East Cobb, NE Cobb YMCA volunteer, teen leader to be honored

Submitted photos and information:

McCleskey-East Cobb and Northeast Cobb YMCA volunteers and teen leaders of the Year will be honored on Feb. 10 at the YMCA of Metro Atlanta’s Celebration of Community Champions: 2020 Vision event at the Cobb Galleria. Ambassador Andrew Young and Dr. Walter Young will be honored with the Bransby Christian Leadership Award.

Molly Khan YMCA volunteer
Molly Khan

McCleskey-East Cobb / Northeast Cobb Family YMCAs

Volunteer of the Year: Molly Toland Khan joined the YMCA with her family in 2012. New to Marietta, Molly found community and friendship at the Y, joining spin class and connecting with other families. She currently serves on the board and community engagement committee with the McCleskey East-Cobb / Northeast Cobb Family YMCAs

Quote about Molly from Y staff member Becky Shipley: “Molly’s time and efforts contribute to strengthening the foundation of the community. She currently serves on our board community engagement committee and oversees the success of our local school food pantry by recruiting volunteers and organizing food pick up day. Molly has grown the pantry’s outreach to serve over 50 families each month.

Quote from Molly: “My path to serve really became clear when I got more involved in our Y community programs which ensure all children have equal access to reaching their full potential. I want to be an example to my children that being a part of a community is about helping and serving others.”

Fatima Gonzalez YMCA volunteer
Fatima Gonzalez

Teen Leader of the Year: Fatima Gonzalez’ first connection with the YMCA was through youth soccer and swim lessons nine years ago. She is currently involved as the Leaders Club president. She has attended YMCA Blue Ridge Leaders School for two summers and has attended three global service leadership trips. After high school graduation, Fatima plans to attend college in Georgia so she can continue her YMCA involvement.

Quote about Fatima from Y Staff Member Rachel Singer: “Fatima embodies teen leadership and commitment to giving back to the community. She makes time to volunteer and takes the opportunity to lead by example. Fatima is someone I can easily say truly believes in the Y and has been grateful for all of the opportunities that have presented themselves because of her commitment.”

Quote from Fatima: “It is crucial to make time to be involved with the Y because it is our duty to serve our community. It is our duty as servant leaders to give back to the community that raised us and leave it better than it was before. I have found that I feel at home at any Y, even in other states or in other countries like Costa Rica or England. The Y has the ability to unite complete strangers and make them family. I don’t know of any organization that is even comparable to the work, service and impact of the YMCA.”

 

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Walton student raising funds for YMCA Global Service trip

Izaiah Hooper, Walton student, YMCA Global Service trip

In December we posted a fundraising appeal from a Lassiter student who’s part of a YMCA Global Service project this summer to the Republic of Georgia.

Izaiah Hooper, a student at Walton High School, is part of the same program, and is asking for community help to collect $3,000 in donations by May 1. As he explains:

“Only a select amount of teens get to go on this trip and I was picked! We would fly out there and stay at the YMCA there and help out for 10 days around the camp. I would learn new leadership skills to bring back to my community and I would be able to help the locals there.”

Izaiah has been involved in various community service work in addition to the YMCA, having raised funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 13). He also has been a page in the Georgia State Senate.

Izaiah has more information about him and the leadership program at his YMCA page, including a button where you can make a donation.

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Whether you’re young, old, or in-between, feel free to let us know about about activities and events near and dear to you. E-mail your news, photos and other materials to: [email protected] and we’ll share it with the East Cobb community.

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Wheeler student talks about cultural differences at Jewish school

Ashleigh Ewald

Submitted information and photo about Wheeler High School student Ashleigh Ewald, at left, who recently spoke to students at an Atlanta Jewish school with Rukaiya Masika, an Atlanta-area high school student from the Congo:

Rukaiya Masika is a 17 year old Atlanta metro high school student who is originally from the Congo of Africa. She shared her story about being born in the Congo and having to flee to another country because of the war going on in her native land. She described her tiring journey of traveling by foot from Congo to Uganda and recalled not being able to feel her legs from exhaustion. Rukaiya had to attend boarding school because her mother could not afford to feed her; the school provided food instead. She spoke about her hardships and even about being bullied by kids in her new school. Some kids teased her because of her cultural differences and even wearing a hijab (a religious garment used as a head covering).  

