant and postpartum must be given the necessary care and attention to fulfill this role, and their voices must be heard. They can tell the stories of their bodies, and we need to listen. In 2020, the CDC launched the Hear Her campaign to help women and communities keep mothers and babies healthy by listening to each other, encouraging women to speak up and raise concerns, and connecting with help when needed. Given the disparities that American Indian and Alaska Native people experience, CDC recognized the importance of developing culturally appropriate resources for AI/AN audiences and met with partners at the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) to discuss needs and considerations for serving AI/AN communities. AI/AN cultures have distinct ways of talking about pregnancy, and AI/AN women have unique experiences with medical systems and traditional care. CDC listened and in January 2021 issued a “Dear Tribal Leader Letter” to inform Tribal leaders across the nation of its intention to develop resources to serve AI/AN communities. Since then, the Hear Her team has been connecting with Native women to learn about their experiences with pregnancy-related complications, including accessing care, managing their own health and wellbeing, and connecting with their families, friends and communities. These experiences helped to craft new culturally resonant messages, testimonial videos and resources which are now being launched through the Hear Her campaign. The project is supported through a partnership and funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health as well as partnership with the CDC Foundation, with support from Merck through its Merck for Mothers Program. The Hear Her AI/AN campaign was also made possible by input and assistance from the National Indian Health Board as well as other American Indian colleagues and partners. The new resources include: Testimonials from five American Indian women who experienced pregnancy-related complications. Conversation guides, palm cards and posters that help AI/AN pregnant and postpartum people recognize urgent maternal warning signs and get the care they need. Materials to support healthcare professionals who serve AI/AN communities in their delivery of respectful, culturally appropriate care. Although deaths related to pregnancy are rare, most are preventable. We lose too many mothers each year from complications related to pregnancy, especially within AI/AN communities. Mothers are sacred carriers of life, and we must do more to keep mothers healthy and safe by hearing their concerns and ensuring they get the care. The Hear Her campaign represents one important step to raise awareness about urgent maternal warning signs and help save lives. Robert Foley, M.Ed., is the senior project director working with the Hear Her AI/AN campaign. Eric Strunz is a program officer, Noninfectious Disease Programs, for the CDC Foundation. This is sponsored content.
Westside Future Fund (WFF) is excited to be supporting thought leadership in the SaportaReport on Atlanta’s Historic Westside. At the October 15 Transform Westside Summit we announced the Westside Future Fund (WFF) PRI Program! A program-related investment (PRI) is low-cost capital that not-for-profit organizations can use to spur community development. Thanks to charitable support from Truist and PNC banks, WFF will provide low-cost loans to small, minority-owned businesses based in or serving the Historic Westside. This program builds on a pilot initially funded by AT&T and the Beloved Benefit. Our goal is to mobilize people with current, historical, or aspirational ties to the community to organically support the Westside’s economic development. The October 15 Transform Westside Summit highlighted the importance of economic empowerment of African American entrepreneurs with three special guest panelists – Courtney Smith from PNC Bank, Paul Wilson, Jr. from the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE), and Keitra Bates of Marddy’s Shared Kitchen and Marketplace. A common theme from the panelists was the need for equity in access to capital for Black business owners. Keitra Bates noted that white startups have access to $100,000 from family, on average, while for black startups, it’s only $11,000. In June 2020, PNC Bank announced its bold $1 billion commitment to playing a role in combatting racism and discrimination. During the Summit, Courtney elaborated on PNC’s commitment to the Westside by helping end systemic racism by donating to WFF for program-related investments. Keitra Bates is a recipient of a WFF PRI that she used to renovate and expand her shared kitchen. Marddy’s focus is on economic inclusion, business development, and growth opportunities for local food entrepreneurs with their primary service groups of people of color, women, and other marginalized populations. With the help of RICE, the PRI recipients will have access to resources to innovate, grow, create jobs, and build wealth. Part business generator, innovation lab, and museum, RICE invests in African American entrepreneurs, strengthens businesses, and creates community. We have many miles to eliminate the wealth gap between white and black startups. Thanks to our panelists and the organization they represent, we are making progress and hopefully serving as models for others! Check out our newsletter to learn more about the October 15 Summit. This is sponsored content.
