Corduroy: Beloved Bear Rocks Early Literacy Program For Families

Corduroy: Beloved Bear Rocks Early Literacy Program For Families

Corduroy, the lovable bear from a series of popular children’s books, will visit the Cumming Library at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 2 for Leap into Literacy: Corduroy ROCKS!, a program designed to help parents and caregivers prepare their preschoolers for success in kindergarten.

Admission to the event is free and will include a light breakfast, Corduroy-themed stories and songs in English and Spanish, a puppet show designed just for preschoolers, and crafts that children of all ages can make.

“Throughout the event, we’ll demonstrate five simple techniques to help young children develop early literacy and language skills. We hope parents and caregivers will see how simple it is to incorporate these ideas into their everyday routines at home,” explains Programming Manager Tracy Walker.

Children and families who stay to meet Corduroy at the end of the event will also get a tour of the children’s section, including bilingual and language learning books and CD read-alongs, as well as computers and tablets with early literacy apps and games.

“Our goal with Leap into Literacy is to help families understand the importance of encouraging early literacy skills starting in infancy. It’s never too early to start reading to and talking with your child and these simple things do so much to support their growing language skills,” explains Programming Manager Tracy Walker.

Leap into Literacy is presented by Forsyth County Public Library, Forsyth County Schools, Georgia Highlands Medical Services, and Literacy Forsyth. Corduroy ROCKS! is the third event to be held in the county since the program began in December 2017 at Georgia Highlands Medical Plaza.

For more information about Leap into Literacy or other similar programs, please visit

Local Music Store Named to Top 100

Music Authority in Cumming, Georgia Named One of the Top 100 Music Stores in the World

Music Authority in Cumming has been named a Top 100 Dealer by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), the global association of music products and music retailers. The award honors retail music dealers who demonstrate exceptional commitment to their stores, neighborhoods and customers, and share in a vision to create a more musical world through their local communities. The award will be presented at the industry’s annual mid-year gathering, Summer NAMM, on Friday, June 29 in Nashville, Tennessee.

This is our fourth year being named to the Top 100, says Music Authority owner Melissa Loggins. It’s an honor to be a part of such an outstanding group of music stores. This award is a testament to consistent performance, drive to continue to provide better service to our community, and a reflection on the hundreds of families who are part of The Music Authority Family.

Dubbed the ‘retail Oscars’ by Music Inc. magazine, NAMM’s Top 100 Dealer Awards spotlight the industry’s very best music product retailers. To determine the list, an independent panel of judges reviewed hundreds of submissions that are rated across categories that include customer service, music advocacy, store design, and promotions and are scored in accordance to determine the Top 100 list.

In addition to its honor as a Top 100 Dealer, Music Authority will be in consideration to receive a “Best Of” award in one of seven categories: Customer Service, Emerging Dealer/Rookie of the Year, Store Design, Marketing and Sales Promotion, Online Engagement, Store Turnaround, and one recipient will be honored with the Music Makes a Difference award. The coveted Dealer of the Year award will go to one of the recipients in the aforementioned categories.

To learn more about Music Authority, please visit:, check out Music Authority on social media, or visit Music Authority at 123 Merchants Square, Cumming, Georgia.

To learn more about NAMM and the Top 100 Dealer Awards, please visit:

About NAMM
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music. NAMM’s activities and programs are designed to promote music making to people of all ages. NAMM is comprised of approximately10,300 Member companies located in more than 104 countries. For more information about NAMM or the proven benefits of making music, interested parties can visit, call 800-767-NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Piney Grove Middle School Students Give Back

G3, Day of Giving, Christmas Lights ETC

Piney Grove Middle School Students Pack Cookies for Troops, Make Jewelry for Africa, in “G3” Event at Christmas Lights, Etc

Piney Grove Middle School students boxed up over 6,000 cookies to ship to U.S. troops overseas at the annual Treat the Troops cookie pack held at the headquarters of Christmas Lights, Etc in conjunction with Piney Grove’s “Grizzly Great Day of Giving,” or G3. Students also prepared beads to be turned into jewelry and sold in support of Just One Africa.

