JULY, 2019

HERO served sixty-five (65) children (including Counselors-in-Training and Junior Counselors) via Camp High Five (CHF) from June 9th through the 14th this summer! Children and volunteers were transported to Camp Twin Lakes' (CTL's) Will-A-Way site in Winder from Atlanta, Athens, Albany and Augusta, Georgia. One child from North Carolina, two from Illinois, and one from Wisconsin joined us, as well. Our youngsters enjoyed a range of activities- from swimming to horseback-riding to archery- during their fun-filled week. Each child was furnished with a variety of items to make their time as pleasant and care-free as possible, including activity supplies for their rides to and from the camp site, toiletries and t-shirts to commemorate the 2019 CHF session.
Dr. Chanda Graves of Grady Hospital's Infectious Disease Program and her Doctoral Intern, Joya Hampton, facilitated our HIV education workshop. In addition to HIV basics, we delved into bullying this year, including forms that most of the children were unaware of (i.e. bullying by exclusion). A robust discussion of how bullying is manifest in schools, neighborhoods, and in the lives of adolescents dealing with HIV took place. Next, Drs. Chanda & Joya explored practical methods of combatting bullying, which empowered our children to protect themselves as well as their peers. Finally, the kids did a fantastic job creating and acting out scenarios that depicted bullying and its countermeasures. This was a very enlightening workshop, which also served as a skill-building session for those in attendance. The teens were incredibly engaged throughout, and offer insightful commentary during conversation. In addition, Drs. Chanda and Joya were on site most of the week for individual meetings with the children, where they answered additional queries and addressed any psycho-social issues that emerged during camp.
For our annual HIV ceremony, children were invited to write their thoughts, wishes, ideas, etc. regarding their attendance at CHF on pieces of paper and drop them into a fire pit. They were also welcomed to share words of wisdom with their peers. A few of our children bravely disclosed their experiences contracting HIV, offered coping mechanisms to their fellow campers, and words of encouragement for the audience. HERO staff was proud of the way in which the children's peers and Camp volunteers embraced and supported those who provided their testimonies.
A highlight of this year's session was the involvement of the Project Impact Team from the Richmond County Board of Health in Augusta, members of which came out and hosted a paint party for the children (for which the Team donated all of the art supplies and snacks). This activity gave the kids yet another keepsake from CHF 2019. Children demonstrated their gifts during our annual dance and talent show, as well. We continued to implement our "Counselor-in-Training" (CIT) component, in which adolescents who have 'aged out' of CHF and 'sat out' for a year are invited back to train to become Counselors. CITs develop marketable skills while caring for the younger children at CHF.
In partnership with CTL and with the assistance of 19 dedicated volunteers, our children enjoyed a wonderful experience at Camp High Five this summer. This session was executed successfully due to the commitment of our Medical Director and Board Member, Dr. Sheryl Henderson; Camp Director, Starla Windsor-Chambers; Assistant Camp Director, Tylah Hankerson; Head Nurse, Michelle Strauss; Child Psychologists, Drs. Chanda Graves and Joya Hampton; CHF Founder, Bonnie Minter; Doris Pearson; the Camp Twin Lakes staff and various program representatives from our partner cities. Finally, we couldn't do this work without our fantastic nursing staff and team of volunteer counselors, who each donated a week of their time to help improve the lives of children affected by HIV and AIDS.
We would like to extend a special thanks to the following donors for their support of CHF 2019:
Financial Donations:
-Gilead Sciences
-The Walgreens Foundation
-Action Cycling Atlanta
-Robert Jetmundsen
-The Rotary Club of Vinings - Cumberland's Run for the Kids Program
-Jason Cook
-Ryan Gembala
-St. Philip Benizi Church
-The Pilot Club of Atlanta
-Michael Gembala
-Garrett Gravesen
-Jonathan Duckett
-Ben Stricker
-Courtney & Cory Phillips
-Kim & Clay Nalley
-Kevin Scott
-Angelic Community Resource Development, Inc.
-Positively Augusta
-John Milton

-Ken Bonds
-Louise Shimer
-Dene' Dixon
-Katharine Banning
-Sheryl Merrey
-Arletta Brinson
-Susan Fletcher
-Denise Clark
-Cheryl Gamble
-Joan Hill
-Pamela Wilkins
-Jaquetta Collins
-Grover Collins
-Ethel Hannon
-Iris Fordham
-Sandy Battisse
-Jackie Sampson
-Sondra Williams
-Vanessa Ashmore
-James & Portia Cook
-Greg & Althea Taylor