By Francesca “Checka Cee” Rodriguez- Williams, marketing and communication specialist, Inspiredu Inspiredu’s mission is to help underserved youth develop the skills needed for education and career success through technology‐based learning tools and engagement activities with their families, communities and schools in Georgia. We focus on the barriers in schools that inhibit student learning due to lack of access to technology. According to Digitunity, 36 million Americans do not have a computer at home, and tens of millions of households do not have enough computers to allow for concurrent use by multiple family members. Individuals in device-deficient households are often unable to access education, telehealth and employment. We work to bridge this digital divide by providing our Learning Spark Initiative to community centers and schools. Through our Learning Spark Initiative and school partnerships, Inspiredu facilitates a series of interactive workshops that leverage technology to improve family engagement while also helping families learn strategies to become strong learning partners and responsibly access and utilize digital tools for learning. In 2022, 48% of the families surveyed by Inspiredu have reported that the device they recently received would be the only device in their home. An additional 31% of families surveyed indicated that they have “no home internet access” or “access to internet by cell phone only.” Obviously, these disparities will put this population at a marked disadvantage of their better-connected peers. To combat this inequity, all of Inspiredu’s learning workshops also provide learners with information about affordable internet options for families. An additional problem we see is a lack of mentoring for students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas. To address this issue, we’ve started our STEM Pipeline Programming to support the educational pathway in the course. It is not only for students to learn how to design and prototype their own applications, but also for them to engage with corporate professionals from Atlanta’s robust technology hub and learn about potential careers in STEM fields. Corporate partners also host a full-day field trip to showcase their industry and spark interest in STEM careers. The other problematic area we see regarding individuals with technology and education is the lack of employment. There are 230,200 unemployed individuals in Georgia, of which at least 75,966 lack foundation digital skills. Inspiredu’s Adult Digital Literacy program initiative positively impacts adult learners who are seeking to better support their children’s academic success or add digital literacy to their own career toolboxes. As a result, we have worked with community partners and individuals to hold over 1,879 workshop learning hours in 2022 alone to help this population bridge the digital divide. Inspiredu services families such as the Lopezes, who were all sharing one computer in one household. The Lopezes are a family of four, where Dad works and speaks barely any English but can now learn to navigate the web and learn English. Mom, Yesenia, now has an opportunity to further her education and uses the extra laptop we gave her to fulfill her dream of being in the medical field. Their children, five-year-old Aden and four-year-old Violet, are learning their English alphabet on the app “ABC Mouse” that they access with the tablet we gave to them. Participants and families like these—with real world challenges and situations—continue to help drive our mission of digital inclusion, and funders like the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, which gave us a discretionary grant in July, help provide us the tools to realize that mission. To learn more or to support our work, please visit on our web or Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn. This is sponsored content.
Gaumard Scientific Co., an industry leader in simulation technology for health care education and training, announced that HAL® S5301, the world’s most advanced interdisciplinary patient simulator, has been installed at the Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing’s new state-of-the-art simulation and learning center. This is the first commercial installation of HAL S5301, which has begun shipping to customers in the U.S. HAL S5301 introduces several groundbreaking features including conversational speech enhanced by artificial intelligence*, lifelike motor movement and next-generation simulated physiology that allows HAL to simulate stroke symptoms and other medical conditions. Thus, educators can facilitate true-to-life clinical training experiences in the areas of emergency, trauma, ICU and med-surg care with a level of fidelity never before possible. HAL S5301’s capabilities allow students to immerse themselves in realistic training scenarios that hone critical thinking skills and reinforce the transfer of these learned experiences to real-world clinical practice. HAL S5301 is a permanent resident at the School of Nursing’s Emory Nursing Learning Center, which opened to students this fall. The state-of-the-art facility has over 70,000 square feet of teaching and learning space with the capacity for deliberate practice, structured learning, feedback and debriefing and high-stakes assessment exams. The center also offers immersive learning opportunities for licensed nurses through the Emory Nursing Experience, a partnership with Emory Healthcare. “We are thrilled to announce the first installation of HAL S5301 at the Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. HAL S5301’s breakthrough speech enhanced by AI* and its clinical capabilities surpass those of any other patient simulators on the market. HAL represents the new generation of technology that will be used to educate and empower tomorrow’s nursing and medical graduates with an unprecedented level of real-world skill, confidence and preparation,” noted John Eggert, Gaumard’s executive vice president. James Archetto, Gaumard’s vice president of US direct sales, added, “This first installation of HAL S5301 highlights the importance of educating nursing students on high-risk, low-frequency clinical conditions using advanced technology and sophisticated training scenarios. Emory’s faculty have already begun incorporating HAL S5301 into their curriculum to provide students with the most effective learning opportunities.” The School of Nursing’s HAL S5301 — known as “Emory HAL” — is already having an impact. “Because of Emory HAL’s engineering and artificial intelligence capabilities, he can process information and