MARCH/APRIL 2023 PCT Clean • Flowing Life Direct Health • Gift of Music Foundation • Goshen Homes • Bubbles & Brews It Takes a Village SafePath’s
lead the way
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It Takes A Village
28 IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Goshen Homes recruits, trains, licenses, and supports foster parents working with sibling groups in foster care.
Drink-Vote-Repeat in this month-long celebration of Cobb’s beverage producers.
March is National Sleep Awareness Month, which is all about improving sleep hygiene and the benefits of great sleep.
6 SHARPER FOCUS Find out what’s going on throughout Cobb County with our news updates and calendar of events. 8 BUSINESS
there’s one word to describe PCT Clean and the people behind it, it’s care. 12 HEALTH Flowing Life Direct Health offers individualized care and an optimized patient-doctor relationship. 16 EDUCATION
2015 to create greater
to musical instruments, education, and the many benefits of studying music. 20 COBB CHAMBER AWARDS
The Gift of Music Foundation
The Cobb Chamber
its many accomplishments of 2022 at the 81st Annual Dinner
32 FINAL FOCUS
Vol. XIX, No. 2 MARCH/APRIL 2023 Contents FEATURE
SafePath creates a safe, neutral, child friendly environment for children during allegations of child abuse.
On the cover: Left to right, back to front: Sean Ferrell, SVP/Chief Financial Officer, LGE Community Credit Union; Kristin Reed, Realtor, The Reed Group; Dan Cushing, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP; and Itrellis Ross, Director of Member Care, Cobb EMC.
4 MARCH/APRIL 2023
Photo: LaRuche Photo
New South Publishing Inc.
Publisher Jamie Ryan
I never received any formal music education and I’ve always lamented that fact. Of course, part of the blame is mine for not asking for music lessons or taking classes in high school. But neither of my parents nor any of my friends played instruments, so I just wasn’t exposed. In my mid-20s, I took it upon myself to learn the guitar. To my surprise, I was rather adept at chord shapes/ progressions and strumming patterns. Still, I’ve yet to take any formal lessons and I can’t read music. If I ever find the time — perhaps in retirement — I want to do this.
We all know the importance of music education and how it can improve our abilities to learn other subjects such as math or science. And we know about the long-term benefits to preventing or slowing cognitive decline. Yet, music education continues to be pushed aside. According to the NAMM Foundation, despite significant progress made in recent years to keep music and the other arts in U.S. public schools, millions of U.S. public school students still do not have access to these programs.
So, when we heard about The Gift of Music Foundation, we wanted to sing its praises. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to creating greater accessibility to music programs, instruments, teachers and the overall benefits of music education. In this issue, Lauren McBride, the organization’s director of development & community engagement, tells us all about the foundation and how we can help them.
Further, we wanted to call your attention again this year to SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center, Inc., whose board members and volunteers work tirelessly to help victims of child abuse. Another organization deserving of praise and attention is Goshen Homes, a non-profit child placement agency based in Canton that works to prevent the separation of siblings in foster care. All these stories, and more, await you on the following pages. Enjoy!
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MARCH/APRIL 2023 5
Cobb EMC Ranks #1 Among Electric Utilities
For the fourth quarter of 2022, Cobb EMC ranked first in the nation for Customer Satisfaction among all electric utilities, according to the J.D. Power 2022 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study, which surveys customers of the nation’s 145 largest electric utility brands. The utility is ranked #1 in the nation for restoring outages quickly, and is also ranked #2 in the country for reliable power. Additionally, Cobb EMC consumers’ monthly bills are nearly $24.55 lower than the average utility bill in Georgia, according to the Georgia Public Service Commission.
Police and Army Partnership to Pay Off
Police Chief Stuart VanHoozer and members of the Cobb County Police command staff attended a ceremony in February to formalize the department’s partnership with the U.S. Army and their Partnership for Your Success program. The PaYS Program is a strategic partnership between the Army and private industry, academia, and state and local public institutes that guarantees soldiers get five job interviews and possible employment after their service in the Army. The ceremony culminated with the swearing-in of four recruits to the U.S. Army National Guard. Learn more at joincobbpolice.com.
Chief Deputy Anderson Honored by NAACP
The Cobb County NAACP recently presented Chief Deputy Rhonda Anderson of the Cobb Sheriff’s Office with its Living the Dream Award. Anderson, the first black female sheriff’s deputy in the county, has been with the office since 1983, and now serves as its second-in-command. During her law enforcement career, Anderson worked in the Adult Detention Center, Criminal Investigations, Field Operations, and the work release program. As chief deputy, Anderson oversees the Adult Detention Center and the chaplain program.
Atlanta Braves Part of Fruit Orchard Installation at Hyde Farm
Braves catcher Travis D’Arnaud and volunteers recently planted 80 fruit trees at Hyde Farm as the first of 20 community orchards planted in partnership with Food Well Alliance, One Tree Planted, and Players for the Planet. These neighborhood-based orchards will increase access to fresh, healthy food for urban residents while expanding tree canopy and promoting environmental sustainability. Learn more at mlb.com/news/braves-planting-communityorchards.
Credit Union of Georgia Donates Over $100,000 to Local Charities
Credit Union of Georgia announced recently that it donated more than $100,000 to charities in 2022. The employees of the Credit Union nominate and vote annually to select the local charities the company will support. The top charities selected are then supported through various efforts including monetary donations, volunteerism and donations of food, clothing, toys and personal hygiene items. Credit Union of Georgia also volunteered over 650 hours to the community, attended more than 1,100 local events, and sponsored over 400 local events.
A.G. Rhodes Facility Named Best Nursing Home in Georgia
City of Marietta Partners with Habitat for Humanity
The City of Marietta and Habitat for Humanity of NW Metro Atlanta (HNWMA) are partnering to provide six zero-interest affordable homes for City of Marietta and Marietta City School employees. Called the “Marietta Public Service Housing Program,” the City is donating six lots, and HNWMA will provide volunteers to build the homes. Construction is being funded through the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), signed into law in March 2021.
Faith Leaders Forge Ties
Cobb Chairwoman Lisa Cupid recently gathered with many of Cobb’s faith leaders at a breakfast hosted by the Rev. Sammie Dow Wednesday. They discussed ways to help the community. Cupid said, “I am thrilled about the large and positive response to our first faith leader breakfast of many in Cobb County. Our faith leaders are instrumental in helping to serve the needs across our county, and I am confident that we will be stronger as a county, as more of our entities continue to come together in partnership.”
A.G. Rhodes Wesley Woods has been recognized as the number-one nursing home in Georgia on Newsweek’s Best Nursing Homes 2022 list. “Although COVID-19 has been incredibly challenging for our elders and care partners, we remain committed to providing the highest quality of care — and quality of life — for those we serve,” said Greg Heath, administrator of A.G. Rhodes Wesley Woods. “To be recognized as the best nursing home in Georgia is a reflection of our compassionate and tireless staff who dedicate themselves to improving care for elders in our community.”
Here’s a snapshot of what’s going on in your community. S harper Focus
6 MARCH/APRIL 2023
Editor’s note: Due to evolving community needs, these events are subject to change or cancellation.