She encouraged the students to be themselves and that fitting in is a waste of time because their difference is also their strength. Questions were posed at the end where one 5th grader asked if Rukaiya would be able to see her family again. Rukaiya replied by saying that some of her family was already in the United States; however, due to the exodus from her country she does not know who her father is. She then gave the students advice about staying hopeful in difficult situations and of the importance of always being themselves.  

The audience consisted of 5th through 8th graders who rotated into the classroom to hear the stories being presented by the speakers. Ashleigh speaks about being born in the time of the One Child Policy. She was born on October 6, 2002, when the One Child Policy was happening. She discussed how being born a girl and cleft-affected  were not safe combinations during the One Child Policy.

The students were in dismay, and Ashleigh continued by telling them how she felt fortunate to be alive. She went on about being adopted from Shenyang, China, at the age of 4 and being brought to live in Georgia. Then, she spoke about being put up for adoption a second time because of the possibility that her first adopted parents didn’t know how to care for a traumatized child. Ashleigh then revealed that foster home experiences are different for each child and that some grow out of the system.

Ashleigh shared her middle-school experiences of trying to cope with the need to be accepted, discussing how hanging out with the “cool kids” to try and fit in only slows down an individual from achieving their dreams. 

Ashleigh started becoming a follower and a gossiper. In addition, Ashleigh informed the students that they will become the people they associate with, and so they should be mindful of that. Students were urged to be good to all and that people remember the way you treat them later on. Then, she explained how, ever since she dropped from that group, she was able to focus more on her goals and who she was, helping her get to her dream of being a U.S. Senator and motivational speaker. Her inspiration came from meeting a Holocaust survivor, and she knew she wanted to be a politician who will protect human rights. Finally, she wrapped up her speech by discussing how to slowly gain self-confidence and not seek acceptance from others. Ashleigh gave them advice on how being different is power rather than on fitting in. The unique is original!   

 

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Cobb libraries to hold kid-friendly ‘Noon Year’s Eve’ parties

Mountain View Regional Library

Submitted information:

Families can celebrate the start of 2020 early with kid-friendly “Noon Year’s Eve” parties on Tuesday at five Cobb County Public Libraries. The free December 31st programs will feature crafts, storytime, dance and music, and more ahead of the countdowns to noon.

The countdown parties start at 11 a.m. Tuesday, except for the official 11:15 a.m. start at Gritters Library. The Cobb library events will occur as the first hours of 2020—and new decade—are celebrated several time zones away.

The countdown events will include:

  • Gritters Library, 880 Shaw Park Road, Marietta, 30066, starts at 11:15 a.m. 770-528-2524.
  • Lewis A. Ray Library, 4500 Oakdale Road, Smyrna 30080. (770) 801-5335
  • Mountain View Regional Library, 3320 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta 30066. 770-509-2725
  • West Cobb Regional Library, 1750 Dennis Kemp Lane, Kennesaw 30152. 770-528-4699
  • Vinings Library, 4290 Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta 30339. 770-801-5330

Cobb County Libraries will close early on December 31st at 5 p.m. and will be closed January 1st. Regular hours resume January 2nd.

For information on upcoming library programs and resources, visit www.cobbcat.org.

 

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Lassiter student raising funds for YMCA Global Service trip

The following information comes from Lourdes Gonzalez, a sophomore at Lassiter High School, where she’s in the band program, as well as the Lassiter-Pope-Kell Navy Junior ROTC program.Lourdes Gonalez, Lassiter student Global Service trip

She’s also involved with the McCleskey-East Cobb Family YMCA, where she’s involved in its Leaders Club, and she’s been accepted by the YMCA of Metro Atlanta’s Global Service program for a trip to the Republic of Georgia trip next summer.