Each year Alpharetta-based online retailer Christmas Lights, Etc opens up its 100,000-square-foot headquarters and distribution facility to students and parent volunteers participating in Piney Grove’s G3, an annual event in which students fan out into the community to perform acts of service.

Since 2013, this has involved Treat the Troops, a nonprofit dedicated to packing and shipping cookies, treats, cards and letters to U.S. troops stationed outside the country. The “Southern Style” (Georgia) chapter of Treat the Troops, headquartered in Cumming, Ga., is the third largest chapter in the United States.

This year for the first time the event also featured students cleaning and preparing beads made from recycled paper, purchased from Maasai women in Kenya, that will be made into jewelry and sold to raise funds for Just One Africa. Headquartered in Alpharetta, Just One Africa is a nonprofit devoted to providing care for orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya. It was co-founded by the parents of a former Piney Grove student.

“We’re so appreciative of Christmas Lights, Etc opening up their facilities to give our students the opportunity to get involved in the work of these wonderful organizations,” said Pam Pajerski, Principal of Piney Grove. “This is such an important lesson for our students to learn: that even one person can make a positive difference in the world, and many people working together can make a big difference.”

Christmas Lights, Etc plans to continue its support of Piney Grove’s Grizzly Great Day of Giving and encourages other local businesses to get involved both with G3 and with Treat the Troops and Just One Africa.

“These organizations do invaluable work in making the lives of people around the world better,” said Chris Miller, Co-Owner of Christmas Lights, Etc. “Whether it’s our troops protecting lives in faraway countries, or vulnerable children in Kenya, the needs are great. We are proud to join with Piney Grove Middle School in supporting the organizations that help meet those needs.”

About Treat The Troops

Treat The Troops ( is a non-profit organization dedicated to letting deployed American military personnel know that people at home are remembering them. Treat the Troops sends home-baked cookies and other comfort items, along with a note of thanks, to the troops via the U.S. Postal Service.

About Just One Africa

Just One Africa ( is a non-profit organization dedicated to caring for orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya by providing access to clean water and by partnering with local leaders to provide sustainable solutions which create hope through care, education, and community development.

About Christmas Lights, Etc

Christmas Lights, Etc ( is the most shopped online Christmas lights store in America. Founded in 2000, Christmas Lights, Etc features thousands of quality lights, trees, greenery and decor. Christmas Lights, Etc is a three-time INC. 5000 company, an ENERGY STAR partner, and a supplier of residential and commercial Christmas lighting, Christmas decor and Christmas trees.

Local Artist Teams With Stipe Studio To Present “Word Power”

Local Artist Teams With Stipe Studio To Present “Word Power”

Local acting studio, Stipe Studio, located in Vickery Village, has teamed up with Marlene Dickinson, a Georgia resident, performing artist and writer of “Word Power” to present this musical on stage for the first time. Forsyth residents and others will have the opportunity to see this show performed live this weekend at Vickery Village.

Friday, April 27 at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 28 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., Stipe Studio students will perform “Word Power” at the Phase Shop at Vickery Village. “Word Power” is a faith-based musical on the power of our words. This brand-new production packs a great message through song, dance and storytelling.

“I want to use art to get people to think about topics we should stop and reflect on. Using our words responsibly is an example of just being a kind human. Our words – both good and bad – can stick to people for years to come, so I thought a musical on this theme would impact children and adults in a good way – a way that we can consider what exactly we are leaving with people using our spoken words.” – Marlene Dickinson

Dickinson and Stipe Studio are presenting this show at a time when words are so easily thrown around – on social media, emails and spoken communication. Every day, people are impacted by the use of someone else’s words, whether it be negative or positive. It’s an important lesson for all to learn that words have the power to help or harm. With the “Word Power” musical, Stipe Studios is hoping to empower kids both in the show and all those in the audience to pay attention to the words coming out of their “mouths.”

The upbeat 45-minute musical comedy will be performed at The Phase Shop, 5756 North South Vickery Street, Cumming, GA 30040, Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28. For tickets and more information, visit

Purchase your tickets by clicking here

Pinecrest Academy to Host Inaugural Celebrity Golf Scramble

Pinecrest Academy to Host Inaugural Celebrity Golf Scramble

Who: Pinecrest Academy, a private PreK3-12th grade Catholic School in Cumming, GA, presents a Celebrity Golf Scramble, featuring 30 celebrity golfers, an awards presentation, and full-course dinner.