Pop-in for Family Fun
Come and explore the Marietta Museum of History on the 3rd Saturday of the month with family fun activities. March theme is Rockets & Robots (Music in April). More info: mariettahistory.org
The Town Center Community Improvement District is hosting a fun run on March 25 along the Noonday Creek Trail. The start/finish will be at Town Center Mall. More info: towncentercid.com/alliance/noonday-shanty
Easter Egg Hunt
Smith-Gilbert Gardens will host its annual Easter Egg Hunt on April 1. No fooling! More info: smithgilbertgardens.com
Acworth Art Fest
Acworth’s Main Street in downtown becomes the perfect art-buyers destination with booths from over 50 whimsical and talented artisans from around the country. More info: splashfestivals.com
A Night In Paris Gala
Sensory Friendly Afternoon
Join the Southern Museum for a Sensory Friendly Afternoon on Mar. 28 and Apr. 25 from 2-5 p.m. The museum is transformed into a sensory-friendly environment. More info: southernmuseum.org
Carnival Spring Break Camp
Ward Recreation Center’s first Carnival Spring Break Camp will be filled with carnival games, magicians, mimes and more. More info: cobbcounty.org
Taste of Mableton
Join Mableton Improvement Coalition, Cobb County PARKS and Kaiser Permanente for Taste of Mableton at the Mable House Complex. Free admission. More info: mableton.org
The Center for Family Resources’ gala returns on April 15 to Cobb Galleria Centre. There, the Galleria will be transformed into an elegant Parisian affair. More info: thecfr.org
47th Annual Big Shanty Festival
This annual event features one-of-a-kind and homemade crafts, as well as food vendors and kids’ activities in downtown Kennesaw. More info: kennesawbusiness.org
Classic Car Cruise
The event will be held from 3-8 p.m. at Logan Farm Park in Acworth. Presented by the Lake City Cruisers. More info: acworth.org
Georgia Food + Wine Festival
The festival in Marietta offers a wide variety of events for all tastebuds and budgets, including “Savor,” the main event on Saturday with over 400 varieties of wine, beer and spirits tastings, cooking demonstrations and more. More info: georgiafoodandwinefestival.com
Acworth Egg Hunt
Come watch the bunny make his exciting arrival at the Acworth Sports Complex. The City of Acworth and Freedom Church invite your family to participate in the return of the Acworth Egg Hunt! More info: acworth.org
Third Annual Sheriff’s Golf Classic
The Cobb Sheriff’s Foundation will host its annual golf fundraiser at Marietta Country Club. You can volunteer, donate, or compete! More info: cobbsheriffsfoundation.org
Jonquil City Jog
The race takes place in front of Smyrna City Hall and is one of the best community races in metro Atlanta.
More info: smyrnaga.gov
23rd Annual Plant Sale & Expo
Celebrate Earth Day weekend with your local Cobb Master Gardeners! Learn, explore, and shop from over 75 vendors and artisans. More info: cobbmastergardeners.com
Spring Jonquil Festival
MARCH 4/30 Taste of Marietta
The Smyrna Spring Jonquil Festival features over 150 Arts & Crafts booths, 12 food booths, an entertainment stage, and a variety of children’s activities. More info: smyrnaga.gov
Get a Taste of Marietta, one of the largest and tastiest events in Georgia, which returns to Historic Marietta Square. More info: tasteofmarietta.com
MARCH/APRIL 2023 7
Making Everything Sparkle
PCT Clean celebrates 20 years of serving local residents and businesses
8 MARCH/APRIL 2023
By Alexandra McCray
If there’s one word to describe PCT Clean and the people behind it, it’s care. The company and its team care about their clients, fellow staff members, their industry, and others in general.
Cleaning is more than an occupation for those involved with the 20-year-old Kennesaw business, which offers residential and commercial cleaning and disinfecting services. As Isabel Arévalo, who serves as scheduler and administrative assistant, explains, it’s about lifting a weight off their clients’ shoulders. “It’s not just that we clean your house. It’s what we provide for you and your family,” she says. “You know, I’m a mom, too. I have three kiddos at home. So, I know for sure when somebody calls and says, ‘I really need help,’ it’s because they need it.”
As the first PCT Clean representative with whom many clients interact, Arévalo is the one who communicates messages between them, the cleaning crew, and the rest of the office staff. She cherishes being able to explain to the team the situation behind a client’s requests and rallying the crew to go above and beyond. “I say, ‘Hey, you are my team. I know you can do this for this customer because they need it right now,’ because maybe they have a baby or somebody had surgery, and they need help with the house,” she says. “I love that because I feel like the team understands what I’m doing.”
Arévalo also frequently gets to hear about the difference PCT Clean makes in clients’ lives. “To be part of that, part of making the magic, and then they call me back and say, ‘Oh my gosh, thank you so much, because you really understood what I was asking for, what we needed, and we appreciate your help.’ That’s wonderful,” she says.
That joy is similar to the kind marketing director Angela Bockmon gets through her role. Though she spends plenty of time on traditional marketing tasks, like overseeing PCT Clean’s latest website update, a lot of her energy is spent getting to know the staff at other local businesses. Her involvement with multiple networking groups and events enables the team to make qualified referrals to potential clients
when they ask about a service PCT Clean typically doesn’t provide. It’s rewarding, she says, to be able to support other small businesses in the community. “We had a bank that we were going to go in and do a deep clean for, and they needed some walls fixed and other things like that,” Bockmon recalls. “So, I was able to refer out to one of our partners for the handyman work, and they came in right away and did a great job, and then we were able to go in and clean.”
The PCT Clean difference
Founded in 2003 by RJ and Asha Patel following 27 years of hotel ownership, Prestigious Cleaning Team (PCT Clean) began as a way for the pair to bring the elevated cleaning standards of their hotel (think, bathrooms that were always hair-free when new guests arrived) into the homes of people in the local community. Today, the company and its team of cleaners, who are certified house cleaning technicians and certified by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), offer flexible residential and commercial cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting throughout select cities in and west of Cobb County.
Initially, RJ and Asha planned only to serve residential customers. RJ says, though, as clients grew to trust them even more, they began asking them to take care of their businesses, too. The commercial side of PCT Clean now services offices,
“This is my 45th year here in Kennesaw. …This place is so special to me, the people, the community, Cobb County, Kennesaw, everything, that I just cannot leave here.”
MARCH/APRIL 2023 9
— RJ Patel, co-founder of PCT Clean
warehouses, and construction sites (once work is complete and the spaces are cleared for use). Erika Alcantara, a former cleaning crew member, serves as commercial manager and visits each of the company’s nearly 70 commercial accounts monthly to perform quality control checks, which also are done for residential clients as well.
No matter where the team works, RJ stresses that they’re doing a lot more than wiping away dirt. There is thought behind every technique and tool used to create a space that’s hygienic. For example, when discussing post-construction cleaning, he says, “Nobody can out-clean PCT. I’m confident when I say that because I totally understand how to do that level of cleaning. I go looking for dust. I understand that environment. I look at that, and I go, ‘What work did you do? What equipment did you use?’” He considers how dust travels in that and other situations, like through the heating and air system, and where it can sneakily accumulate. “I do my homework. I go deep, and I look at the logic behind it, and that’s how I do business,” says RJ.
