Client Success Story – Donald Gates

November 27th, 2017 by

Donald Gates struggled to find a job because of his criminal background. As a husband and father, the weight of providing for his family grew heavier by the day. When he heard that the Chatham Apprentice Program was offering their E3 (Education, Empower, Employ) class coupled with a forklift safety certification, he jumped at the chance to participate. Donald thought a certification would make him more appealing to employers, so he filled out an application and attended the first class of 2016.

At CAP, Donald learned new skills such as resume writing and interview techniques. He found the record restriction portion of the class, provided by Georgia Legal Services Program, to be especially beneficial. Now he better understands his criminal record and can confidently explain his past to potential employers.

“And confidence,” says Donald, “is the best thing I gained from the program. Honestly, before CAP I struggled to present myself as a responsible and respectable person. Now I feel proud of who I am.”

After graduation, Donald secured a job at a local warehouse at $10.00 an hour. However, he felt he could do more. So he started his own business, Gates Lawn Care. It wasn’t long before he could focus on his business full-time and Donald credits this success to CAP.

“With the help of CAP, I became aware of how a potential employer sees me. I learned how to answer questions and approach people with confidence.  Now I use those skills when I’m handing out my business cards or flyers. I can knock on a door and sell myself.”

Today, Donald proudly says, “I feel like I’m setting a good example for my kids. Now they see that I’m able to make my own way and that I will turn around and give others the opportunities that I didn’t have.”

And when he is ready to hire more employees, he knows the first place he will look – the Chatham Apprentice Program.

Learn more about the Chatham Apprentice Program at www.capsavannah.org.

 

 

Client Story – Keya Jest

November 17th, 2017 by

“Forget it, this is never going to work, I’m a convicted felon and nobody wants me!” 

This feeling of hopelessness haunted Keya Jest for years.  Substance abuse and addiction resulted in an extensive criminal background.  For many, this would have been the end of the road, but Keya overcame her addiction, and she looked forward to a new beginning. Regardless of being substance-free for two years, Keya’s criminal background was a barrier to finding a good paying job. Keya’s outgoing and sunny disposition helped get her many job offers, but once the employer completed a background check the offers were rescinded.

In 2016, she learned about Step Up’s Chatham Apprentice Program (CAP). At the time, she was working two part-time, low-paying hospitality jobs and barely making ends meet while pursuing a degree in business management at Savannah Tech. Despite her busy life, she made the time to attend the CAP classes, and now says it was one of the best decisions that she ever made.

CAP’s curriculum includes soft skill training, mock interviews, financial education, and legal assistance.  The mock interviews introduced Keya to the details that make a big difference when meeting a potential employer, such as poise and professionalism.

“During class, I was tired of doing all the interviews but once I walked into a real job interview, I was so thankful for the practice,” says Keya. “I carried myself with confidence.”

Keya also learned vital financial skills such as building credit, saving for the future, and choosing a bank account from the financial education provided by Consumer Credit Counseling Services. Keya started to dream again, envisioning a wedding and owning a home. But for Keya, meeting Nancy DeVetter of the Georgia Legal Services Program in CAP was a game changer. Nancy worked with Keya to identify eligible records on her background check that could be restricted from public view and explained how Keya could communicate these records with potential employers.

When Keya next applied for a higher wage job it was a different story. Keya explained her history to the employer and provided a character reference from CAP staff.  The employer decided to act outside of their regular course of action and brought Keya onboard.

Keya’s new normal includes being substance-free for three years, a good paying job with benefits that she loves, and being able to take care of her rescue dogs.  Step Up introduced Keya to a pathway to prosperity and she has never looked back.

On October 12, Keya hosted Step Up Savannah’s 12th Annual Meeting. She was spectacular! We are so proud to have her as both a CAP graduate and friend.

Do you want to see more people find their pathways to prosperity? Step Up needs your help to continue this important work. Please take a moment to donate today. 

 

 

Step Up is Looking for an Intern

July 28th, 2017 by

Position: Fundraising and Communications Intern

Description: Step Up Savannah seeks a dynamic, self-starter to assist with fundraising and communications efforts. This internship is an excellent opportunity to experience various aspects of marketing while working for well-known community based nonprofit organization.