What: The first annual Pinecrest Academy Golf Scramble will take place at the beautiful Hawks Ridge Golf Club in Ball Ground, Georgia. Pinecrest’s Varsity Football Coach and former Atlanta Falcon player, Terance Mathis, has invited 30 celebrity golfers to participate, and each will be paired with 30 teams of three players. Participating celebrities include: Willie Anderson Jr., Jessie Tuggle, III, Robert Butler, Jamie Dukes, Michael Haynes, Michael Jenkins, Ryan McNeil, Kordell Stewart, Takeo Spikes, Perry Kemp, Jonathan Babineaux, Gregory Lloyd Sr., Marquis Grissom, Martin Perez, John Rocker, John Keith, Terrance Jackson, Luis Gómez Sánchez, “D. J.” Shockley, Brian Jordan, Ruffin Hamilton, Tim Lewis, Jenna Parker, and Eddie Perez.

The cost to play in the Celebrity Golf Scramble is $500 for a single player, and $1,500 for a three-person team. Just three team spots remain. All are welcome to participate in this event.

After a shotgun start, players will enjoy stopping by hors d’oeuvres tents and competing for the Closest to the Pin, Longest Drive and Par 3 contests. If a player is skilled enough to hit a hole in one on the 16th hole, he or she will be driving a new car, courtesy of Billy Howell Ford Lincoln.

Event sponsors include:

Gold Sponsor: 1-800-HURT-911

Silver Sponsor: John Q. Vaughan, Attorney

YETI Tumbler Sponsor: The Piedmont Bank

Hole in One Sponsor: Billy Howell Ford Lincoln

Business Sponsors: Full Circle Restoration, Triple Double Basketball, XR Technical Consulting, O’Rourke Family and Cosmetic Dentistry

Hole Sponsors: Laurel Springs Animal Hospital, Brent Burke – Northwestern Mutual, RSM, US.

Family Sponsors: The Althardt Family, The Barbee Family, The Kieffer Family, The Mangan Family, The Tam Family

Restaurant Sponsors: La Cazuela Mexican Restaurant, Mellow Mushroom, ‘Cue

Limited restaurant sponsorships are available. Interested businesses may contact Marlene Hendricks at for more details.


When:            Monday, May 21, 2018

9am – Registration and Practice

11am – Shotgun Start; Tournament Begins

4pm – Awards Presentation and Dinner at the Clubhouse


Where: Hawks Ridge Golf Club and Clubhouse, 1100 Hawks Club Drive, Ball Ground, GA 30107

Why: All money raised through sponsorship of the Celebrity Golf Scramble will help Pinecrest Academy build a Field House to support the school’s Baseball, Football, Lacrosse and Soccer teams, and their visiting opponents. This initiative is part of Pinecrest’s Capital Campaign, which also includes a Lower School Building project and other much-needed enhancements to the 68-acre campus in South Forsyth County, GA.

How: For more information on the Pinecrest Academy Celebrity Golf Scramble, to register, or to sponsor, visit the Pinecrest web site. Select “Giving” from the top menu, and then “Golf Scramble.”

Limited Sponsorship Opportunities are available. To sponsor, click here or contact Marlene Hendricks at


Chicken Salad Chick To Expand Atlanta Footprint With New Cumming Location

Chicken Salad Chick To Expand Atlanta Footprint With New Cumming Location, Opening May 1

Fast-casual restaurant concept to serve up grand opening specials and giveaways

Chicken Salad Chick, the nation’s only southern inspired, fast-casual chicken salad restaurant concept, is bringing its famed, fresh product to satisfy the cravings of Atlanta foodies with its latest location set to open in Cumming this spring. The grand opening for the new restaurant, located at The Collection at Forsyth at 410 Peachtree Parkway, Suite 4154 will take place on Tuesday, May 1 with a ribbon cutting at 9:30 a.m. and official door-opening at 10:30 a.m.The new Cumming location represents the sixth Atlanta location and tenth overall for developers Origin Development Group, and it is poised to bring over a dozen specialty chicken salad flavors, fresh salads, sides, soups and full-service catering to hungry Forsyth county fans.