The co-founder has always wanted his cleaning team to understand the thought process behind what they do. He spent 15 months creating his own in-depth cleaning manual covering kitchens, bathrooms, and more. The company now has its own training videos and four employee trainers as well. Once PCT cleaners get the green light, their education doesn’t stop. RJ, who served as the president of the residential division of
the ISSA, the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association, likes to keep them updated on the latest practices and information. To complement its techniques, the team uses professional-grade products — PCT Clean is a longtime partner of Procter & Gamble and the Mr. Clean brand — and top-of-the-line equipment such as vacuums with two highefficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.
Putting the PCT Clean method into practice probably sounds like quite the task, and Waleska White, director of human resources, can confirm. “I went home one day, and I cleaned my bathroom the way PCT does, and I didn’t realize how hard it was,” she confesses. “I came to work the next day, and I had to speak to the team and tell them
how proud I was of them and how I had a different perspective of cleaning because I spent three hours, literally, if not maybe a little bit more, in [my] bathroom trying to clean the PCT way, and I was exhausted … and these women and men clean six or seven bathrooms in one home.”
Though standards are high at PCT, the effort and intense work each person puts into their role is valued at all levels. “They make me feel like I’m very important,” says Arévalo of RJ and Asha. “Like my position is really appreciated, and that makes you feel like you’re working in the right place.”
Of course, genuine care is always part of the equation as well. RJ attributes his concern about his employees to the example set by his grandparents back in India. “I remember how they treated the workers. They fed them every day, three meals a day. They looked after them. They asked them, ‘How is your family? How is your wife? How are your children?’ They cared about them, and those workers never left. And so that left an impression on me. It’s like, all they’re doing is applying the human element. Care. And so, we’ve carried that forward,” he says of the six businesses he and Asha have had.
The group at PCT is a true team, too. Nobody is afraid to get their hands dirty. In fact, RJ, his business partner, and another industry contact travel to Clarksdale, Mississippi, every three months to clean and disinfect a medical clinic built by a nonprofit group RJ and Asha are a part of. The facility
“I spent three hours, literally, if not maybe a little bit more, in [my] bathroom trying to clean the PCT way, and I was exhausted … and these women and men clean six or seven bathrooms in one home.”
— Waleska White, director of human resources
10 MARCH/APRIL 2023
The company also gives back by partnering with Cleaning for a Reason, an organization that works with cleaning companies to provide cancer patients with free home cleanings
offers completely free care to the community, and PCT provides routine deep cleaning to supplement the facility’s regular cleanings.
The company also gives back by partnering with Cleaning for a Reason, an organization that works with cleaning companies to provide cancer patients with free home cleanings. RJ says that when he found out about it over 10 years ago, the decision to take part was a no-brainer. He immediately thought about what a close friend, his own family members, and others have gone through during their cancer battles.
Each October, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the company ramps up the number of cleans it does for Cleaning for a Reason. After being forced to take a hiatus from that effort recently, RJ was determined to get back to it full force in 2022. Thankfully, his fellow Kennesaw Business Association members were there to help and pitched in for the October cleanings. The volunteer
opportunity was such a hit among members that RJ is inviting them to be part of it again. The goal for this October, he says, is to clean 22 homes — one for each business day of the month. Bockmon says they hope to
get members of other business associations, especially those in Marietta and Acworth, involved, too.
Taking their commitment to Cleaning for a Reason up a notch is the main way RJ and Asha want to commemorate PCT Clean’s 20th year in business. The company officially hit the two-decade mark on January 4, and a party celebrating the business and the couple’s 37th wedding anniversary was held in the winter.
Looking forward, RJ says there are no plans to expand PCT Clean’s service area. “This is my 45th year here in Kennesaw. …This place is so special to me, the people, the community, Cobb County, Kennesaw, everything, that I just cannot leave here,” he says. “And so, I would say my focus is to serve this community: Kennesaw, Acworth, Marietta, Woodstock, Cartersville, all of that, Dallas, all that is our service area. We just want to focus on that and be the best in this area.” n
LGE Donates $10,000 to Chattahoochee Tech Foundation
Chattahoochee Technical College students will benefit from enhanced career development initiatives thanks to a $10,000 donation from LGE Community Credit Union. LGE Community Credit Union officials presented this donation to the Chattahoochee Tech Foundation in February, at the college’s Marietta Campus.
“We are very grateful for this generous support,” said Chattahoochee Tech President Dr. Ron Newcomb. “This funding will be dedicated for use by our Office of Career Development in their mission to assist students with career readiness and connect them with local employers.”
More than 300 students engage with the Chattahoochee Tech Office of Career Development each semester. The office helps students to hone their skills in résumé writing and job interviews. LGE Community Credit Union will join in this mission to help students by serving as a presenting sponsor at upcoming career fairs and engaging with students at financial planning workshops.
“We’re thrilled to announce a partnership that’s such a natural fit. LGE and Chattahoochee Tech share not only
similar values, but also an overlapping geographic footprint of the communities we serve,” said Natalie Sakar, the director of business development at LGE. “Where there’s a Chattahoochee Tech campus, there’s an LGE branch, and I can’t wait to see what we’re able to accomplish by joining forces.”
Since 2010, LGE has given back over $2 million to local nonprofit organizations, families, and individuals in need through the LGE Community Outreach Foundation. For more information about LGE, visit LGEccu.org.
For more information on Chattahoochee Technical College, visit www.ChattahoocheeTech.edu. n
MARCH/APRIL 2023 11
PCT Clean co-founder Asha Patel
The ‘Flow’ of Direct Primary Care
12 MARCH/APRIL 2023
Flowing Life Direct Health offers individualized care and an optimized patient-doctor relationship.
By Jennifer Morrell
Anative of Marietta, Candace M. Walker, M.D., always knew she wanted to return to Cobb County to practice medicine. What she did not know when she finished her residency in south Georgia was the way she would eventually choose to off er care to her patients.
Dr. Walker is board certified in family medicine and has been practicing for more than 10 years. Although passionate about her craft, she was not a fan of the barriers inherent in a traditional, volume-based medical practice setting. Feeling a need to better serve her patients, she began to investigate other approaches toward healthcare. Dr. Walker sought an alternative method for meeting the needs of patients under her care in a more personalized, integrative way.
Dr. Walker implements an integrated and
tailored approach to healthcare that offers numerous benefits. This membership-based healthcare model, known as Direct Primary Care (DPC), prioritizes the relationship between the doctor and the patient. The DPC model gives members direct access to their docto rs. Dr. Walker recognized that, through this personalized care, she could get to know her patients on a more personal level. As someone who would be involved in some of the most intimate aspects of a patient’s life, this was of the utmost importance to her.
“The idea of Flowing Life Direct Health began about three years into practicing medicine, working for a large health system,” Dr. Walker says. “I was seeing 20 to 30 patients a day, meeting all of my metrics, and making administration and my superiors a
ton of money. However, there was a point when I hit a wall.”
Frustrated, Dr. Walker says she was ignoring her own health to keep up with the 3,500 patients for whom she was responsible, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With no room for individualizing care for her patients, she felt short on time, energy, staff, and even resources. “My dream career quickly turned into a nightmare,” she says. “There was no flow to my life, and I missed taking care of people the way I was trained to do. Burned out and unfulfilled with what I thought was my calling in medicine, I started researching ways that I could get back to doing what I love: helping people to get and stay healthy.”
Dr. Walker considered applying for fellowships to specialize in other fields that might
A.G. Rhodes is embarking on a landmark effort.
We are building a new home on our Cobb campus that will improve the quality of care and safety of elders, particularly for those living with dementia.