She’s asking for assistance to raise $3,000 by May 1, 2020, and has more details here about her background, the trip and the Leaders Club, which she says “has changed the way I go through life. It has taught me essential skills and techniques I need in order to look at challenges from a different perspective. I am now more confident and able to understand, compromise and give my input to any type of situation.”

Related story

Send us your news!

Whether you’re young, old, or in-between, feel free to let us know about about activities and events near and dear to you. E-mail your news, photos and other materials to: [email protected] and we’ll share it with the East Cobb community.

For more information on submitting news tips, announcements, calendar items and more, please click here.

 

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East Cobb libraries to hold special events Thanksgiving week

Cobb libraries Thanksgiving week events
Submitted information:

Cobb County Public Libraries will close at 5 pm on Wednesday, November 27 and will be closed Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29. Cobb libraries will open at 10 am on Saturday, November 30 for the regular weekend schedule.

Upcoming Cobb library events and activities include:

Teen Trivia at Sewell Mill Library & Cultural Center on Monday, November 25 from 2 pm – 3 pm. Teens 13 and older will be putting their pop culture skills to the test. 770-509-2711

Kids Crafternoon at Sewell Mill Library & Cultural Center on Tuesday, November 26 from 2 pm – 3 pm. Get ready for Thanksgiving by making your own decorations. This program is recommended for children ages 3-7. All materials will be provided. 770-509-2711

Family Fun Time at East Cobb Library on Wednesday, November 27 from 3:30 pm – 4:15 pm. This Thanksgiving themed fun time for families with children of all ages lasts 40-50 minutes and can include books, activities, a short film, parachute play, music, and a craft. 770-509-2730

FLL Robotics – STEM Project Presentation at East Cobb Library on Saturday, November 30 from 1 pm to 2 pm. Join a team of five students as they present their projects for the National First Lego League and demonstrate their mission: City Shaper. This competition lets kids design innovative ways to tackle problems in large cities now and for the future. Any child interested in LEGOs and STEAM is invited to attend. No registration required. Children under 9 must be accompanied by an adult. 770-509-2730

For more events and activities, visit www.cobbcat.org

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Pope HS student creates Girl Scout art project for foster children

Pope HS student, Kits4Kids

Submitted information and photos from Sheri Kell, who served as a project advisor:

Girl Scout Elisa Fontanillas is inspiring art and creativity among Georgia’s foster care children through the creation of the Kits for Kids project. Elisa, a senior at Pope High School in Marietta, has spent 8 months organizing the project and collecting donations for her Girl Scout Gold Award.  

As a graphic artist and photographer, Elisa chose the project as a reflection of her own creativity. “My goal of these kits is to make sure foster kids are able to create art with their foster families and encourage their individual creative expression,” said Elisa.

After months of collecting paintbrushes, washable paints​​, paper, canvas, beads, yarn and many other art materials from local drop box locations at retailers and schools, Elisa recently recruited friends and classmates to help her assemble 200 kits. The kits were designed for age groups ranging from three to 12 years of age.

The kits were delivered to the Foster Care Support Foundation, where they will be distributed to the children. East Cobb Marietta Target, Roswell Blick Art Materials and the Roswell Road Kroger also generously donated supplies.

About Kits for Kids:

Kits for Kids is a charity organization set on creating art kits for kids in the foster care system through the Foster Care Support Foundation. We believe that by creating with families and individually, foster kids can express themselves freely through art. The kits were donated to the Roswell, GA-based Foster Care Support Foundation.

Pope HS student, Kits4Kids

Pope HS student, Kits4Kids

Pope HS student, Kits4Kids

 

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Children’s author Laurel Snyder to appear at Sewell Mill Library

Children's author Laurel Snyder

Thanks to Thomas Books at the Cobb Library System for the following information and photo about Saturday’s special event at the Sewell Mill Library with noted children’s author Laurel Snyder:

North Georgia Kids Read 2019 presents author Laurel Snyder at the Sewell Mill Library & Cultural Center on Saturday, June 15th at noon to 1 pm.