Every week until the grand opening, fans can enter to win a year of free chicken salad by liking the restaurant’s Facebook page ( In celebration of the grand opening, the Chicken Salad Chick tradition of southern hospitality continues through daily giveaways and specials at the new Chicken Salad Chick restaurant:

  • Tuesday, May 1Free Chicken Salad for a Year – The first 100 guests to the new Cumming location will win one large Quick Chick of chicken salad every month for an entire year (must be age 16 or older and have downloaded the Craving Credits app; minimum $10 purchase required).
  • Wednesday, May 2Free Scoop Day – The first 100 guests to order a Chick Special receive a free scoop of their choice on their next visit!
  • Thursday, May 3Free Chick PopSocket – The first 100 guests to spend over $15 will receive a limited edition Chicken Salad Chick PopSocket for their phone!
  • Friday, May 4Free Stainless Steel Tumbler – The first 100 guests to spend over $25 will receive a complimentary, limited edition Chicken Salad Chick stainless tumbler.
  • Saturday, May 5Free Chick Cooler – With the purchase of two Quick Chicks To-Go, the first 100 guests will receive a free Chick Cooler, ready to be stocked with ice for a delicious picnic.

The Chicken Salad Chick concept was established in 2008 in the kitchen of founder, Stacy Brown. When Stacy discovered that the local county health department would not allow her to continue making and selling her delicious recipes out of her home kitchen, she overcame that obstacle by launching her first restaurant with the business expertise of her future husband and fellow founder, Kevin Brown. Together, they opened a small takeout restaurant, which quickly grew. Under the baton of Scott Deviney, CEO of Chicken Salad Chick and with majority investment partner, Eagle Merchant Partners, the company now has 85 restaurants in nine states across the Southeast. This new location marks the 21st Chicken Salad Chick location in Georgia, and the tenth location for Origin Development Group, an Atlanta-based restaurant development fund founded by Darren DeVore and Lauren Fernandez.

For more information about menu offerings and to place advance online orders for pick up in store, please visit With the ease of online orders, guests can order in advance and skip the line! Guests who join the Craving Credits app may also receive loyalty points for every purchase at Chicken Salad Chick. For catering, large orders and location information, please visit or call 844-41-CHICK (844-412-4425). Follow Chicken Salad Chick on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news and special contests.

About Origin Development Group
Origin Development Group is a privately held fund focused on brand growth in the restaurant industry. As a multi-unit developer, Origin serves as a strategic growth partner for new and established fast-casual restaurant brands. Origin also grows emerging restaurants brands through capital investment, creating licensing and franchise programs, managing operations or retaining rights as a franchisee or master franchisee. See for additional information.

About Chicken Salad Chick
Chicken Salad Chick puts an edgy twist on a Southern classic, offering guests a “custom fit” chicken salad experience, with over a dozen original flavors to choose from, as well as gourmet soups, flavorful side salads and freshly-baked desserts. Chicken Salad Chick serves southern style chicken salad with heart and strives to spread joy, enrich lives and serve others every day. Today, the brand has more than 80 locations across the Southeast, and has currently sold more than 146 franchises to be developed across the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana and Texas. The brand was recently named as the top chicken salad in the country to try in the 2015 March/April issue of Cooking with Paula Deen, as well as one of’s top 2017 Movers and Shakers and one of NRN’s 2015 Breakout Brands. Chicken Salad Chick also ranked #37 on Inc.’s annual list of the 500 fastest-growing companies in the U.S. Corporate offices are located at 724 North Dean Road in Auburn, Alabama. See for additional information.

Award-Winning Happy Belly Kitchen Now Open in Cumming

Award-Winning Happy Belly Kitchen Now Open in Cumming


Happy Belly Kitchen is the latest business to open its doors at Vickery Village, a thriving 200,000 square foot mixed use development in Cumming, Georgia. Voted “One of the Top 10 Healthiest Food Trucks in America” and “Best Truck” at the 2012 Atlanta Street Food Festival, Happy Belly Curbside Kitchen has brought its wholesome, fresh food concept into its first brick and mortar location. “Vickery Village offered the quaintness, the charm and the community atmosphere we were looking for,” says owner Dawn Hall.