Help us create A LEGACY OF CARE as we pioneer what it means to live well during all stages of life – regardless of age, diagnosis, or socioeconomic status.
MARCH/APRIL 2023 13
allow her to rekindle her passion for the art of doctoring. Nothing seemed to be the right answer, until she discovered DPC, which was a relatively new health model at the time.
“DPC incentivizes doctors to keep their patient panels at a minimum, allowing your very human doctor to use her energy, skills, and experience to serve you best,” she says. “DPC practices do not have the burden of adjusting their systems based on the demands of health insurance companies or health system administrators. This was a dream path for me and lead to the manifestation of Flowing Life Direct Health.”
Dr. Walker’s ability to spend time with her DPC members allows her to treat each patient uniquely, according to his or her needs. She believes overall health outcomes will be improved through a greater degree of individual-to-physician access. Direct Primary Care supports a lower member panel — Dr. Walker keeps her number of DPC patients at 150 or below — as well as a timely, more impactful appointment. She credits these benefits for healthier, happier member-patients, along with her own increased level of health and happiness.
The Flowing Life difference
The benefits for Flowing Life Direct Health’s DPC members are plentiful. But Dr. Walker and her IV nurse also service non-members by appointment. Members and non-members alike can experience healthcare originating from a place of true excitement and care, each by
appointment. Whether it’s a Deep Dive Physical and Wellness Exam or IV Nutrition Therapy, DPC practices can provide services the clinician desires, while practicing medicine.
“It’s reminiscent of how it was ‘back in the day,’” Dr. Walker says. “I love being the family doctor who takes care of the whole family. I get to incorporate a root-cause, functional wellness approach to caring for my members. I also love that I get to infuse my passion for breathwork and body movement into my practice.”
A belief in the mind-body connection and the power of yoga plays a role in the way Dr. Walker approaches treatment for her patients. For instance, she considers breathwork to be essential to one’s overall health and enjoys teaching helpful breathing techniques. She
cites “belly breathing” as one of her go-to techniques to help people eliminate stressors and truly focus and relax. As a certified yoga instructor, she even gives patients body movement exercises if she notices a restricted range of motion and identifies potential yoga poses that can assist.
What to expect
At Flowing Life Direct Health, we offer several services to fit the needs of our community,” Dr. Walker says. “The ‘Deep Dive’ Physical and Wellness Exam is for those wanting an in-depth assessment of their health that involves a virtual assessment for your complete medical history, a thorough physical assessment, orders for labs and screening exams, in-depth interpretation of those labs/ exams, nutrition guidance, and application of all results into your annual health and wellness plan. After breathwork, a head-totoe physical examination, and form completion (pre-op exam, sports physical, biometric exam), the patient’s annual health and wellness goals are planned.
Also offered are IV therapy packages for efficient and relaxing nutrient replacement for everything from vitamin deficiencies to immune-boosting and anti-aging. Flowing Life also has DPC memberships for those desiring ongoing care: a yearly Deep Dive, initial screening labs and unlimited visits — including telehealth.
“IV Infusion Therapy is a safe and effective way to receive vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients directly into your bloodstream, making them instantly accessible by the body for use,” Dr. Walker explains. “Come relax at
“You need healthcare where advocacy, convenience, and access are a given. The DPC model is a monthly or annual membership that allows our members to experience primary care as it should be — stress-free and easy going.”
H ealth 14 MARCH/APRIL 2023
— Candace M. Walker, M.D., Owner, Flowing Life Direct Health
Flowing Life Direct Health for your treatment session with our provider. You will leave feeling refreshed and energized as a result of our physician-formulated therapies.”
Benefits of IV Infusion Therapy include maintained hydration, improved vitamin absorption, increased energy levels, and continued health. In contrast, oral supplements only offer about a 30-percent absorption rate, compared to almost 100-percent absorption through IV Infusion Therapy.
Benefits to businesses
Direct Primary Care is not just built for individual member-patients. The model also can be extremely beneficial for business owners and their employees. Small business employers with 50 or fewer employees can prioritize the care employees will use and value most. Examples include easy scheduling, the convenience of virtual communication, health coaching, mental and emotional health treatment, and family care — comprehensive care for the entire family aged 15 and older, with acute care for children aged 14 and younger.
Employees of all company shapes and sizes can redefine workplace benefits. Their personalized care experience includes several significant benefits, such as on-demand care via text or video chat; reminders about lab work, screenings and vaccines; ease of booking appointments and renewing prescriptions; and keeping physicians informed about all needs.
Flowing Life is an active member of the Cobb County community, with memberships in the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, the Marietta Business Association, and The eWomen Network. Dr. Walker will continue to grow her patient panel to a maximum of 150 patients but will hire an additional practitioner to accommodate further growth beyond that threshold. She feels the premise is simple: Take control of your health.
“Health insurance is not healthcare,” Dr. Walker says. “You need healthcare where advocacy, convenience, and access are a given. The DPC model is a monthly or annual membership that allows our members
to experience primary care as it should be — stress-free and easy going.”
To be sure, diagnosis and treatment are only the beginning for DPC members. Members can be mentored in lifestyle modification to restore their bodies physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Dr. Walker’s modern, evidence-based approach to holistic health and wellness fosters a mission of helping the patient reach optimal health. n
MARCH/APRIL 2023 15
Creating Access To The Gift Of Music
By Lauren “LaLa” McBride
The Gift of Music Foundation was established in 2015 to create greater access to musical instruments, education, and the many benefits of studying music. Since then, we have been able to impact thousands of students and dozens of music programs throughout metro Atlanta. But what can we truly gain from interacting with music? Could it help prevent mental illness and set children up for successful living? The benefits are numerous, and some may surprise you!
Brain organization and stimulation begins before birth
Music and movement in the early years helps to stimulate multiple sections of the brain
simultaneously while organizing and connecting the growing brain synapses. From 4.5 months in utero, most infants are hearing and absorbing patterns, pitches, and more from their surroundings. Picture their environment inside the mother: A fetus is encompassed in the rhythm of her heartbeat and the whoosh of fluids in the womb, so rhythms are already part of their life. Studies have shown that brains are most stimulated by classical music, including an increase in blood oxygen levels and suckling in premature babies. Well-organized rhythms of music, especially those created by geniuses such as Mozart, help organize the brain to better understand math and language more easily from the start. It doesn’t make children
smarter, but it primes the brain for better processing and understanding.
In addition to musical rhythms, infants also feel and hear emotions and related muscle responses from their mother. If your infant sees or feels you jump and shriek as a fear response, for instance when you see a spider, their brain is saving that experience as how they’re supposed to handle that situation. But the same happens with positive experiences and the love they feel, as well. Therefore, keeping a more positive musical environment and modeling good responses to stress, fear, anger, and social connections is extremely important. Knowing this can help us to be more aware of how we act and
16 MARCH/APRIL 2023
Gift of Music Foundation’s Lauren McBride with participants in one of the Foundation’s baby classes.
react to our surroundings when children are around. Just because they may be too young to talk about emotions and experiences, doesn’t mean they don’t have them! A functioning ear never turns off.