Responsibilities:

  • Assist with Step Up’s social media presence, including scheduling updates
  • Draft, distribute and pitch news releases, media alerts, and other stories
  • Collaborating with staff on new ideas, directions, and venues for marketing and communications
  • Updating Step Up’s Working Families Network directory
  • Interview social service agencies that participate in Step Up’s Working Families Network
  • Interview past graduates of the Neighborhood Leadership Academy
  • Write client stories for marketing efforts
  • Supporting creation and dissemination of Step Up’s annual appeal
  • Maintaining donor and grant databases and files, including calendaring deadlines, logging donations, generating and sending donor acknowledgments, logging donor appreciation efforts
  • Assisting staff with grant application writing and tracking
  • Supporting staff with logistics associated with special events, including assisting with creation of invitation list, all logistics, soliciting sponsors, communicating with venue and vendors

Qualifications:

  • Firm grasp of available tools and platforms in the social media space
  • Completed or working toward a college degree, preferably in a related field (e.g., English, Marketing/Communications, Public Administration, or Public Relations)
  • Previous internship or related experience in marketing or communications is a plus
  • Must be computer literate (working knowledge of word processing, PowerPoint, Excel).
  • Proficiency in Adobe InDesign and Photoshop a plus
  • An effective communicator, both written and oral
  • Ability to communicate in a professional manner with press and community contacts
  • Self-motivated, good organizational skills, detail-oriented, ability to prioritize, multi-task and meet deadlines
  • Possess an interest in a nonprofit career ‐ particularly development and fundraising
  • Enthusiasm for the mission of Step Up Savannah

Start Date: Position open until filled, requires 3 – 6 month commitment. Hours: 8 – 12 hours/week, preferably twice a week in the office. Up to 4 hours can be completed at home.

Compensation:  This is an unpaid position.  There is opportunity for school credit if allowed by the college/university of applicant.  Position offers an excellent opportunity to work on substantive projects and can result in a great reference.

To apply: E‐mail cover letter, resume, and writing sample to Director of Development & Communications – Kate Blair kblair@stepupsavannah.org with a Re: line of “Application for Development Intern”

Step Up Savannah is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, age, national

Step Up Savannah, Inc. engages all sectors of the community to improve the economic mobility and financial stability of families in Savannah, Chatham County. To learn more, visit the website www.stepupsavannah.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @stepupsavannah

Step Up Is Hiring!

July 27th, 2017 by

Chatham Apprentice Program Coordinator

Location: Step Up Savannah, 428 Bull Street Savannah, GA 31401

Posting Start Date: 07/27/2017

Posting End Date: 08/02/2017

Salary: $16.34-$26.97

Job Summary: Under direction of the Program Manager, the Coordinator is responsible for recruitment of participants from the high poverty census tracts with special attention to low income, under employed, unemployed and high-risk populations. Maintains full and accurate records and reports on participants, training sessions and distributes as required and directed. Enters data/ participant records into the database system, reviews and analyzes reports. Interfaces and builds business relationships for participants as directed. Provides follow-up tracking on all participants at regularly defined intervals. Participates in program planning/ assessment/ progress meetings with Manager, training team members and others as requested. Interfaces with Savannah Technical College, local community centers and partners, etc. for CAP participants. Provides some administrative duties and supportive tasks as needed for a participant to successfully complete CAP, including special events as they occur. Performs other work as requested by Program Manager.

Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in human resources, management, business administration or related field, supplemented by at least three (3) to five (5) years’ experience in working and proving record of placement with “high-risk adults.” Case management and coaching concept is a plus. Possess good communication skills and must have excellent computer skills: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. Must be able to perform in stressful situations and exercise good judgment. Must be able to enter the local detention center for recruitment.

Step Up is Hiring!

February 24th, 2017 by

PT Graphic Design and Grant Coordination Associate

Step Up Savannah seeks a self-motivated individual with graphic design and project management skills to assist in achieving program goals and communicate impact.

The ideal candidate has experience in the production of print advertising, websites, web banners, and landing pages as well as posters, banners, and signage. This is an 8-16 hour/week position; days flexible.

