Posted on February 22, 2012

In the Spring of 2000, Bill Maness, Recreation Director at The Gym at Peachtree, noticed a group of Latino children getting off the school bus across the street from Peachtree Presbyterian Church. He learned that these children had parents who spoke little to no English and could not help them with their homework. He invited the students to come to the church for after school tutoring and invited their parents to come for English as a Second Language classes. A year later, LaAmistad was born.


Today, LaAmistad serves 75 students and 40 families on a daily basis, helping the students achieve their highest academic potential through its after school program and helping parents better communicate with their children through its parent educational initiative. LaAmistad is more than a community program; it is a source of comprehensive support for families that for various circumstances do not have the means to attain their highest degree of success.

Cat McAfee, Director of LaAmistad, tells us about the substantial impact of the organization on the participating families: “LaAmistad families love the program because they receive so much support. We act as advocates in the school when needed and assist the parents in communication with the teachers.”

LaAmistad’s programs have led to measurable results. Participants have received a total of 32 school-sponsored awards in various academic subjects and 15 middle school students in the program participated in the Latino Youth Leadership Conference where they learned about future educational and leadership opportunities. Twenty-five Latino parents have learned to read, write and speak English in order to better equipped to attend to their family’s needs.

LaAmistad participated in one of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta’s Nonprofit Legal Check Ups in December and since then the organization has been matched with volunteer attorneys Leticia Alfonso of AT&T and Rupert Barkoff of Kilpatrick Townsend. Leticia is reviewing LaAmistad’s client application and liability waiver forms and Rupert is drafting a license agreement for other organizations to implement LaAmistad’s model in communities nationwide.

Posted on November 3, 2010

According to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic Violence, 1.3 million women are physically assaulted by an intimate partner every year in the United States. In 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner.

S.H.A.R.E. House Quilt

In response to this tragic situation, battered women’s shelters such as the S.H.A.R.E House, in Douglasville, Georgia, have made it their mission to offer a safe place for victims of domestic violence. The S.H.A.R.E. House’s 24-hour emergency shelter provides 25 beds to battered and homeless women and children, as well as three meals per day.

The S.H.A.R.E. House is devoted to bringing a sense of order and stability into the lives of women and children affected by domestic violence. The organization offers seven transitional apartments to help get women get back on their feet and take back their lives. Women who participate in the transitional program can receive job-readiness training, enroll in school, and take advantage of employer connections. Support groups, such as parenting classes and life-skills classes, are offered to battered women, and children who come from violent homes are also provided counseling.

Of the work that Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has done for this deserving organization, S.H.A.R.E. House executive director Teresa Smith has said, “we greatly appreciate the knowledge and support that the volunteer attorneys have provided to S.H.A.R.E House. Their compassion for our needs as a nonprofit and willingness to work with us and guide the organization on issues when legal services are not available have been outstanding.”

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has matched the S.H.A.R.E. House with several volunteer attorneys to strengthen the legal health of the organization. Currently, Diane Prucino of Kilpatrick Stockton is advising the S.H.A.R.E. House on an employment-related matter; and Tamera Woodard of Schiff Hardin is making revisions to the employee handbook. John Lewis of the Coca-Cola Company and Jill Wasserman of King & Spalding advised the S.H.A.R.E. House during a recent Nonprofit Legal Check–Up organized by Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. The organization is currently seeking assistance from a volunteer attorney with revising its client handbook and addressing liability concerns.

Posted on June 20, 2010

When VOICE Today founder Angela Williams spoke to three hundred women attending a retreat last year at Callaway Gardens and asked for volunteers to share if they had suffered from sexual abuse, over half of the women stood up. Many of these women broke the silence on their abuse for the first time that day and subsequently made a commitment to healing and restoration.

Angela Williams (founder) &
Tom Scales (executive director)

VOICE Today’s mission is to break the silence and cycle of sexual abuse through protection, prevention, and healing. VOICE Today offers educational workshops that teach adults how to actively and proactively protect children from sexual abuse. Parents learn how to talk to their children about sexuality and personal boundaries. Understanding personal boundaries prepares a child to recognize the difference between OK behavior and not OK behavior. VOICE Today promotes engaging in this communication early on so that even young children will know if someone is acting inappropriately.

In addition to teaching prevention skills, VOICE Today’s workshops teach adults how to detect signals of abuse. An abused child is more likely to tell a nurse, teacher, or classmate about the abuse than his or her own parents, often because the perpetrator is someone the child’s family knows and trusts. VOICE Today strives to take the burden of reporting abuse off of the child by emphasizing adult intervention. VOICE Today empowers adults to be alert to symptoms of abuse in their own children as well as other children in their community.