Happy Belly’s menu is comprised of all natural foods using fresh, organic and local ingredients whenever possible. They are the only restaurant and food truck in the world with a Big Green Egg inside their kitchens which helps produce extraordinary flavor while maintaining healthful preparation. All meals are cooked on Maple Hardwood Charcoal for a perfect smoke flavor.

Popular menu items include their Brussels for Muscles, crispy sprouts drizzled with Thai-citrus chili sauce, The Georgian, a Big Green Egg grilled short-rib brisket burger with Vidalia onion relish, cheddar cheese, ancho chili dressing on a Holeman & Finch white wheat bun and One for the Kipper Salad with fresh kale, blue cheese crumbles, candied pecans, granny smith apples, golden raisins, apple wood smoked bacon, apple cider vinaigrette topped with chilled house-kippered salmon. Kids 12 and under can choose from such dishes as Chicken Little, big green egg grilled chicken tenders or the Lil’ Georgian, a Big Green Egg grilled all-beef burger topped with cheddar cheese.

Dawn says “We believe in quality ingredients, healthful preparation and exceptional flavor. We try to provide healthy meals to busy families who don’t always have time to prepare a nutritious home-cooked meal every night.”

Happy Belly also strives to accommodate patrons with food allergies and special dietary requirements who have typically had a difficult time eating out. They offer gluten free and vegetarian options and the staff is trained to accommodate special requests from customers with food allergies. Their menu is 95% gluten-free.

“We also want our restaurant to be a place for families to gather over a good meal and spend time together,” says Dawn. The restaurant has created “Disconnect to Connect” baskets where diners can put their phones and use the time to talk. They even provide games, coloring books and family conversation books to encourage family time.

In addition to their seasonal eat-in menu, Happy Belly also has a grab-n-go market to accommodate families with busy schedules who still want to serve healthy meals. They offer different meal options to go each day of the week. Happy Belly also uses their Food Truck to cater events throughout greater Atlanta.

Dawn and her husband Terry started their food truck business, Happy Belly Curbside Kitchen, in 2012. Their goal was always to open a brick and mortar restaurant with the same convenient, healthy food concept. When Dawn’s husband Terry passed away from cancer in 2014, Dawn faced the challenge of caring for her two small children as well as running the food truck. It was important to Terry that Happy Belly continue forward and maintain its purpose. Dawn forged ahead to fulfill their dream of opening their brick and mortar restaurant.

“Happy Belly Kitchen fits perfectly into our vision for the Village. We are thrilled to welcome them to our community,” says Mark Murgash, owner of Vickery Village.  “We are excited to create a unique experience for people at Vickery Village – a place where they can live, work and play.”

Vickery Village was purchased by new ownership in July 2016. Since that time, the owners have invested in major capital improvements on the property and are approaching 100% occupancy. Tenants Cherry Street Brewing and the Dojo added additional space to accommodate their growing businesses and new tenants Nido Café, Pinspiration, The Phase Shop, State Farm, Re/Max Collection and The Happy Home have recently opened. Village Yoga and Hawks Music Academy are scheduled to open later this year.

For more information on Vickery Village, visit or

Lambert String Quintet Tunes Up For Grand Reopening At Sharon Forks Library

Lambert String Quintet Tunes Up For Grand Reopening At Sharon Forks Library

Lambert High School’s String Quintet, The Fab Five, will help staff and patrons at the Sharon Forks Library begin a new chapter in the library’s history when they play at the grand reopening celebration on Saturday, March 24 at 10:00 a.m.

The Fab Five, Serena Gao, Rachel Zhou, Joey Jin, Minjae Kim, and Carson Tufts, will be among the first to perform in the newly expanded and renovated library.

“The library has been such a big part of our lives since elementary school – we were honored to be part of such an amazing event for our community,” says violinist Joey Jin.

“We all think it’s awesome that we get to combine two of our favorite things: music and books. It should be a lot of fun!” adds cellist Carson Tufts.

They will perform inside the library until noon, but additional activities for children, teens, and adults are planned throughout the day.

“The wait is almost over for our patrons and we’re looking forward to celebrating our grand reopening with the whole community,” says Sharon Forks Library branch manager Mendy Gunter.