In-kind Donations/Volunteer Medical Assistance:
-Camp Twin Lakes
-West Georgia Technical College Department of Nursing
-Publix Stores
-Angels of Hope Love is Real
-The Project Impact Team of the Richmond County Board of Health in Augusta
-Doris Murphy
-JoAnn Akers
-Costco Wholesale - Alpharetta
-Costco Wholesale - Kennesaw
-Leah Burdett
-Arletta Brinson

-Doris C. Pearson
-Teresa B. Goff
-Deborah Coleman-Void
-Carolyn Yancey
-Len Dismuke
-Ordray Robinson
-Lorie C. Bennett
-Kim Rouse
-Kathy Johnson
-LeAnna Crawford
-Kevin & Jakiyah Barnes
-Sheila F. Carswell

H.E.R.O.'s Transition to Adulthood program facilitated a tour of Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday, June 28th. The Tour began promptly at 10 AM, when  seven (7) of our middle and high school students were greeted by SCAD ambassadors who screened a "Welcome to SCAD" video, which provided an overview of the unique opportunities each of the SCAD campuses (located in Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, China and Lacosta, France) have to offer.

Next, the participants took a tour of the campus. Our Tour Guide, Tesse Steele, Junior Fashion Design Major, emphasized the connection between having a solid math and science background and performing well at SCAD, as "Fashion Design and Interior Decorating are all about measurements, size and color coordination," she said. She went on to state that though it is great to have a clothing design idea or a sketch, you have to understand measurements, how they apply to the human bodies, and the science behind materials and fabrics. This was an eye-opener for many of our children, and several said, "Now I see why math is so important!" Our children were exposed to the areas of Graphic Art Design, Media and Audio Engineering, Interior Decorating, and Fashion Design while on the main campus. During the tour, they observed a wide variety of SCAD students working in various laboratories, creating designs for class projects, and collaborating on upcoming competitions. This was a big hit for our HERO kids, as they saw students utilizing their various talents and skills to work together towards a common goal. Of particular interest was the Fashion Design Room, which housed a vast array of clothes created by students and judged by famous, international designers such as Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren. Many of our children were excited by this revelation, and one exclaimed, "Wow- I am actually touching the same Jacket as Tom Ford!" Other children identified shortcomings in current fashion and vowed to address them. "When I come, I'm going to design clothes for people my height," one HERO child declared. This excursion exposed our children to the endless possibilities in the areas of fashion, art and design, and educated them on what is required to matriculate to SCAD.

Following the time spent on the main campus, our adolescents were shuttled to the Interactive Audio Design and Game Development areas, in which they witnessed a top-of-the-line audio and sound system, state-of-the-art video production and filming room, as well as dedicated photography, print making and video game design spaces. The video game design zone was a highlight for those of our children who are video game enthusiasts, as they were able to see all of the technical work required to design and build a game. In closing, several of our children met with admissions counselors to discuss the requirements necessary for acceptance. Speaking with school administrators, students and alumni rounded out this enlightening event for our children.

We selected SCAD as a tour site because several of our children expressed interest in pursuing careers in fashion and design. This trip was very valuable for them, and provided all in attendance with the information needed to assess whether or not SCAD would be a good fit, given their goals and aspirations. For some, it helped confirm their decisions ("Oh, yes - I'm coming here!" was heard from one potential applicant), while for others, it served as motivation to address areas of academic weakness ("I need to improve in math and science," concluded another). While eating lunch after the tour and during the ride home, our children were asked to compare and contrast their experience at SCAD with those of other college tours they have participated in with the Transition to Adulthood Program, and discuss why SCAD may or may not be a good choice for them. Comments ranging from SCAD's proximity to home, international reputation, and creative environment were popular themes. The Transition to Adulthood program's goal is to nurture our children's talents, support their pursuits of higher education and training, and develop career opportunities for them as a means by which to help them become productive and fulfilled members of society. We will continue to assist our clientele in identifying academic institutions that will meet their needs and help them achieve their personal and professional goals.
On Monday, June 17th, 2019, H.E.R.O. for Children, Inc. was one among several organizations and/or individuals to be recognized by the Atlanta City Council for their work with the LGBTQ community. Councilman Antonio Brown hosted a reception at the Atlanta City Hall in which H.E.R.O. staff were present. During the reception, each organization's representative was presented with a framed Proclamation, and given a moment to say a few words. Following, attendees were invited to attend a council meeting during which they were officially recognized, and joined in a group picture. Lastly, the awardees took a photo with Councilman Antonio Brown and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, outside the Mayor's office.  H.E.R.O. was humbled and honored to have received such wonderful recognition from the city of Atlanta.
On Sunday, June 23rd, 2019, H.E.R.O.'s Executive Director, Donna Drakes and University of Georgia HEROs' Executive Director, Madie Moore, attended a reception hosted by the Action Cycling Atlanta (ACA) organization, where they received a check in the amount of $5,000 to support HERO's Camp High Five Program. We would like to say "Thank You!" to all of the ACA board members and sponsors for their continued support of our Camp High Five Program.
Ninety percent (90%) of H.E.R.O. children come from households with annual incomes under $20,000. As such, they often find it difficult to provide their children with basic necessities. Our Back-to-School Bash helps meet this need at this critical time of the year.  At this time, we are gearing up for our annual Back-to-School Bash. The Back-to-School Bash is a way for these children to get motivated for the new school year, and receive free backpacks filled with school supplies - defraying the cost of supplies the families usually cannot afford. Our parents are extremely appreciative of this opportunity as their kids begin the school year prepared and confident that they have what they need. Some parents have expressed it can take them weeks to get everything the kids need at the start of the school year.