Positive human connections help people learn
As infants grow into toddlers and preschoolers, they gain more awareness of their surroundings and eagerly try to connect with them. It can be exhausting for the adult caring for them, but literally everything they are experiencing is a new interest, challenge, or experience. Those are teachable moments, so use that curiosity to engage them! You might notice your child seems obsessed with cords and electrical items, or shapes like words/ numbers/puzzles. If you pay attention to those signs and figure out their learning style (visual, aural, verbal, etc.), you may realize they are showing signs of being a future mechanic/engineer, scholar, artist, or architect! You can use their interest and learning styles to help build self-esteem, follow passions, and fill the learning gaps. What better way to connect, have fun, and advance their style of learning than through music! The most important learning attributes in the birth-to-preschool age group (or people whose brains are functioning at that level) include the following:
1. Providing daily rituals to help them learn basic executive functions,
2. Giving positive experiences of love and care to learn trust, and
3. Seeking close, individual and group connections with peers and adults to learn social cues and empathy.
Quality music and movement classes provide an opportunity for all of this in one setting! If family members and teachers focus on these areas of connection, we can help children to be more prepared to learn and self-regulate (control behavior and reactions). This can prevent many issues with mental illness and help our children to be more resilient as they grow into adulthood.
Something as simple as connecting with a child’s eyes helps them feel seen and know they are worthy of attention. That alone can support good self-esteem! If a child is isolated while learning, the information is like a fleck of dust that doesn’t stick. When the same thing is learned through interaction and connection with another person (peer or adult),
it’s more like glitter that sticks firmly in memory due to the emotional, social, and physical or kinesthetic connections. More importantly, the information is learned faster and stays in their memory longer. That’s a major reason why music and movement matter so much — because it’s helping it all happen at once and includes all learning styles. Have you seen the research on schools that have students move while studying academics? It’s mind-boggling, and even when walking on a treadmill or peddling a bike with no actual music playing, they are still moving to a beat or rhythm without pitch. Think about how most of us learned our alphabet (ABC’s song), body parts (Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes), and visual stories (“Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “Wheels on the Bus”). Music has been helping children learn for generations, so let’s use that tool more in our schools and everyday environments to make life easier for both children and adults.
Developing all areas … not just a creative outlet
I’m sure you’ve heard people say things like “music is so great for creativity and freedom of expression” or “music helps people process emotions.” Those are true, but it is so much more than that! High-quality music education experiences help increase every area of development a child needs for daily life! As children move into school years and become more social, there are billions of synapses firing in the brain every second, and millions of thoughts and feelings a person is trying to decipher. It can be overwhelming! If we help brains develop better while they are
young, they will be more organized and better connected to be able to make decisions, regulate emotions, use executive functions, and learn basic skills as they age. As specific musical instruments are played, fine motor skills improve and students can become more confident by goals being set at attainable levels. Once they achieve something “easy,” they move forward with more confidence, and that cycle can continue if given positive encouragement and proper learning tools on the instrument. As children start to play in an ensemble like band or orchestra, an even larger list of developmental skills emerges. For example, literacy, math, patterns, self-esteem, abstract thinking, listening/focus, teamwork, leadership skills, and a good work ethic.
Playing in an ensemble forms a bond
Since the pandemic divided people more socially and economically, ensembles are even more important now. They give all children a place to belong … a positive social-educational setting that spans all demographics and gives members an important sense of belonging.
A common problem is that many people do not have access to musical instruments or music education, whether due to money, location, or transportation. Quality music education should be available in all schools, or at least within communities so that anyone may take part. Gift of Music is here to create access! If money is the issue, families may apply with us to receive a discounted rate based on household income and number of family members. If a school or city doesn’t have programs available, we are starting to fill that gap and offer them.
Revitalizing our children through music education
As Gift of Music began to connect with organizations, we noticed that many have initiatives for mental health issues. Children often are behind academically, and teachers are in shortage, so we kept going back to something we heard often. Prevention is easier, cheaper, and lasts longer than intervention after there’s a problem! So, what’s a long-term solution to mental illness, frustrated students/parents/ teachers, low numbers in upper-level music
MARCH/APRIL 2023 17
programs, lack of connections between communities, and more? MUSIC! So how can communities achieve this goal?
1. We can work together to provide more early childhood music education with group teacher training to add music to typical classrooms at daycares and preschools. This gives children the best possible start. We also can offer this for families in their own communities. Better mental health for children means happier children, families, and teachers.
2. We can offer more opportunities for families to experience live music being played. This promotes family bonding and grows the interest in playing an instrument. That way, children will be on target to get all the benefits music offers.
3. We can provide more opportunities for children to perform music. This can bring their confidence to a higher level and help prepare them for public speaking, interviews, and more.
4. We can provide instruments and classes to students who cannot afford them. Classes
also can be added where they are not offered. This will connect families and communities, provide more teaching jobs, and allow teens and young teachers to be trained in action.
“When my doctor and I were discussing ways to help my son [born prematurely] catch up on development, he recommended music classes! Music has already been a unifying force in our family and has helped my older children so much, so I wasn’t surprised,” says one local mother whose child has benefited from The Gift of Music Foundation’s program.
YOU can support or officially join our efforts at The Gift of Music
Do you have musical instruments gathering dust? Donate them to us! We are always in need of brass, woodwind, string, percussion, and electronic musical instruments. All instruments are welcome except for acoustic pianos and organs. We also depend on friends like you for financial gifts, sponsorships, volunteers, and ambassadors. Additionally, we provide teaching and mentoring opportunities. Keep an eye out for our new headquarters and store opening in April on Fairground Street in Marietta, across from the Cobb Civic Center.
Go to www.giftofmusic.org, email us at email@example.com, or call 770.988.5075 to find out more! n
Lauren “LaLa” McBride is now Director of Development & Community Engagement at The Gift of Music Foundation. She’s a Marietta native who has been a music educator in Cobb for 19 years.
Chattahoochee Technical College recently announced its top student and the instructor of the year. Breana Miller, a student in the college’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program, received the 2023 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) award for top student.
Mathematics Instructor Adrienne Baldwin received the college’s 2023 Rick Perkins Award for best instructor. On behalf of the Chattahoochee Tech Foundation, Board of Trustees Chair Rick Kollhoff presented a $500 cash award to Miller, and a professional development grant to Baldwin.
The GOAL and Rick Perkins Award programs are statewide initiatives of the Technical College System of Georgia to honor excellence in academics and leadership at the state’s 22 technical colleges. Through the GOAL awards program, technical college instructors across
Georgia identify their most outstanding students and nominate them based on academic achievement and personal leadership.
The Rick Perkins Award recognizes excellence in education by honoring technical college instructors who make significant contributions to technical education through innovative instruction and leadership in their fields. Instructors nominated for this award also demonstrate educational achievement along with college and community leadership.
The Chattahoochee Tech 2023 GOAL and Rick Perkins Award winners will advance to a competition with the winning students and instructors from Georgia’s other technical colleges. The state GOAL and Rick Perkins Award winners will be announced in April. For more information, visit www. ChattahoocheeTech.edu.
2023 Top Student and Instructor
Cobb Chamber Award for Three Student Finalists
Chattahoochee Tech Presents Top Student & Instructor with 2023 GOAL and Rick Perkins Awards
18 MARCH/APRIL 2023
Gift of Music Foundation band kids
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Business Leaders Honored at Cobb Chamber’s 81st Annual Dinner
This past January, the Cobb Chamber celebrated its many accomplishments of 2022 at the 81st Annual Dinner celebration, presented by Wellstar, at the Cobb Galleria Centre. More than 1,000 business and community leaders attended the black-tie optional event, including military leaders, economic development partners, and elected officials. Atlanta broadcast legend Monica Kaufman Pearson of WGCL/WPCH TV served as the event’s master of ceremonies.
