MAY, 2019

As a component of an ongoing fundraising event benefitting H.E.R.O., Action Cycling Atlanta sponsored a field day event for its donors and beneficiary organization on Saturday, April 6th. H.E.R.O. staff, members of UGA HEROs, a Super HERO mentor and ten (10) of our children were in attendance. H.E.R.O.'s Super HEROs staff was provided with a table to promote H.E.R.O. and recruit new mentors. The day began with introductions, during which H.E.R.O.'s Executive Director, Donna Drakes, was able to express our gratitude for being this year's sole Action Cycling Atlanta beneficiary, as well as solicit mentors for children currently on our wait list. Next, H.E.R.O. children announced the day's themes, which included "raise a lot of money" and "have a good time." They then carried the US flag onto the field and led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance, which initiated the day's festivities. Participants separated into teams and competed against each other in a variety of field games, including sack and egg-on-spoon relay races, a water balloon toss, a tug of war, hula hoop, wheel barrow and a marshmallow chicks peeps-eating contests. H.E.R.O. children, our Super HERO mentor and UGA HEROs members comprised the orange, pink and yellow teams, and had a blast participating in the above contests. Our children were awarded a trophy for their accomplishments at the end of the day. In all, this was a wonderful afternoon of fun and fundraising. The UGA HEROs team did a fantastic job of volunteering- helping with everything from setting up, to managing activities to clearing the field afterwards. A special thanks to Joshua Campbell and the Action Cycling Atlanta members for hosting such an amazing event! We look forward to the total fundraising reveal this summer.
H.E.R.O. would like to spotlight the speech given by our Assistant Camp Director, Ms. Tylah Hankerson, at our recent 16th Anniversary Fundraiser:
Camp is a lifelong experience. Good evening, my name is Tylah Hankerson and I am the assistant director of Camp High Five. I am not just the assistant director but a former camper, counselor in training, and counselor. Camp is in my blood and has become a lifelong commitment. As camp has grown, so have I. And I have been fortunate enough to have held multiple roles within Camp High Five.
I was born in Boston and moved to Georgia when I was 12. Upon moving, I was told about Camp High Five by a phenomenal woman, Mrs. Doris Pearson, my social worker at the time. I was no stranger to camp but I still remember the nervousness and butterflies I felt in my stomach right before camp. Those butterflies soon dissipated as walked off the camp bus. I was met with smiling faces and warm embraces. It was at that moment I knew I had found a home away from home, a place where I could finally be myself without the fear of stigma. I could just be a carefree kid. I was able to do things I thought I would never do and was encouraged to go out of my comfort zone and try new things. I remember shaking as I stood well above ground as I participated in the ropes course. I was terrified but the feeling of gliding down the zip line made it all well worth it. From swimming to rock climbing to boating, I did it all. I conquered my fears and had the experience of a lifetime year after year after year.
Camp has had a huge impact on my life. Camp gave me confidence and chipped away the layers of a very shy and timid girl. I went from a shy and timid girl to a confident and intelligent teen during my years at camp. Soon the time came where I was too old for camp. It was sad but I knew that I would be coming back as a counselor in training. I wanted to give back and help the campers. I wanted to help campers in the same way my counselors had helped me. Counselors are a vital part of the camp experience and I wanted to be there for the campers behind me.
When I graduated high school, I went on to college at Georgia State University where I majored in biology and minored in chemistry. During my time at GSU, I received the Bright Hero scholarship. The Bright Hero scholarship is awarded to those who are a part of the HERO for Children community. I was very honored that I was selected to receive the scholarship. The scholarship helped me tremendously and it continues to help those who are pursuing an education. After graduating, I took a couple of years off to find what it was I truly wanted to do in the world. I knew I wanted to help and educate people but had not found a career path yet. I decided to go back to GSU to obtain my Master of Public Health. With my masters, I hope to educate people, change mindsets, and prevent the spread of diseases. I hope to help those who are less fortunate and change not only mindsets but systems that have been in place that keep people in the same position year after year.
I feel that my position at camp helps me do that. It is easier to have an impact on a child than change an adult. By reaching children early and giving them the tools to succeed, we can set them up to have a bright future. I want camp to impact the children now the same way camp has impacted me. I see a lot of myself in some of the campers. Being a part of camp for so long, I have seen some campers change. I have seen them go from timid and quiet to the stars of the talent show. It is really quite a wonderful feeling to see them accomplish so much over the years. Sometimes, they change within a week. I have seen campers go from failing a swim test on the first day to passing their swim test later in the week which is quite an accomplishment. For many of these campers, camp is the only time they can be themselves. Camp is their safe haven. It is their home away from home. As it was for me, it is a place without stigma. They do not have to hide who they are or what they have been through. Everyone at camp is the same and has a similar story. They reunite with old friends who truly understand and get to see their favorite counselors. They get to swim, bike, fly high in the sky on the big swing, rock climb, paint, boat, and so much more. They get to laugh, joke, talk, and sometimes cry. They get to be kids. The memories one makes at camp last a lifetime, they never leave you but help shape you into the person you are years from the day you walked into camp. As camp grows, you grow as well. You take the memories, the lessons, and the friendships with you from childhood to teenage years and finally to adulthood. Those memories shape you as an adult and I hope that once a camper ages up, that they will come back and share their wisdom with the campers who are entering camp.
My hope for Camp High Five is that we continue to expand and reach kids from all over the United States, not just Georgia or the southeast. With STI and HIV rates not changing much, there is still a huge need for camps like Camp High Five. There are still plenty children who can benefit from this wonderful camp. I hope that we are able to grow. I would love to reach hundreds of children and change hundreds of lives. I would love for Camp High Five to go from occupying half a campsite to a whole campsite. My wish is that a camper will see me as assistant director and follow my footsteps. The beauty of Camp High Five is that one is able to grow within the organization. We want campers to apply for leadership positions. Who better to run a camp than a person who has seen and experienced all sides of it? My final wish is that Camp High Five continues to be a safe haven for children for years to come. I see all that and more happening for Camp High Five. Remember, camp is a lifelong experience and I want Camp High Five to last a lifetime. Thank you!

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 or call (470) 321-3102 EXT. 248.
It's that time again! HERO has opened enrollment for our 2019 Camp High Five Program!

Camp High Five offers children infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS a one-week summer camp program during which they participate in a variety of recreational activities and educational workshops. Activities include archery, boating, canoeing, swimming, fishing, biking, arts and crafts, music, and much, much more! Camp High Five will be held from Sunday, June 9th through Friday, June 14th, 2019 at Camp Twin Lakes-Will-A-Way site in Winder, Georgia. Counselors must report to the camp site on Saturday, June 8th, 2019. Child and volunteer admission criteria and applications are currently available on our website.


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 $15,000/year or less).

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.).
  • Must 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, May 18th, 2019 | 10 AM - 2 PM
Live Forward (Formerly AID Athens)

Saturday, May 18th, 2019 |  Stone Mountain, GA

Friday, May 31st, 2019 |  Atlanta, GA

Sunday, June 9th, 2019 - Friday, June 14th, 2019
Camp Twin Lakes - Winder, GA
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