Laurel Snyder is the author of six bestselling novels for children, including “Orphan Island” and “Seven Stories Up,” and several award-winning picture books, including “Charlie & Mouse” and “The King of Too Many Things”. Snyder has published work in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Sun-Times and is an occasional commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered.

The event is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

North Georgia Reads was created to promote collaboration between neighboring library systems and to bring bestselling authors to a community of 46 libraries in the region.

Sewell Mill Library & Cultural Center is located at 2051 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta 30068. 770-509-2711.

For more information, visit www.cobbcat.org.

 

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Lassiter students named winners of 2019 Congressional art competition

Lassiter students Congressional art competition
Left to right: 2nd place winner Sophia Maier, 1st place winner Holly Mostyn, Rep. Lucy McBath, 3rd place winner Emily Marie Phillips.

Submitted information and photos from the office of U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath:

This week, Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) hosted her first Congressional Art Competition Reception at the Roswell Visual Arts Center for student artists and their parents and teachers. During the exhibit, McBath announced that Holly Mostyn’s photograph, “Splatter” won first place and will be on display in the halls of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. for one year as a part of the nationwide Congressional Art Competition: An Artistic Discovery exhibit. Her artwork will be on display alongside winners from other Congressional Districts across the nation. Holly is a senior at Lassiter High School in Marietta.

Additionally, Sophia Maier’s colored pencil, marker and acrylic piece “BusBOY” won second place and will be on display in McBath’s Washington, D.C. office. Sophia is also a senior at Lassiter High School in Marietta. McBath announced that Emily Marie Phillips won third place for her ink and marker on paper piece, “Silence.” Emily is 16 and attends Cambridge High School in Milton. Her artwork will be displayed in Rep. McBath’s Sandy Springs District Office.

“It was a delight to see all of the art on display from talented young artists in Georgia’s Sixth,” said Rep. McBath. “Congratulations to this year’s winners – Holly, Sophia, and Emily! I look forward to seeing their art on display as I walk through the U.S. Capitol building and in my Sandy Springs and Washington offices.”

This year, the judges serving on the panel to decide the winners included Althea Foster, Laurianne Love, Craig Ford, and Nancy Fairchild.  Ms. Foster is the Curator and Program Director at the Johns Creek Art Center. Ms. Love is the Visual Arts Coordinator for the City of Roswell Department of Recreation, Parks, Historic and Cultural Affairs. Mr. Ford is a painter, graphic artist, and teaches at the Roswell Visual Arts Center. Ms. Fairchild teaches art classes at the Roswell Visual Arts Center.

Each student participant in attendance received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from Rep. Lucy McBath. The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for Members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents. Since then, over 650,000 high school students have participated in the nationwide competition.

Below, Rep. McBath and Lassiter student Sophia Maier with her artwork, “BusBOY.”

U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, LAssiter student Sophia Maier, Congressional art competition

 

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Simpson MS student named ‘Ultimate Kid Ninja Champion’

Vance Walker, Ultimate Kid Ninja Champion

Last fall we noted that several East Cobb kids were involved in the TV series “American Ninja Warrior Junior” on the Universal Kids outlet.

The season wrapped up on April 27, and one of those kids training out of Ninja Quest on Canton Road, has been named an ultimate kid ninja champion. Congrats to Vance Walker, who attends Simpson Middle School. Submitted information and video explain and show what they all had to do during the competition:

Vance was the winner of the 13-14 age bracket. The competition started with over 200 Junior Ninjas from across the U.S. facing off on head to head courses in three age brackets: 9 & 10, 11 & 12, and 13 & 14-year-old girls and boys. There were three final winners (one per age bracket). “American Ninja Warrior Junior” courses feature iconic Ninja Warrior obstacles, including Sonic Swing, Tic Toc, Spin Cycle, and the Warped Wall. 

 

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East Cobb YMCA taking part in Healthy Kids Day event

Submitted information:

East Cobb YMCA Healthy Kids Day

On Saturday, April 27, the McCleskey-East Cobb YMCA is holding a free community event to inspire more kids to keep their minds and bodies active at the annual YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, the Y’s national initiative to improve health and well-being for kids and families. Healthy Kids Day is an opportunity to ignite children’s imaginations so that they can imagine what they’ll accomplish this summer. The event features activities such as a kids run, family stretch class and family Zumba to motivate and teach families how to develop and maintain healthy routines at home throughout the summer months.