Responsibilities will include meeting with program leads to determine the scope of a project, develop graphics and creating designs to accurately portray the desired message, presenting to the department, and working with vendors. We are looking for an individual with strong conceptual skills and the ability to look at projects from various perspectives to design innovating approaches and solutions.

In addition, this position will assist with grant reporting and project assessment through tracking expenses and progress toward grant goals as well as assisting Step Up staff in preparing grant reports.

Skills Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design or related field or 2+ years of relevant experience
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Microsoft Office with exceptional Microsoft PowerPoint skills
  • WordPress
  • Experience with branding
  • Ability to see project through from beginning to end with minimal supervision
  • Strong attention to detail

To apply, send a resume and cover letter to Carole Fireall at cfireall@stepupsavannah.org.

We Need to Protect Consumers from Prepaid Card Fraud, Fees

February 14th, 2017 by

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 Contact:  Kate Blair
February 14, 2017                                                                    kblair@stepupsavannah.org

U.S. Senators Perdue, Isakson Aim to Block Common-Sense Measures to Protect Consumers from Prepaid Card Fraud, Fees

Bill introduced would repeal consumer protection rules through fast-track law, impacting more 440,000 Georgia households

Savannah, Ga. – February 13, 2017 – Today, Step Up Savannah called on Georgia’s U.S. Senators David Perdue and Johnny Isakson to side with Georgians by refusing to use an obscure law to block the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) prepaid card rule. The move—made public through a resolution filed in the U.S. Senate last week—would block basic visa-prepaid-1600x900protections against fraud, unauthorized charges and errors from being extend to all prepaid card users.

Just as concerning, the legislative tool Senators Perdue and Isakson have chosen for this effort, the Congressional Review Act (CRA), is arcane law that gives Congress a window to fast-track the repeal of regulations from being implemented without the threat of a filibuster. Once an approved CRA resolution is signed by the President, the targeted rule is blocked and the agency can never propose another substantially similar rule without prior approval from Congress.

By attempting to permanently shelter prepaid cards from the same consumer protections that apply to debit cards, Senators Perdue and Isakson would allow prepaid card provider NetSpend—whose parent company is based in Georgia—to continue taking $80 million annually from consumers in overdraft fees. NetSpend is the only major provider to charge overdraft fees on prepaid cards, which the company primarily sells at payday loan and check-cashing stores and through payroll cards used by employers of low-wage workers.

Step_Up_JenSingeisen_03

Jen Singeisen, Executive Director of Step Up Savannah

“It is alarming that in our own home state, our Senators would want to block common-sense consumer protections, such as
basic fraud protection and fee transparency, from applying to all prepaid card users, including the hundreds of thousands of Georgia households that use these products each year,” said Jennifer Singeisen, Executive Director of Step Up Savannah. “We call on Senators Perdue and Isakson to side with these Georgians, as well as countless others across the country, and not with companies like NetSpend who use overdraft fees to strip hard-earned dollars from the pockets of our most vulnerable consumers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s important work, including the return of nearly $12 billion to 29 million consumers, has been incredibly important to residents of Chatham County, Georgia and to our nation.”

For consumers locked out of the financial mainstream and for those seeking to avoid costly overdraft fees, prepaid cards represent an opportunity for families to have safe, affordable access to their hard-earned money. In Georgia alone, more than 440,000 underbanked households used prepaid cards in 2015, according to the FDIC. Assessing unscrupulous fees on these products diminishes the power of prepaid cards to help consumers get ahead, rather than falling farther behind.

NetSpend’s payday-lender-sold prepaid cards have unusual features that allow payday lenders to repay themselves by extracting money from the card, thus triggering overdraft fees for consumers who are largely unaware of how much money is being extracted and when. NetSpend’s cards offer an opt-in overdraft “protection” that allows the card to be used when it is empty, with the overdraft and a $15 to $25 fee taken out of the next deposit to the card.

A CFPB survey found that 98% of prepaid cards do not have overdraft fees. This includes the nation’s largest prepaid card company, Green Dot, which does not charge overdraft fees and supports the CFPB prepaid rule.