respond to learners much more organically during simulations,” said Mena Khan, MD, CHSE, director of operations for the Emory School of Nursing simulation program. “Emory HAL instills a more dynamic and interactive layer of preparation for our learners, much like actual patients. Our students will be even better prepared for nursing care and leadership roles because of their work with Emory HAL.” For more information on HAL S5301, visit the product page at www.gaumard.com/HAL-S5301. Watch the product video here. Download HAL S5301 product images here. For additional multimedia inquiries, please visit our media contact page. About Gaumard Scientific Gaumard Scientific is recognized by health care educators and students worldwide for its commitment to innovation with the development of the most advanced patient simulation technology. Gaumard designs and manufactures simulators at its global headquarters in Miami and markets them directly in the U.S. as well as through distributors in 70 countries. Gaumard’s customer base includes militaries, emergency medical services, major teaching hospitals, and nursing schools. Gaumard’s product launch timeline reflects the company’s unwavering commitment to innovation. In 2000, Gaumard launched the revolutionary family of NOELLE® maternal and neonatal care simulators that changed how training is conducted. In 2004, Gaumard pioneered the use of fully tetherless technology by introducing the family of HAL® simulators. In 2014, the company introduced VICTORIA®, its most advanced maternal and neonatal care simulator, as part of the NOELLE family. In 2017, Gaumard introduced Super TORY®, the first newborn simulator developed to meet the challenges of neonatal care specialists training in real environments. Pediatric HAL®, the world’s most advanced pediatric patient simulator and the first capable of simulating lifelike emotions through dynamic facial expressions, movement, and speech, was launched in 2018. For company and product information, visit www.gaumard.com. Follow Gaumard on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. About the Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing Ranked No. 2 in BSN and Master’s degree programs and No. 6 in Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs by U.S. News & World Report, the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing produces nurse leaders who are transforming healthcare through science, education, practice and policy. Graduates go on to become national and international leaders in patient care, public health, government, research and education. Others become qualified to seek certification as nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives, and the DNP program trains nurse anesthetists and advanced leaders in health care administration. The school also maintains a PhD program in partnership with Emory’s Laney Graduate School. For more information, visit nursing.emory.edu. Follow the School of Nursing on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. *Conversational Speech may not be available in some countries or areas; internet access is required. Visit www.gaumard.com for more details. This is sponsored content.
By Damian Ramsey The College Bound Partnership: Making College More Affordable The government sets aside funds each year to help students pay for postsecondary education, but too often students are unable to access them. In fact, $2B+ is left unclaimed annually. Why? Because the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is intensely complicated, especially for first-generation families who have never applied. In fact, there are more than 100 separate questions, many requiring specific financial details. To help support students and parents in this high-stakes process, Learn4Life (L4L) helped launch the College Bound FAFSA Initiative in partnership with The Scholarship Academy and the United Way of Greater Atlanta. What Is FAFSA and Why It Matters The FAFSA is a form students and families must complete to secure part of the more than $120 billion in financial aid the government provides annually to help pay for college (2-year, 4-year, or technical programs). Completion of the FAFSA is one of the strongest predictors of postsecondary enrollment, especially for low-income students and students of color who most benefit from financial assistance. A longitudinal study of more than 23,000 high school students found that high school seniors are 84% more likely to immediately enroll in college if they complete the FAFSA, and for students in the lowest socioeconomic quintile, that number jumps to 127%. The College Bound Program Is Working The initiative supports postsecondary enrollment and completion by helping high school counselors in metro Atlanta’s most under-resourced schools assist students and families with the FAFSA. Last school year, 10 high schools across the region received a comprehensive suite of supports, including free FAFSA training for staff and community volunteers, FAFSA completion events (both in-person and virtual to accommodate COVID safety precautions and improve accessibility for families), marketing materials, and incentives. We were able to engage 751 students and support the completion of 437 FAFSA applications, putting hundreds of students on a path toward an affordable or even debt-free degree. More Support Is On The Way Taking into account feedback from district leaders, principals, counselors and parents in last year’s cohort of College Bound schools, we have refined our FAFSA programming this year to include a dedicated AmeriCorps member on-campus weekly, targeted events for specialized groups, and the inclusion of a ‘Cost of College’ workshop to teach students how to calculate the financial aid gap for their desired 2-year or 4-year institution. So far this year, College Bound has hosted 5 two-day FAFSA completion events and engaged over 500 students from high schools in DeKalb, Fulton, and Clayton counties. The current postsecondary enrollment rate for metro Atlanta’s nearly 42,000 seniors is 72%, up from 68% in 2021. While we are making progress, we must continue working together to provide all students, especially our region’s most vulnerable, with direct support to overcome barriers to FAFSA completion and improve their chances for college success. For information on how to get involved with College Bound, email Damian Ramsey (email@example.com), Community Engagement Manager at Learn4Life. To join L4L’s conversation about postsecondary access and completion, sign up for our Change Action Network here. All are welcome. This is sponsored content.