The evening’s program included outgoing Chamber Chairwoman, Britt Fleck of Georgia Power, passing the leadership to 2023 Chairman Greg Teague of Croy Engineering. In her address, Fleck celebrated the collective efforts of the Chamber and how it served as a champion for businesses and the community over the past year. She highlighted the following accomplishments from 2022:
The Chamber’s SelectCobb strategy continues to exceed its goals of job recruitment and business expansion. The Chamber’s economic development team organized SelectCobb’s first outbound trade mission to Québec City. The strategy’s Workforce Taskforce launched the HR Roundtable event series and a digital Workforce Resource Guide. The Chamber also supported Kennesaw State University in the relaunch of HatchBridge, a business incubator at the KSU Center.
The Superior Plumbing VECTR Center was a 2020 advocacy item that after years in the making opened on Chattahoochee Technical College’s Marietta Campus in 2022.
The Membership Campaign fuels the Cobb Chamber’s mission and the 2022 effort raised more than $1 million through membership and advertising sales. The 2022 Membership Campaign welcomed 368 new members to the Cobb Chamber.
During the evening, Fleck presented several awards to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to enhance the quality of the Chamber’s programming and the quality of life in Cobb.
The 2023 Len Gilbert Award was given to Joyette Holmes of Gregory, Doyle, Calhoun & Rogers, and Pete Quinones of MetroAtlanta Ambulance Service. This award is presented to an outstanding board member who, through his or her leadership, commitment and dedication, achieved new heights for a Chamber initiative, program or event. Holmes and Quinones served as 2022 Strategic Planning Co-Chairs, recruiting a large steering committee, leading thoughtful conversations, and attending multiple focus groups and meetings. The pair helped to facilitate a process to develop a five-year plan that addresses the county’s most pressing economic and community needs.
The 2023 Chairman’s Award was presented to Sonya Grant of WorkSource Cobb, a dedicated partner to the Chamber and an active member of the SelectCobb Workforce Taskforce, a 2022 committee devoted to finding solutions to address current workforce challenges. The award is presented to an individual for outstanding leadership, dedication, enthusiasm, and commitment to the Cobb Chamber. Grant led the ReAlign ReStart Program, a workforce development effort between the Cobb County Sheriff’s Department, WorkSource Cobb, Construction Ready, and the Cobb Chamber. The program trains and prepares inmates for jobs in skilled trades, like construction and welding, and gives these individuals important skills needed to find their next job.
The 2023 Mack Henderson Public Service Award was presented to Dr. Kat Schwaig of Kennesaw State University. This award recognizes an individual who embodies the philanthropic legacy of Mack Henderson through outstanding commitment and dedication to building a better quality of life for the citizens of Cobb County. Under her leadership, Kennesaw State University is helping students find their passion and purpose to experience success. She has placed focused attention on enrollment growth, the University’s research infrastructure, and engaging first-year students. Dr. Schwaig also relaunched a business incubator. HatchBridge welcomes innovators from throughout the community and offers access to courses, funding opportunities, mentors, office space, and networking all tailored to start-ups.
Fleck’s final award of the evening, the 2023 Dr. Robert A. Lipson Award , was presented to Dr. Ron Newcomb of Chattahoochee Technical College, whose critical role in developing the Superior Plumbing VECTR Center were recognized for its significant impact within the Cobb community. The award is presented to someone who is a visionary, a friend, a mentor, and a leader. In addition to his contributions to the success of the Superior Plumbing VECTR Center, Dr. Newcomb has played a critical role in both the launch and growth of the Cobb Workforce Partnership. His passion for technical education and his commitment to Cobb has led to a valuable resource to our veterans for generations to come.
The Marietta Daily Journal presented its 2022 Cobb County Citizen of the Year Award to Dr. Dwight “Ike” Reighard of MUST Ministries. The Journal has presented this award since 1963 at the Cobb Chamber Annual Dinner. n
Dr. Kat Schwaig
Dr. Ron Newcomb
Greg Teague and Britt Fleck
Dr. Ike Reighard
20 MARCH/APRIL 2023
Pete Quinones and Joyette Holmes
Chattahoochee Technical College Celebrates 60th Anniversary
This is a milestone year for Chattahoochee Technical College, which is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the school’s first campus and facility. The school began with one building in 1963 at the college’s current 980 South Cobb Drive location in Marietta.
Originally known as Marietta-Cobb Area Vocational Technical School, the school was established through the joint efforts of the Marietta City Board of Education and the State Board of Vocational Education. When that first building opened on Sept. 3, 1963 (for 120 students), the programs of study included Electronics; Electricity; Machine Drafting and Design; Practical Nursing; Radio and Television Repair; Machine Shop; Cosmetology; and Business Education.
The evolution of Chattahoochee Tech over the past 60 years has been grounded in dynamic enrollment for programs of study designed to meet Georgia’s workforce needs. To accommodate growing student enrollment in its early years, the college added classroom space at the Marietta Campus. The college then established additional campus locations in South Cobb, Paulding County, and East Cobb. The college’s South Cobb Campus opened in 1995 followed the next year by the opening of the Chattahoochee Tech Paulding Campus. In 2000, the college opened its Mountain View Campus in East Cobb. Between 1987 and 2000, the college was known as Chattahoochee Technical Institute until the Georgia Legislature converted the names of all accredited technical institutes to technical colleges.
“Chattahoochee Tech has a strong history of preparing students with the workforce skills and experience they need to achieve successful careers,” said Chattahoochee Tech President Dr. Newcomb. “We are very proud of the fact that our graduates are meeting the demand from local employers for highly skilled employees to fill well-paying jobs available in our community.”
One of the most significant milestones in the 60-year history of Chattahoochee Tech involved the 2009 merger with two other colleges — Appalachian Technical College in Pickens County and North Metro Technical College in Bartow County. Appalachian Technical College had been established in 1967 as Pickens Area Vocational Technical School in Jasper. North Metro Technical College had been established in 1989 as North Metro Technical Institute. With the 2009 merger of the three colleges, representatives from the Board of Directors of these colleges adopted the name of Chattahoochee Technical College for the single college.
A Unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, Chattahoochee Tech is now the largest technical college in the state. In addition to the Chattahoochee Tech campuses in Bartow, Cobb, Paulding and Pickens counties, there are two campuses in Cherokee county. An additional Chattahoochee Tech campus is under construction in Paulding County for the college’s $35 million Aviation Training Academy.
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MARCH/APRIL 2023 21
It Takes A Village
SafePath creates a safe, neutral, child friendly environment for children during allegations of child abuse.
By Lindsay Field Penticuff
22 MARCH/APRIL 2023
MARCH/APRIL 2023 23
Back row from left to right: SafePath board members Callie Andrews, Itrellis Ross, Brett Cannon, Sean Ferrell, Kristin Reed, Dan Cushing. Front row left to right: Pam Martin, Jinger Robins and Barbie Brown.
There is strength in numbers, and when it comes to the work SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center Inc. is doing in the community, those numbers are reflected not only in the staff at the Marietta-headquartered nonprofit, but with those who choose to dedicate their time serving on the board of directors.