The CFPB rule currently under attack in the U.S. Senate was issued last fall and is scheduled to go into effect on October 1. It extends strong protections to prepaid card users, including some of the same basic fraud and fee protections that debit card users already enjoy. In addition, the rule includes new disclosure standards that would help consumers better understand key information about prepaid cards in order to comparison shop and make informed decisions. While the rule does not prohibit overdraft fees, it does require hybrid prepaid-credit cards that can overdraft to comply with established consumer protections for credit cards, including consideration of a consumer’s ability to make payments on credit extended to them.

 

Georgia Work Credit can help working families step up

January 27th, 2017 by

By Jen Singeisen

Too many in our community struggle to step up into the middle class, even as they strive to do all the right things to work their way up the economic ladder. More than a quarter of Savannah’s residents live in poverty. Many neighborhoods have seen jobs vanish and incomes fall over the past three decades. When hardworking people can’t get ahead, it weighs down the economy as a whole and undermines our community’s ability to thrive. At Step Up Savannah, we engage all sectors of the community to improve the economic mobility and financial stability of families. Helping people step up benefits us all; studies show a strong link between broad-based opportunity and economic growth. Low economic mobility and financial stability are community-wide issues that diminish our overall economic potential.

While there is no silver bullet for the complex challenges facing families today, but state leaders do have some proven tools at their disposal. This legislative session, our state lawmakers can enact a time-tested policy with strong bipartisan support to give an economic boost to working families.

Today is EITC Awareness Day, a chance to recognize the enormous impact the national Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has on our community. Created in 1975, the EITC is a federal policy that cuts taxes for low-wage workers like cashiers and nurses, providing a wage boost for families moving toward the middle class. In 2017, about 32,000 Chatham County families will claim the national EITC, bringing in nearly $100 million to our economy.

Georgia can build on this success by enacting a Georgia Work Credit, a state version of the EITC. To be eligible for the credit, Social-Media-Templates-EITC-Day (1)_Page_3recipients must work; making this a great incentive to keep folks in the workforce.  Many are seeing this as a viable alternative to raising the minimum wage. A Georgia Work Credit would provide a tax break up to help working families make ends meet. Evidence from the EITC and other states shows that a Georgia Work Credit would help families in Chatham County work their way to the middle class by making key investments, saving for a rainy day and making sure bills get paid. A Georgia Work Credit would also help children as research has shown that the EITC is linked to healthier babies, better school performance and higher earnings later in life. More than helping individual families, the Georgia Work Credit would also pump over $8.7 million into our local businesses.

The General Assembly should take a page from our Chatham County Legislative Delegation and take a serious look at the potential of a Georgia Work Credit as a vehicle to provide a bottom-up tax cut to working families. A Georgia Work Credit would help build the middle class, impart lifelong benefits for children and provide a pivotal step up the economic ladder for thousands of families in our community.

Staff Recommended Holiday Shopping List

December 20th, 2016 by

Have you started your holiday shopping yet? The staff at Step Up wanted to help you  with this really great list of books that have helped to shape the way we do our work. Each staff member submitted one or two of their favorite books that helped to shape the way they do their work. To make it even easier, I added some hyperlinks and pictures. All you have to do is click!

Why not buy a copy for yourself and start a book club as one of your new year’s resolutions. There is no better time than the present to expand your mind and positively impact your community.

Kate Blair, Director of Development & Communication

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as “brave and bold,” this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.” By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a “call to action.”

Talisha Crooks, Chatham Apprentice Program Coordinator

The Working Poor

As David K. Shipler makes clear in this powerful, humane study, the invisible poor are engaged in the activity most respected in American ideology—hard, honest work. But their version of the American Dream is a nightmare: low-paying, dead-end jobs; the profound failure of government to improve upon decaying housing, health care, and education; the failure of families to break the patterns of child abuse and substance abuse. Shipler exposes the interlocking problems by taking us into the sorrowful, infuriating, courageous lives of the poor—white and black, Asian and Latino, citizens and immigrants. We encounter them every day, for they do jobs essential to the American economy.

Rebecca Elias, AmeriCorps VISTA

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Matthew Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced  into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship.

Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.