Love Cycling? H.E.R.O. for Children, Inc. is looking for an individual to sign-up as our team captain and form a team on behalf of Camp High Five for Camp Twin Lakes' Spin for Kids. This event will take place on  Sunday, October 20th, 2019 .
What is Spin For Kids?
Taking place at Camp Twin Lakes (CTL)-Rutledge, Spin For Kids is a fully supported road bike ride that winds through the rolling hills of beautiful Morgan County, Georgia. Spin For Kids offers multiple routes for riders of all skill levels. Participants can choose from six scenic road routes: 5, 15, 27, 47, 62 or 100 miles. Each route is supported from start to finish with fully-stocked rest stops, first aid, route marshals, and bike technicians. Riders with young children can register their children to participate in free day camp while their parents are out riding. As riders return to CTL, they are invited to join in camp festivities including delicious food, beer, live entertainment and a chance to explore Camp. All adult riders pay a small registration fee ($5-$45) and commit to raising at least $200. Children under 18 who would like to ride are not required to fundraise and pay just $5-$15 to register.
How can Spin For Kids help H.E.R.O.?
Spin For Kids provides a unique opportunity for Camp Partners to raise money to offset our 2020 camp costs. 80% of the money raised by our team goes directly back to our camp program, and the other 20% helps CTL support you! Last year, Camp Partners raised over $48,000!
To sign-on as our team captain, please email our Match and Development Coordinator at nadia@heroforchildren.org or call (470) 321-3102 EXT. 248.

The Super HEROes Mentoring Program  is a community-based, one-on-one mentoring program serving children infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS. The program provides these children with the opportunity to have a positive role model through a mentor and to strengthen their life skills, self-esteem, communication skills, goal-setting and academic performance.

Why HERO children need mentors? 

Approximately 33% of HERO children are HIV positive and the other 67% are affected (i.e. someone who has an infected parent, sibling, residential relative, or has lost a relative to HIV/AIDS-related complications). Twenty-five percent (25%) of HERO children have lost a parent as a result of HIV/AIDS-related complications, and almost 90% of HERO children come from low-income families (household incomes are $20,000/year or less).

Many of our children struggle with day-to-day challenges including low self-esteem, social difficulties, academic underachievement, self-destructive behavior, etc. You can help change this!

Responsibilities of a Super HERO Mentor:
  • Spend one-on-one quality time with a child at least twice a month, a minimum of two hours each time.
  • Participate with the child in a bi-monthly group activity organized and sponsored by H.E.R.O. for Children.
  • Be a positive role model for the child.
  • Contribute to strengthening the child's self-esteem, social adjustment and life skills.
Eligibility Requirements:
  • Be at least 22 years of age.
  • Be willing and available to comply with H.E.R.O. for Children's policies and procedures.*
  • Have dependable automobile transportation, maintain a valid driver's license, verifiable automobile insurance and abide by Georgia vehicle codes (i.e. seat belts, speed limits, etc.).
  • Have a suitable home environment.
  • Pass background checks, including motor vehicle record, sex offender registry, national criminal background screening and social security verification, prior to serving.
*  Training and continuing education provided.

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019 | 12 PM - 3 PM | Norcross, GA

Saturday, August 10th, 2019 | Atlanta, GA

Friday, October 25th, 2019 - Sunday, October 27th, 2019 | Winder, GA

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