VOICE Today also hosts workshops and support groups for survivors of sexual abuse to promote restoration and healing. Because the full-time VOICE Today volunteers are survivors of sexual abuse, they know firsthand what it is like to endure the abuse and live with its devastating effects.

It is the vision of VOICE Today to change the world into a place that is safe for children and compassionate to survivors. While child abuse is a worldwide problem, awareness and prevention programs are virtually unheard of in many other countries. VOICE Today has promoted its cause in Mexico and is currently working with a ministry for exploited children in Bulgaria. VOICE Today is also collaborating with students at the Savannah College of Art and Design to create educational books and dolls based on the books’ characters.

Pro Bono Partnerhip of Atlanta has matched VOICE Today with Chris Bussert and Sabina Vayner of Kilpatrick Stockton and Mialeeka Williams of The Coca-Cola Company who are currently advising VOICE Today on trademark, copyright, and website issues, and Mona Maerz of Chamberlain Hrdlicka, who is working with the organization on waivers and releases.

Posted on February 2, 2010

Studies have shown that over 80% of children of prisoners will one day be incarcerated themselves. These children grow up without the support of one or both of their parents. kidz2leaders teaches children of prisoners that they are in charge of their destiny, and while the statistics say one thing, they can grow up to be whoever they want.

kidz2leaders began in 1999 to help change the lives of prisoners’ children and to break the vicious cycle of incarceration. They teach these often overlooked children leadership, social skills, and financial responsibility. Most importantly kidz2leaders provides these children with emotional and spiritual support.

kidz2leaders starts with a week-long fun-filled camp, camp hope®. Third through fifth graders learn to rise above their circumstances with sports, art, singing, camp fires, and praise and worship time. Seventh through ninth graders who have been with the program at least two years attend the Leadership Training Academy. This program teaches children to have self-control, develop group strategies, and create personal goals and ideals.

interns4tomorrow, another kidz2leaders program, connects former campers with companies throughout Atlanta. Many children of prisoners only know a life of government dependence; interns4tomorrow enables graduates of the Leadership Training Academy to gain valuable job skills as interns while they earn money. These students grow up with kidz2leaders, having learned to overcome major adversity and break the cycle of incarceration and government dependence.

kidz2leaders became a Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta client in March of 2009. Of the work that Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has done for this deserving organization, kidz2leaders founder and president Rev. Diane H. Parrish has said, “[w]ithout the generosity of the Pro Bono staff and participating attorneys, these efforts would not be possible. Our non-profit organization is extremely focused on minimizing operational costs and does not have the budget to pay for these legal services … We are most grateful for the advice, guidance, and expertise of the attorneys that have willingly consulted with us.”

The following volunteer attorneys have worked with kidz2leaders to help ensure the organization’s continued success: Michelle O’Leary of Littler Mendelson and Marcia Alembik of Hunton & Williams LLP assisted kidz2leaders in evaluating its risks in the internship program; Brynne Goncher of Morris, Manning, & Martin LLP has provided legal advice regarding HIPAA compliance in connection with its camp applications; Peter Farley of Beaulieu Group, Lou Barbieri of Womble Carlyle, and Lori Shapiro of Graphic Packaging Corporation did a legal assessment during Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta’s Nonprofit Legal Check-Up. Presently, George Sewell, Shymeka Hunter of Jackson Lewis, and Adam Humphrey of King and Spalding LLP are assisting on various legal matters for the organization.

Posted on July 1, 2009

What do President Barack Obama, Paula Deen, Ernest Borgnine, and Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts have in common? All have participated in fulfilling the dream of an elderly person through Second Wind Dreams. In the past twelve years, Second Wind Dreams has built an award-winning program which trains eldercare communities nationwide on how to raise the resources to make residents’ dreams come true.

Paula Deen fulfills the dream request
of 88 year old Eveline Kelly

The idea for Second Wind Dreams grew out the work of geriatric specialist P.K. Beville, M.S. who co-authored Second Wind, a novel about people living in a nursing home. PK found “that after a dream had been fulfilled, the effects linger, giving all involved a Second Wind.” Second Wind Dreams’ programs enhance the quality of life for those living in eldercare communities by decreasing resident depression, increasing staff morale, providing life-changing volunteer opportunities, and creating a positive environment for all of those involved in the dream fulfillment process. The program has received attention from the national media including Southern Living, The Associated Press, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, CBS Evening News, People Magazine, CNN, The American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Assisted Living Today, NBC’s Three Wishes with Amy Grant, and the Hallmark Channel.