Healthy Kids Day, celebrated at over 1,500 Ys across the country by over one million participants, works to get more kids moving and learning, creating habits that they continue all summer long.  When kids are out of school, they can face hurdles that prevent them from reaching their full potential. Research shows that without access to out-of-school learning activities, kids fall behind academically. Kids also gain weight twice as fast during summer than the school year. As spring turns to summer, Healthy Kids Day is a powerful reminder not to let children idle away their summer days. Instead, the Y wants families to focus on helping children imagine what they can accomplish over the summer.

“When a child is healthy, happy, and supported they can make great things happen,” says Becky Shipley, Executive Director “We believe in the potential of all children, and we strive to help kids find that potential within themselves. A child’s development is never on vacation and Healthy Kids Day is a great opportunity to educate families and motivate kids to stay active in spirit, mind and body throughout the summer.”

Keeping Kids Healthy All Summer Long

In celebration of YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, the Y offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits this summer that can have a lifetime effect:

  • High Five the Fruits and Veggies – Make sure kids get at least five servings of fruits and veggies each day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend for healthy childhood development. And to keep kids’ taste buds evolving, have everyone in the family try at least one bite of a new fruit or vegetable at least once a month.
  • Read Together – The summer is a great time to enjoy books with summer program participants—and 30 minutes a day goes a long way! Take trips to the local library or create a family reading challenge to see who can log the most minutes of reading. Encourage youth to create their own stories as well.
  • Get Moving! – Activities that require movement also help kids flex their mental muscle. Use materials in unique ways: ask youth to build models, manipulate tools or develop their own theatrical scenes.
  • Play Together – Play may be the best way to prevent childhood obesity. By putting more play into your family’s day, you will soon find yourself getting the activity that will have your family feeling energized and strong.
  • Make sleep a priority – Doctors recommend 10-12 hours of sleep a day for children ages 5-12 and 7-8 hours per night for adults. Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining our healthy immune system, metabolism, mood, memory, and learning.

McCleskey-East Cobb YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day takes place at 1055 E. Piedmont from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and features fun, active play and educational activities. This year, in partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the YMCA will be offering vouchers for a session of FREE swimming lessons.

Locally, Healthy Kids Day is sponsored by Life University, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and many more.

For more information, contact McCleskey-East Cobb YMCA at 770-977-5991.

 

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Registration is underway for Walton Volleyball summer volleyball camps

Walton volleyball summer camps

Thanks to Melissa Watkins of the Walton Volleyball Booster Club for the following information about summer camps that will be starting in mid-May and continuing through the middle of July:

Attention middle school and elementary students. Do you want to get off the sidelines and into the game?  Get the chance to train with the top high school volleyball program in the state, led by 2017 national coach of the year, Suzanne Fitzgerald and her team. Grab a friend and sign up today to save your spot as space is limited.

Register at www.waltonvolleyball.com. Camps and clinics are based on age and skill level:

Volleyball Skill Development Clinics

  • May 11 and May 18, 9 AM – NOON
  • For: Boys 3rd-12th/Girls 3rd–8th
  • Location: Walton (The Pit) — $50;1590 Bill Murdock Road

Learn to Love Volleyball Camp

  • June 3-5, 4:30 – 9 PM
  • For: Boys and Girls, 1st-8th
  • Location: East Side Elementary — $150, 3850 Roswell Road

Middle School Volleyball Foundations Camp 

  • July 8 – 10, 9 AM to Noon
  • For: Boys and Girls 6th-8th Location: East Side Elementary — $150, 3850 Roswell Road

Middle School Volleyball Elite Camp 

  • July 15 – 17, 9 AM to 1 PM
  • For: Boys and Girls 6th-8th (Club Experience)
  • Locations: East Side Elementary — $165, 3850 Roswell Road

Contact [email protected] for questions regarding camps or clinics.

 

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