“When I think of the strength of our board, their various backgrounds and experiences are the foundation that enables and propels them to have the vision and courage to take the steps in today’s world to do what it takes to support the thousands of children in Cobb County and surrounding areas who SafePath serves,” says Jinger Robins, CEO, SafePath.
Robins, who began her career with SafePath in 1995 as the organization’s first executive director, truly believe it takes a village to lead what can sometimes be a challenging and exhausting role, yet is extremely rewarding.
Founded in 1983, SafePath’s vision is a community free of child abuse. They offer clinical, forensic, intervention and medical programs to children who are victims of child abuse, and they are dedicated to improving the lives of children who have been involved in cases of alleged child abuse. But that vision isn’t something that can happen overnight or with just a handful of professionals trained in working with children and families who have experienced trauma.
“I truly believe that SafePath’s success, progress, and sustainability is directly related to the diversity, commitment, and dedication of our board,” Robins says. “Boards members are like children, all moving in the same direction as they grow, mature, and accomplish goals that will help them succeed in life.”
And while Robins believes SafePath’s board is unmatched in what they are doing to support the community, board members say the organization wouldn’t — and couldn’t — be successful without Robins, her team, and their dedicated service to the community. “Jinger is really amazing,” says Dan Cushing, SafePath board president. “She’s an outstanding leader and very focused on the mission — not just daily, but hourly.”
Cushing, a partner at Ernst & Young LLP, was introduced to SafePath about five years ago by his close friend, Jeff Brown, who was serving on the board and in charge of the organization’s annual gala at the time. “I have four kids of my own and we live in Cobb County, so it just resonated with me when he was telling me about the mission,” says Cushing.
He also grew up in the Midwest and would sometimes travel with his basketball team to inner city Detroit, Michigan. “Looking back on it now, you could see on the kids’ faces where they had been hit, because there was definitely some sort of abuse going on there,” he recalls.
“[The board’s] involvement, the effort and energy they give, has been amazing.”
–Dan Cushing, SafePath Board President, and Partner, Ernst & Young LLP
24 MARCH/APRIL 2023
Left to right: SafePath board members Sean Ferrell, Kristin Reed, Itrellis Ross, and Dan Cushing.
He also served in the Marine Corps, so it wasn’t unusual, he says, to hear horrifying stories from Marines who joined the military to get away from dangerous environments at home. Cushing was named president about two years after his first introduction to SafePath and has enjoyed serving on the board.
“I’m always overwhelmed with the other board members who I work with continuously,” he shares. “They run across a breadth of different professions and have different backgrounds, all in some way, shape or form tying into the mission and the board. But their involvement, the effort and energy they give, has been amazing.”
And with that energy comes Sean Ferrell, SafePath’s board treasurer who has served the organization for a little over a decade. “I’m thankful to be in a position to give back to
my community; to be able to represent such an amazing company; and to be able to assist such an amazing organization. …We have some really tough things going on in society today,” says Ferrell, senior vice president and chief financial officer at LGE Community Credit Union.
Ferrell was introduced to SafePath through his work with the LGE Community Outreach Foundation, which was created nearly 15 years ago to take community giving to a corporate level. To date, they’ve donated $2 million to the communities LGE serves. “At the time, a really good friend of mine who helped
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“I feel like SafePath is creating an environment for those abused children to find their hero.”
–Sean Ferrell, SafePath Board Treasurer, and SVP/CFO, LGE Community Credit Union
MARCH/APRIL 2023 25
Raise your hand to volunteer! SafePath board members are the backbone of the non-profit organization.
SafePath’s Board of Directors
• (President) Dan Cushing, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP
• (Vice President) Itrellis Ross, Director of Member Care, Cobb EMC
• (Treasurer), Sean Ferrell, SVP/Chief Financial Officer, LGE Community Credit Union
• (Secretary), Kristen Reed, Realtor, The Reed Group, Atlanta Co.
• Callie Andrews, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Wellstar Kennestone and Windy Hill Hospitals
• Barbie Brown, Corporate/Financial Executive Recruiter, Coastal Consulting and Recruiting
• Kristina Brown, Owner/Proprietor, Governors Gun Club
• Brett Cannon, CEO, ApolloMD
• Hunter Carlson, Director–Strategic Advisory Services, Covalus
• Lee Johnson, Senior Vice President of Commercial Banking, Wells Fargo Bank
us set up the 501(C)3 was a board member at SafePath and was rolling off the board,” Ferrell says. “He asked me to sort of step in … and I vividly remember meeting Jinger at our Christmas Breakfast. The rest is history!”
Ferrell fell in love with the passion Robins has for SafePath, and says he believes in what she’s helped to build within the organization, so he tries every day to support her in that mission of moving it forward. After serving on the board and four as treasurer, Ferrell says that being a board member and having the ability to see the inner workings of an organization like SafePath is tough at times, but it’s also amazing what they can get accomplished with such limited resources.
“I truly believe in sweat equity,” he adds. “I can sit back and easily give a financial donation and give a shout out, but if you really believe in something, then you’re willing to get down in the dirt and in the mud and work. That’s how I feel about SafePath. I am willing to give that to this organization because I believe in what they do.”
Ferrell, whose parents are a retired school teacher and the owner of three childcare centers, says he’s been around children his entire life. He vividly remembers as a child understanding that some of the children his mother cared for had something going on with them at home and how impactful that was. But he also remembers wondering who helped those children.
“When you’re a child and you’re sick, you go to the doctor. When you’re a child and you need legal assistance, you find a police officer. But when you are abused, specifically sexually abused, there’s not necessarily a named hero. However, I feel like SafePath is creating an environment for those abused children to find their hero,” says Ferrell.
And that hero needs a village of supporters. “I think we could probably take that statement to another level,” Ferrell says.
“Because even though it takes a village, within that village, relationships are built, and I am a firm believer that life is about creating and fostering relationships, and what Jinger has done to position SafePath as a legitimate mitigating impactful, even preventive, organization as it pertains to sexual abuse of children, is absolutely amazing. Those relationships have allowed her to sort of harness the community’s resources.”
Another one of those resources is Genuine Parts Company, where Ferrell’s wife works. “I had the opportunity to meet the executive team and introduce them to SafePath and they, again, stepped up to the plate, and they support SafePath tremendously,” Ferrell adds. “It’s relationships and business partnerships that we make selectively to create that village that Jinger so eloquently speaks of.”
Kristen Reed, a realtor with Atlanta Communities Brokerage, definitely understands the importance of partnerships in creating a community that is safe for children. “Families moving to Cobb County with children need to know they are moving into a safe community,” says Reed.
She first volunteered at SafePath 10 years ago after a mutual friend who served in the Crimes Against Children Unit told Reed that she needed to meet Robins because he felt they had the same heart for children. Reed quickly became involved as a board member and now serves as the secretary of the board and is dedicated to helping make sure SafePath remains strong — both today and in the future.
Itrellis Ross, a longtime SafePath supporter, as well as the board’s vice president and a member of the organization’s Special Events Committee, adds, “It takes all of us working together to educate our children, our communities, and each other on the importance of protecting our children. By working together, we can raise the necessary
26 MARCH/APRIL 2023
SafePath’s vision is a community free of child abuse. They offer clinical, forensic, intervention and medical programs to children who are victims of child abuse.
funds to support SafePath to continue providing programs to protect and heal our children. It takes all of us to protect the children who can’t protect themselves.”