“We’ll start with The Fab Five and a flag raising ceremony led by Cub Scout Pack 205, then self-guided scavenger hunts and staff-led tours will give the public an opportunity to explore the whole library, even behind-the-scenes areas such as the automated book returns and work areas,” explains Gunter.

Much beloved storytime programs return to Sharon Forks with a special visit from book characters Elephant and Piggie at 10:30 a.m. Patrons will hear special readings of Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie books and take photos with the costumed characters in a meeting room that is nearly twice as large as it was before construction began.

“We’ve missed seeing our youngest patrons in our weekly storytime programs, but we’ve been working on new programming ideas and our patrons are going to love what we’ve planned for the spring and summer,” says youth services supervisor Cleo Joyce.

Portions of the grand reopening festivities will highlight not only the expansion of the building, but also new additions to the library’s collection of materials.

“Sharon Forks serves a diverse community and its collection will now include print materials written in Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu,” explains library director Anna Lyle.

Several cultural demonstrations and performances will help celebrate the launch of this new World Languages collection.

First, Yunjuan He, Qi Cui, Zi Chen, and Xinying Ye from the University of North Georgia will share Chinese culture and traditions and offer tastes of five different teas to patrons in the library’s Hot Spot at 11:00 a.m.

The Hot Spot is a new addition to this branch and, like the Hot Spot at the Post Road Library, is a multipurpose space that works well for adult and teen programs, meetings, study sessions, and workshops.

Next, two Indian dance performances will be given in the Meeting Room by Darshini Natyalaya School of Indian Classical Dance at 1:00 p.m. and Atlanta Nritya Dance Academy at 1:30 p.m. Both groups have performed at the library’s annual Diwali celebrations and are enjoyed by both children and adults.

Then, dancers and martial artists from the Chien Hong School of Kung Fu will perform an interactive Chinese Lion Dance at 2:30 p.m. Instructors are expected to share Chinese culture and explain how lion and dragon dances help communities celebrate important occasions. Members of the audience may also enjoy an opportunity to participate in the dance.

Much to the delight of the younger patrons, Elephant and Piggie will return to the Meeting Room at 4:00 p.m. for a Dance around the World party. Children of all ages are invited to dance to music from around the world with two of their favorite characters!

“We hope that everyone will enjoy coming back to Sharon Forks for programs, for books, and to become an active participant in the library community,” says information services supervisor Meredith Causey.

Patrons can commemorate their participation in the library’s grand reopening by creating a self-portrait that will become part of a community art display. Patrons of all ages may visit the Children’s area and use the provided supplies to create a self-portrait to contribute to the “Faces of Sharon Forks” display.

Patrons who want a break from celebrating are welcome to visit the spacious new Teen Room to play a board game. Or, join a family-friendly, pirate-themed breakout game or an escape room game for teens based on clues from Stranger Things. New games begin every hour between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. in the library’s two new Conference Rooms.

At the end of the celebration, Girl Scout Cadette Troop #15517 will lead a flag lowering ceremony at 5:00 p.m.

“We’re so grateful for our patrons who love the library and have been so patient during the construction process. It will be our pleasure to welcome everyone back to a bigger, more beautiful, and more functional library,” says Gunter.

For more information on the Sharon Forks Library Grand Reopening Celebration, please visit



Community Cup: Coffee Served With A Purpose

Community Cup: Coffee Served With A Purpose

There’s a new coffee shop in town – but it isn’t like the ones you know. Of course it will have strong coffee, pastries, and plenty of hand-crafted, decadent beverages more worthy of a dessert plate than a ceramic mug. But the concept of this coffeehouse centers more around community than caffeine. It’s an idea that germinated in the owner’s mind during a yoga session and it is soon to spring to life.

Jalynn Barr is a young lady passionate about her family, her community, her work, and causes that help other people. The cause that motivates her the most is childhood cancer. She serves on the Young Professional Leadership Council for CURE Childhood Cancer and has been a driving force in bringing others into the fight for children with cancer.

“As a mother, I can’t imagine having one of my daughters in treatment,” Jalynn explained. “When I found out how little money goes to childhood cancer research, I knew I had to get involved.”