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has matched the Second Wind Dreams with several volunteer attorneys to strengthen the legal health of the organization. Currently, Rupert Barkoff of Kilpatrick Stockton is drafting a franchise agreement as the organization seeks to formalize its relationship with its chapters. Faith Knight of McKesson has worked with Second Wind Dreams on HIPAA-related issues and drafted a media waiver. Evan Pontz of Troutman Sanders LLP volunteered his services on several employment-related issues, and attorneys from Turner Broadcasting System, Gardner Groff, and Kilpatrick Stockton have assisted with a variety of intellectual property issues.

Second Wind Dreams is founded on the principle that people are never too old to dream or to have their dreams come true. The greatest percentage of dreams are “just for fun” such as going to The Price Is Right, riding a camel, or cruising around town in a red convertible. Second Wind Dreams also fulfills many other types of dreams of low income seniors such as reuniting them with loved ones, taking one to swim with dolphins, or helping them to relive past experiences. Most dreams are funded for less than $100, and some as are simple as taking a resident to see his garden one last time or providing a resident with art supplies.

Posted on March 1, 2009

Keeping it all in the family is important to Ashley Richardson, owner of City Automotive. Thirty-two years ago his father began this family-owned business, where Mr. Richardson and his wife now work. Even their 11-year-old son can occasionally be found helping out.

Ashley Richardson of City

Mr. Richardson recently found himself in need of an equipment loan in order to keep this family-centered business thriving. Several banks turned Mr. Richardson down but eventually he found the Atlanta Micro Fund (AMF). After completing the loan program orientation and application process, City Automotive received a $3500 loan from AMF to purchase a vehicle lift. This additional equipment will help City Automotive repair more cars in less time, thus making it possible for Mr. Richardson to continue the business his father started long ago.

The Atlanta Micro Fund, a certified Community Development Financial Institution and U.S. Small Business Administration Micro Loan intermediary, helps to create jobs for low and moderate-income small business entrepreneurs in metropolitan Atlanta. AMF began operations in April 1999 and serves microenterprises in Fulton County and surrounding counties.

From its inception, AMF recognized that entrepreneurs, like Mr. Richardson, are often excluded from traditional small business sources of financing. AMF operates a small business loan program that gives entrepreneurs and business owners the opportunity to receive up to $15,000 in capital to launch or expand small businesses in metropolitan Atlanta. Additionally, the Atlanta Micro Found provides small business counseling to assist borrowers in developing personal budgets, business cash flow projections, marketing strategies and materials. These programs help AMF achieve the goal of stabilizing and increasing the household income of low to moderate-income small business owners.

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has matched the Atlanta Micro Fund with several volunteer attorneys to strengthen the legal health of the organization. Currently, Reginald O’Shields of Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta and Cindy Hanson of Kilpatrick Stockton are ensuring that AMF complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Diane Prucino of Kilpatrick Stockton is addressing employment questions, Jennifer Miller of King & Spalding is drafting an agreement, and Edward Falso of GE Energy is preparing a waiver form for the organization.

Posted on January 7, 2009

Rosa Arnold’s son, Albert T. Mills, was shot in the back and killed during a robbery in 1994 when he was working a second job over the holidays to support his family. Rosa went to the arraignment hearing for the two young men who shot her son and was struck by how callous and cold they were. She felt compelled to take action in the wake of her son’s death and chose to focus her efforts on the children in the neighborhoods where the perpetrators grew up in order to break the cycle that leads to hopelessness and violence.

Rosa Arnold & Albert T. Mills
Enrichment Center Students

Rosa opened a free preschool for underprivileged children from violent neighborhoods in 1995 and named it after her son. The Albert T. Mills Enrichment Center provides a loving, nurturing, and stable Christian environment to help counteract the family and neighborhood situations in which the children are raised. The center serves the children’s basic needs by providing free breakfast and lunch, which may be the only meals they eat that day. Ms. Rosa and the teachers daily assess other needs such as clothing and provide those as needed. A bus picks the children up from their home and returns them every day.

Albert T. Mills Enrichment Center prides itself in preparing children for kindergarten and teaches the children how to sit, listen and show respect for each other and their teachers, in addition to teaching the basic academic skills appropriate for preschool and pre-K programs. The Center also provides spiritual development and basic life skills training to the children. Over fifty children are currently enrolled in the school.

Rosa has faced many challenges in trying to help others. The Center suddenly lost its lease in August and quickly moved to donated space in Ormewood Presbyterian Church. Shortly after the move, thieves broke into the church and stole computers, CD players, TVs, furniture and even frozen meat that was meant for the children. Fortunately, the community came to her aid and soon replaced everything that had been stolen. In spite of the challenges, Rosa stays focused on the mission of helping the children.

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has matched the Rosa with several volunteer attorneys as she and her Board seek to strengthen the legal health of the organization. Rachel Eisenstat of Paul Hastings, Clayton Coley of McKenna Long & Aldridge and Tim Silvis of Miller & Martin have each provided free legal assistance to the Center.