Isaac Felton, Chatham Apprentice Program Manager

How the Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class

John Hope Bryant, successful self-made businessman and founder of the nonprofit Operation HOPE, says business and political leaders are ignoring the one force that could truly re-energize the stalled American economy: the poor. If we give poor communities the right tools, policies, and inspiration, he argues, they will be able to lift themselves up into the middle class and become a new generation of customers and entrepreneurs.

Bryant radically redefines the meaning of poverty and wealth. (It’s not just a question of finances; it’s values too.) He exposes why attempts to aid the poor so far have fallen short and offers a way forward: the HOPE Plan, a series of straightforward, actionable steps to build financial literacy and expand opportunity so that the poor can join the middle class.

Carole Fireall, Office Administrator & NLA Coordinator

The Essence of Leadership

The Essence of Leadership is book three in this image driven, inspirational, motivational series. In Mac’s first two books, the focus was on what it takes to obtain true success in life and how to achieve the right kind of attitude. Both previous books used inspirational stories and described the importance of how to achieve personal progress through character traits and godly living-all of this reinforced by the power of inspiring and striking imagery. In The Essence of Leadership, Mac takes a similar approach to direct readers to achieve personal success through integrity, ethics, loyalty, persistence, faith matters, and many more character traits that form the leader within a person.

Nate Saraceno, Graphic Designer

Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

Here is the kaleidoscopic story of the quintessential, but mostly ignored, American murder—a “ghettoside” killing, one young black man slaying another—and a brilliant and driven cadre of detectives whose creed is to pursue justice for forgotten victims at all costs. Ghettoside is a fast-paced narrative of a devastating crime, an intimate portrait of detectives and a community bonded in tragedy, and a surprising new lens into the great subject of why murder happens in our cities—and how the epidemic of killings might yet be stopped.

Jen Singeisen, Executive Director

Teaching With Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do About It

In Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do About It, veteran educator and brain expert Eric Jensen takes an unflinching look at how poverty hurts children, families, and communities across the United States and demonstrates how schools can improve the academic achievement and life readiness of economically disadvantaged students.

Jensen argues that although chronic exposure to poverty can result in detrimental changes to the brain, the brain’s very ability to adapt from experience means that poor children can also experience emotional, social, and academic success. A brain that is susceptible to adverse environmental effects is equally susceptible to the positive effects of rich, balanced learning environments and caring relationships that build students’ resilience, self-esteem, and character.

Robyn Wainner, Director of Wealth Building

Scarcity: The New Science of Having Less and How It Defines Our Lives 

In this provocative book based on cutting-edge research, Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir show that scarcity creates a distinct psychology for everyone struggling to manage with less than they need. Busy people fail to manage their time efficiently for the same reasons the poor and those maxed out on credit cards fail to manage their money.

Once we start thinking in terms of scarcity, the problems of modern life come into sharper focus, and Scarcity reveals not only how it leads us astray but also how individuals and organizations can better manage scarcity for greater satisfaction and success.

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Nudge is about choices—how we make them and how we can make better ones. Drawing on decades of research in the fields of behavioral science and economics, authors Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein offer a new perspective on preventing the countless mistakes we make—ill-advised personal investments, consumption of unhealthy foods, neglect of our natural resources—and show us how sensible “choice architecture” can successfully nudge people toward the best decisions. In the tradition of The Tipping Point and Freakonomics, Nudge is straightforward, informative, and entertaining—a must-read for anyone interested in our individual and collective well-being.

My Journey to AmeriCorps

August 30th, 2016 by

By: Rebecca Elias, Americorp VISTA for Step Up Savannah

South Bronx. Mott Haven. 1990s. At the time, this area was considered one of the worst places to live in NYC. At the time, I did not know that. Sometimes when I think about my childhood, I only have good memories; running through fire hydrants, babybeckyplaying tag, or jumping rope with my sister and our friends. Now I think of the hot metal slides, the scars on my knees from playing on gravel and asphalt and stern warning from my mom to not let other kids play with my toys. There’s danger, but I only have an abstract concept of it. This is my home and I love it here.

Growing up, I didn’t consider myself different from any of the other kids in my neighborhood. We all went to the same parks and the same school (and we all hated school.) School made me feel stupid. I didn’t understand things as quickly as the other students so I spent most of my time socializing, but it seemed like my older sister was made for school. The better she did, the worse I felt and by the time I graduated high school, I was completely done with school.