Jalynn has been in the foodservice business her entire career and loves dealing with people. About a year ago, she started feeling an itch to get out on her own. While in a 40-day yoga challenge, a question kept coming to mind, “Is there a way I can make a career out of something I love that also benefits this group that I’m so passionate about?”

It was then that the idea for Community Cup was born. The location she chose is just off the square in downtown Cumming, at 125 Tribble Gap Rd., where there is plenty of both driving and foot traffic. The menu will be strong on coffee, but will also serve fun things for children such as drinks with edible glitter and other items designed to create a family atmosphere.

The goal is to use her talents and passions to be a positive force in the community. By buying the baked goods from a local bakery and the coffee from a nearby roaster, Community Cup will pour first into its neighbors. But it will also weave itself into the fabric of the city by working with local schools, non-profits, and civic groups to help them raise funds for their efforts. And a portion of the shop’s daily proceeds will be given back to CURE to benefit those children with cancer that Jalynn loves so much.

“I really think we have a chance to make a huge difference,” she said excitedly. “First in Cumming, but through our partnership with CURE, all over.”

Permitted to dream, Jalynn wouldn’t turn down the chance to have a Community Cup on every street corner in the country. But her true goals are much more grounded: operate a successful business, spend quality time with her family, be happy in her work, and make a positive impact on her community. If she can stay centered on those things, she’ll count it worthwhile.

Community Cup hopes to serve its first customers in early April.

Connect with Community Cup Online: Website | Facebook | Instagram

SAFFT Announces Partnership with Families First

SAFFT Announces Partnership with Families First

This partnership will create dedicated foster homes for Hall County youth

(Gainesville, GA) March 1, 2018 –Supporting Adoption & Foster Families Together, Inc. (SAFFT) announced they are partnering with Families First to provide comprehensive services and dedicated foster homes for Hall County’s foster youth.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with SAFFT for this important endeavor,” said Terry Tucker, CEO of Families First. “We like this model of service because it will keep Hall County kids in Hall County. This creates less disruption for the kids and allows for family reunification when possible.”

SAFFT and Families First will provide a wrap-around service model covering prevention, intervention and aftercare for Georgia’s families in crisis and youth in foster care. This model will place a Families First recruiter and case manager at the SAFFT Family Restoration Center in Gainesville to recruit, train and approve foster families.

Once these foster homes are established, they will serve Hall County youth exclusively, which will ensure these children receive services in their home county with limited disruptions. Children who are served by SAFFT spend an average of 90 fewer days in foster care. Less than 5% of reunified children will return to foster care after completing the program.

“We are excited to partner with Families First,” said Brian Anderson, CEO of SAFFT. “We can’t do this mission alone. It truly takes a village to make an impact on caring for our most broken families and most vulnerable children. This partnership will deliver the solutions to children and families in crisis beginning in a community that is close to our hearts – Hall County.”

Following a successful launch in Hall, SAFFT plans to launch services in other parts of Georgia in collaboration with Families First.

SAFFT (Supporting Adoption & Foster Families Together) is a non-profit organization with a mission to protect children, rebuild families and empower caregivers. SAFFT’s leadership strongly believes change begins with the entire community including the families in crisis, the children in foster and adoptive care, caregivers supporting the children and organizations charged with protecting and serving the children and families. SAFFT operates two Georgia-based family crisis centers located in the cities of Cumming, Gainesville and Rome.

Families First: Families First is dedicated to helping foster youth, those who age out of foster care and youth living in poverty find Success @ 25 through four impact areas – Housing, Optimal Wellness, Mentoring, Education/Experience (H.O.M.E.). Established in 1890, Families First has been Georgia’s leading nonprofit, family service agency having a significant impact on individuals, families, children and youth primarily within the metro-Atlanta area. Families First is licensed by the State of Georgia as a Child Placing Agency (CPA) and a Child Care Institution (CCI). The organization is both CARF and COA accredited and partners with a number of other non-profits as well as state agencies, corporations, local businesses, schools and churches, all to ensure the long-term connectivity, strengthening and sustainability of families and communities.

Address: 219 Castleberry Rd. Cumming, GA 30040
Phone: 770-886-9505