In the summer of 2012 Raioni Madison-Jones founded 3D Girls, Inc. with the mission of educating and empowering young women and their families. Over the past nine years the nonprofit has developed a caseload of 325 families in the metro Atlanta area, and when the coronavirus pandemic hit last year, 3D Girls, Inc. had to alter its work and intensify outreach efforts to yield more sustainable solutions for families in need.
“Our work is grounded in addressing the critical disparities that limit young women: the access to educational tools, financial empowerment and health resources that are needed to thrive,” said Madison-Jones. “We envision a future where the next generation of young women are self-sufficient leaders.”
The nonprofit has worked during the pandemic to provide more than 400 mothers and fathers in need with care packages on a weekly basis. It has also delivered tens of thousands of diapers, wipes and feminine care products, and during the holidays, 3D Girls, Inc. provided holiday gifts to 100 single parents experiencing hardships from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The work that we are doing is helping people sustain. The stories of hardship go deep, from the moms who gave birth at the peak of quarantine who are suffering to cope with not being able to work. To the veteran moms who have to decide to buy food or buy diapers,” said Madison-Jones. “Our team is working consistently to improve our systems and resources to effectively support families who are struggling to make ends meet during these difficult times.”
So far this year 3D Girls, Inc. has been working to address feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation among women and girls. On May 1 the group launched an emergency assistance program to help families with utilities, housing payments and other essential services to support families’ most immediate needs.
3D Girls, Inc.
Services: 3D Girls, Inc. works to educate and empower young women to be advocates for themselves and their families through mentoring, prenatal and parent education and social/emotional wellness.
Where to donate: To donate, visit www.3dgirlsinc.org/donate or send donations via mail to 933 Lee St. SW, Suite B-1, Atlanta, GA 30310
Students’ first year of high school is critically important. How often 9th-grade students attend school and how well they do in school has an outsize impact on whether they will eventually graduate.
So it did not bode well when Malik Gore started skipping class as a freshman at a high school in South Atlanta.
“I got caught up in the drama, and it really took a toll on me,” he said.
Malik ended up at Phoenix Academy, a second-chance school on the Crim open campus in East Atlanta. That’s where he encountered a system of support that has helped put him on the verge of graduating from high school this spring.
Key to Malik’s success has been the Phoenix Academy staff and the programming of, the local chapter of the Save Kids of Incarcerated Parents program. During the 2020-21 school year, SKIP Georgia received a grant from the redefinED atlanta Innovation Fund to support counseling sessions it offers students at five Atlanta schools, including Phoenix Academy. The sessions run from 5:00-7:00 p.m. and offer students an opportunity to decompress, participate in trauma-informed care, and connect with peers.
Most of the participating students are high school seniors, and much of the recent discussion in the counseling sessions has been about navigating this momentous time educationally, in the midst of a pandemic. SKIP Georgia has provided additional support to the students through grants from the United Way of Greater Atlanta* and Dollar General Literacy Foundation as well as additional programming like a Sunday Brunch & Munch where older students mentor younger students.
The system is working.
Nikaya Winfrey graduated high school with the support of the Phoenix Academy-SKIP Georgia partnership and is now a student at Atlanta Technical College, preparing to become a dental hygienist.
“I have reached so many things I didn’t even think were possible,” she said.
Both Nikaya and Malik credit Phoenix Academy staff members like Theresa Mullins, who is the school’s site coordinator for SKIP Georgia.
“I’m responsible for their needs getting met, not just academics but wraparound services,” Mullins said. “We do the social and emotional, we do the mental health, we do food services, emergency funding, going to college, trying to place them in the best way possible.”
Because of the support that he received from Phoenix Academy and SKIP Georgia, Malik has fully recovered from his rocky start to high school. This summer, he is scheduled to take classes at Morehouse College.
Looking back, Malik says, “It was a minor setback for a major comeback.”
* redefinED atlanta is also a proud partner of the United Way of Greater Atlanta and receives support as a Child Well-Being Impact Fund “Strong Learners” grantee for their work advancing parent advocacy in public schools.
RedefinEd Atlanta has been working to improve Atlanta’s public school education since 2016, and when the coronavirus pandemic hit last year, the folks at RedefinEd Atlanta knew that they could help students that were affected.
“In response to COVID-19, RedefinEd Atlanta doubled down its efforts to provide resources to parents and communities with students attending Atlanta’s public schools, as well as to individual schools in the district,” said Adah Pittman-Delancey, the vice president of impact and external relations at RedefinEd Atlanta.
In the summer of 2020, RedefinEd Atlanta was able to give funds to two parent-led organizations, Atlanta Thrive and the Latino Association for Parents of Public Schools, to launch a $100,000 relief effort to support parents and caregivers of Atlanta Public Schools students experiencing hardship due to the pandemic.
“Atlanta Public Schools has one of the largest racial achievement gaps in the country,” said Pittman-Delancey. “Creating access to a great public education can provide Black and brown students living in under-resourced communities with the opportunity to realize their full potential and pursue their passions, changing the trajectory of their lives. We know that systemic racial inequities, which the pandemic exacerbated and exposed, are significant barriers to a thriving Atlanta.”
Services: RedefinEd Atlanta works towards the vision of transforming Atlanta into a place where every student in every community receives a great public school education. To do this they engage with other nonprofits and raise funds to aid the community.
If you are involved in or know of an organization working to bring relief to the Atlanta community during the coronavirus pandemic OR you are with an organization with supplies that you don’t know where to donate, please email us at [email protected].
Ever since Ethos Classical Charter School opened in South Atlanta in 2019, small-group instruction with two teachers per classroom has been a hallmark of its learning model.
So when the pandemic hit, the literacy and arts-focused elementary school readied itself to create even smaller learning groups to meet safety requirements for students and staff.
“But in order to have more in-person learning instruction through smaller learning groups, we needed more adults,” explained Emily Castillo León, Head of School and founder of Ethos Classical. “Hiring more educators during a pandemic was quite the challenge. We needed talented candidates and funding for the additional salaries, quickly.”
Thanks in part to a grant from the redefinED atlanta Innovation Fund, Castillo León was able to solve her school’s biggest challenge during the pandemic—creating safe in-person instruction.
“We were able to tap into a new talent pipeline thanks to redefinED, and we were able to hire four full-time, on-site learning leaders, which enabled us to bring students back in-person,” Castillo León explained.
In addition to being able to offer in-person learning to more students, hiring new educators mid-year gave Ethos Classical a jumpstart on hiring for the 2021-22 school year, which is a necessity as the school grows by one grade per year.
Among the new teachers hired is Josalyn Jones, a recent college graduate with a degree in child developmental psychology. Jones joined Ethos Classical during the pandemic and was hired to stay on for next school year. She’ll also be able to pursue her Master of Arts in Teaching degree through Ethos Classical’s partnership with the RELAY Graduate School of Education’s teacher residency program.
“I have never felt so in place and welcomed in my life,” she said. “My journey has led me on the path to a great school where I know my skills as an educator will increase and flourish.”
In webinars and Zoom panels about the pandemic’s toll on learning, education experts talk about the need for summer remediation to shore up academic skills compromised by school closings and remote classes.
Yet, many parents are having a different conversation, saying both they and their children are exhausted after a school year like no other. They want their kids sprung from screens, workbooks and math problems so they can visit grandparents, splash in neighborhood pools and ride their bikes.
Join our growing collective of parents, educators, community leaders, and philanthropists dedicated to transforming Atlanta into a place where every student in every community has access to a great K-12 public education.