I wasn’t the only one. Going to college was an anomaly in my neighborhood. I moved in with a friend and started working full-time at a clothing store. My sister came home during vacation grownbeckyand immediately put a stop to my lifestyle. She decided that I was going to college. I was conflicted. I wasn’t exactly happy folding clothes all day, but I definitely did not get along with school. My sister shrugged and simply said, “You’re smart. You just learn differently than other people.”

She was right. I made it through community college then transferred to Buffalo State College. Buffalo State changed me. I saw that where I grew up has a major impact on how I did in school and the things I did not have access to. The schools I went to were too overcrowded for teachers to adjust their teaching methods for each and every student. I didn’t have access to tutors or after school activities. My sister only had access to certain programs because she was introduced to them via her best friend (and she grew up in a “better” neighborhood).

I realized I could use how I grew up to positively help families like mine to reach their full potentials while also reaching mine. After graduating college, I felt compelled to show anyone living in the same environment that I grew up in that it is possible to break the cycle of poverty. I have a desire to help lower- income families and neighborhoods grow and improve. I am only one person and I cannot save the world, but I am confident that my commitment to community service will a make an impressionRebecca on at least one person in any community. This is why I decided to join AmeriCorps. I want to make changes in different low income neighborhoods throughout the country. I served one year as an AmeriCorps member in Fresno, California and even small changes like a homework help center or family movie night made a difference in that community. Now I’m using my skills to help create opportunity in Savannah. I know from experience that all it takes is a small change to make a big impact in someone’s life and that’s what AmeriCorps VISTA allows me to do every day.

When my sister and I talk about our childhood now, we still mention the games and the fire hydrants but there’s a small hint of regret. Our mom did the best she could under the circumstances but sometimes we wish we were able to take dance classes or learn an instrument. The parks are better now; gravel and metal are replaced with soft padding and colorful plastic and the graffiti is mostly gone but the opportunities are still not there. One day (if someone doesn’t beat me to it) with all the experience and knowledge I gained from AmeriCorps, I’m going to go back and help enrich my childhood community.

 

NLA Post 2

June 29th, 2016 by

This is the second in a five-part series introducing Neighborhood Leadership Academy (NLA) graduates who have been awarded mini-grants to assist with their work in our community. 

2016 NLA Grant Recipient – Betty Jones

About Betty Jones

President of the Feiler Park Neighborhood Association, board member of Step Up Savannah, Associate Minister at Lifeway MBBetty Jones
Church, and coordinator of the Lifeway afterschool tutorial program, Betty Jones has been dedicated to service all her life.  She also worked in the Savannah-Chatham Public school system as a special education teacher and counselor for many years.

After completing the Neighborhood Leadership Academy (Class 4), Ms. Jones has become even more involved in her community. She is also involved in PACES, an organization which advocates for affordable housing. Through the NLA, Ms. Jones worked with two other classmates, Tithia Young and Tabatha Crawford-Roberts to start a Community 411 resource center.  They work to help people in the community get connected with resources that they may need.  Ms. Jones said that people don’t always know what resources are available to them; she hopes they will “pay it forward” and work to get the needs of others met too.

Of the training program, she said, “I have been able to become a better disciplined and organized person in my personal life and in the organizations I am a member of.”

What is Feiler Park Neighborhood Association?

The Feiler Park Neighborhood Association, Inc. mission is to work together with officials of the City of Savannah and Chatham County to upgrade and maintain services in the Feiler Park Community that will provide the residents with the quality residential life experience they deserve in their neighborhood.

How will the mini-grant help?

The Feiler Park Neighborhood Association Inc. seeks to provide a place in their community where residents of all ages can express themselves through gardening. A community garden will be open to individuals, families, and organizations in the to plant and harvest fresh nutritious foods. Gardeners will share the harvest with each other so that everyone will benefit.

The Feiler Park Neighborhood Association identified the need for better diet and nutrition for Feiler Park residents. The board feels that gardening would help in various ways, including providing the community with the skills necessary to improve the overall well-being of their families.

Are you interested in participating in Step Up’s Neighborhood Leadership Academy? Applications are currently being accepted, visit www.nlasavannah.org.