On March 31, Families First unveiled “The Threads of Resilience” Mural, an amazing visual representation of the hope for our future and the support of our families and communities to help our children succeed. The mural’s artist, Sharanda Wilburn, S.A.W, created the beautiful masterpiece to bring our mission to “Build Resilient Families so all Children can Thrive” to life.  

S.A.W shared, We have to try to show the young people of our community how to produce something great even in their darkest moments. So don’t ignore the hard times, just figure out how to navigate through them. If we can’t control anything around us, we can control how we respond.”  

More than eighty community members, corporations, partners, and supporters joined together for mural unveiling which launched the Equitable Communities Create Resilient Communities Event Series. Corporate support of the event included Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A, as well presenting sponsors Georgia Power Company and Gas South. The Equitable Communities Create Resilient Communities Event Series is also supported by Anisa International, Chick-Fil-A, Cox Enterprises, Lucy Carpenter Vance, Publix Charities, Verizon, and The Home Depot.  

DePriest Waddy, CEO of Families First shared, “It really comes down to people who care. Harnessing the extraordinary abilities of individuals like you, all of you and your know-how and resources, whose passions align with our mission. This allows Families First to wrap around and hug families in times of crisis. Our shared passion means we stick with our clients through the crisis and beyond the crisis. We are truly fortunate to have all these essential factors in the community supporting the mission and contributing to Families First so together we meet our clients ‘where they are.’ Families First takes stock and maps pathways to get vulnerable families to feel better, live better, be better…become better parents and engage with our communities.” 

Co-Chair Teresa Rivero of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Honorary Chair Bentina Terry of Georgia Power Company joined with our board chair Courtney Showell of PwC to showcase the new mural. He also recognize his mother, Patricia Whatley Showell, former CEO of Families First and longtime supporter. Pat was recognized with the Families First Legacy Award. Her dedication to our families, our mission and our community including the Patricia Showell Second Chance Home is a lasting reminder of the power to move our families from surviving to thriving. 

Families First client, Aaliyah Baron, shared her journey with her Navigator Erica Green and how Families First became a second family to her. The resources identified and coordinated helped her with her newborn son and the support to navigate the programs available and had a significant role in imaging her family’s future with a career and a path toward success and happiness. “When I first came to Families First, I was pregnant and nervous because I was having my first child but Families First really became part of my family,” said Aaliyah. “One thing I plan on doing is coming back and working for Families First in the future.” 

Attendees included community partners GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students, Raising Expectations Inc., Emory University, OUT Georgia Business Alliance, The Junior League of Atlanta, Inc., Leadership Atlanta, United Way of Greater Atlanta; corporate supporters Accenture, Georgia Power Company, TruRating, Verizon, Wells Fargo and AT&T; and city officials, Byron Amos and Matt Westmoreland.   

On May 12, the community will gather again for Dining for a Difference at the Georiga Aquarium to recognize community leaders making a lasting impact focused on our shared vision that creates a sustained path for families and focuses on equity. Equity in care. Equity in opportunities. Equity for children and future generations.  

  • Wendy Stewart, President, Global Commercial Banking, Bank of America who will be honored with the Community Impact Award for her work with The Grove Park Foundation to bring together the community to tackle the systemic issues of poverty, along with her service with the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Leadership Atlanta, Woodruff Arts Center, and Atlanta Committee for Progress. 
  • Kevin Greiner, President & CEO, Gas South who will be honored with the Social Equity Award for his leadership at Gas South focusing on children’s initiatives that create a more equitable future, along with his determination to create exceptional career paths for his employees.
  • Dallas Smith, Founder & CEO, T. Dallas Smith & Company who will be honored with the Making a Difference Community Service Award for his focus on creating a diverse business and network of service providers to create innovative businesses and thriving communities. 
  • Mary Yates, Community Advocate & Families First Supporter who will be honored with the Montag Family Volunteerism Award for her continued support of Families First.  
  • Patricia Whatley Showell, Community Leader & Former Families First CEO and Supporter who will be honored with the Legacy Award for her dedication to our mission.  


We hope you will join us on May 12, to continue to bring awareness to the needs of our families and help us continue to move our families from surviving to thriving.  www.ffdfad.org

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