Ross, who is director of Member Care at Cobb EMC, first learned about SafePath in 2000 from a co-worker. “As a child growing up, seeing news stories on TV about children being abused stuck with me, and I wanted to help but couldn’t because I was a child myself,” she recalls. “I promised myself that when I grew up, I would do what I could to help protect children.”
So, when she had the opportunity through her employer to do volunteer work, Ross says she spoke with a co-worker about the type of volunteer work she was interested in doing and the type of organization she’d like to work with. “I was given a pamphlet on SafePath,” she says. “I reached out to Jinger for a tour, and she asked me if I was interested in serving on the board. I felt honored and said ‘yes.’”
And for more than 20 years, Ross has continued that honor of helping protect children by her service as a volunteer and on the board.
“SafePath is a great organization that we all wish didn’t exist, but due to the crucial realities of this world, SafePath must exist to protect children,” Ross says. “SafePath is an asset because we are that safe place for children. At SafePath, children can tell their stories in a child-friendly environment with trained professionals who know how to talk to children and let them tell their stories. The well-being of children is our top priority. I am biased, but I feel that SafePath has the best therapists and programs for children.”
One such program includes the muchneeded medical program, which is supported by a Wellstar Health System pediatric nurse
practitioner who provides services to children younger than 18 years old who have been or are purported to have been sexually abused, physically abused and/or neglected.
Wellstar Kennestone and Windy Hill Hospitals Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Callie Andrews also serves on the board. She first learned about SafePath from retired Wellstar Chief Pediatric Officer, Avril Beckford, MD, upon joining the local health system in 2016. “Dr. Beckford was always a huge supporter of SafePath and has introduced many Wellstar leaders to the organization,” Andrews says. “SafePath is an instrumental advocacy center within the Cobb community. As an advocacy center, their entire focus is supporting and improving the lives of children who have been abused. The unique, personalized, and coordinated care the center provides to children in unimaginable circumstances is invaluable.”
Andrews has served on the board for four years and adds that she continues to do so because of the organization’s leadership and their deep commitment to SafePath, their work, and community impact. “When it comes to child abuse situations, it absolutely ‘takes a village’ to care for the child and pursue the case. SafePath brings together a multidisciplinary team, from child protection and law enforcement to legal, medical, and mental health professionals to care for the whole situation in a safe and coordinated environment,” concludes Andrews.
And while the phrase “It takes a village” is used to indicate a sense of community when raising a child, SafePath’s board truly represents the sense of values and dedication it takes to sustain the local organization and help build a community needed to protect our children.
To learn more, visit safepath.org.
SafePath Events 2023
March 24, 2023 - March 26, 2023
2023 Atkins Gold Classic benefitting SafePath
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Cobblestone Gold Course
Hearing Children’s Voices
Saturday, August 12, 2023
“The unique, personalized and coordinated care the center provides to children in unimaginable circumstances is invaluable.”
–Callie Andrews, SafePath Board Member, and Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Wellstar Kennestone and Windy Hill Hospitals
Georgia Food + WIne Festival
MARCH/APRIL 2023 27
Siblings In Foster Care are Better Together
By Kevin Scott
I n Your Community
28 MARCH/APRIL 2023
You may be surprised to learn that a significant number of sibling groups in foster care are separated at some point during their time in foster care. Now imagine their surprise. On the same day that these children are finding out they are not returning to their home, to their parents, and sometimes even to their school or community, these already traumatize kids also are told that they are not being placed with their brothers and sisters. No child should have to receive this news. That is why Goshen Homes believes that siblings are better together.
One of four agencies at The Goshen Valley Foundation, Goshen Homes is a non-profit child placement agency based in Canton, Georgia. Goshen Homes recruits, trains, licenses, and supports foster parents working with sibling groups in foster care. The organization focuses on helping children in the foster care system by collaborating with the community to provide children with a better life and more substantial outcomes. Goshen Homes is committed to serving sibling groups, as they believe that siblings in foster care shouldn’t be separated.
Four Steps to Fostering
Research shows that positive relationships between siblings brings less loneliness, higher self-worth, and fewer behavioral problems for children in foster care. When siblings are allowed to remain together, it brings a sense of safety and well-being. Siblings in foster care not only care for one another, but they provide mutual support and opportunities for each other to heal while maintaining their feelings of belonging.
Info Session — The first step in fostering with Goshen is a simple Zoom call or meeting with one of our staff. This is when you can get your initial questions answered and meet some of the staff who will be supporting you along your journey.
Complete Training — IMPACT foster parent training equips you with the tools you will need as a foster parent. In each session, you’ll also collaborate with other new foster parents. In the end, you will walk away prepared to begin your fostering journey with Goshen Homes.
Get Licensed — The licensing stage is where we diligently ensure your home and family is ready in every aspect for the challenges and blessings fostering can bring. Goshen Homes staff will walk you through paperwork and home preparations to complete your licensing.
Start Fostering — Your paperwork is turned in. Your training is completed. Your home is licensed. Now it’s time to start fostering! Your support from Goshen Homes doesn’t end here. You’ll be equipped with continuous training and oncall staff support along the way.
Learn more at FosterWithGoshen.org.
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Research shows that positive relationships between siblings brings less loneliness, higher self-worth, and fewer behavioral problems for children in foster care.
I n Your Community
How you can help
Becoming a foster parent can be a scary process, and Goshen’s job is to make it as simple and straightforward as possible. On the previous page, you will see Goshen Homes’ Four Steps to Fostering, and you also can learn more by downloading their fostering guide at FosterWithGoshen.org. The organization’s aim is to let potential foster parents know what to expect when fostering with Goshen. A few other things that set them apart are:
Destiny’s life is forever changed because of her Goshen Homes foster parents.
Destiny came to Goshen Homes in 2021 where she was placed into a foster home with her siblings. In school, Destiny was told that she was too far behind in classes to graduate with her 2022 class.
With the support of her foster parents, Destiny rose up to the challenge and worked hard to complete all of her classes on time to graduate.
“They are like my biological parents. I call them mom and dad; my little siblings call them mom and dad,” Destiny says.
Destiny’s plan is to go into law enforcement and serve on an EMT unit. Her heart is for serving and helping those who may be in a similar situation to what she was in not long ago.
Licensing speed. For families who turn in paperwork quickly, Goshen can go from interest meeting to having a sibling group placed in your home in less than six months. Training. All Goshen Homes foster parents are trained in “Together Facing the Challenge,” an evidence-based therapeutic foster care model. This training equips you to understand and best help the children placed in your home. Support. Goshen Homes maintains a case management ratio of 11 youth per case manager. This means their team will have
What’s different about fostering with Goshen? Goshen Homes foster parents get licensed quicker, receive more support from case managers with smaller case sizes, and receive the best training possible to equip them to create great outcomes for the youth in their homes!
How much room do I need in my house to foster? Foster youth of the same gender can share a bedroom, so as long as you have one open bedroom, you can foster with Goshen.
How many kids would I have to foster with Goshen? 75% of siblings get separated during their time in foster care, and part of our mission is to help siblings stay together. Because of this, all Goshen Homes foster parents commit to placements of two or more children.
Can I foster if I am renting a house or apartment? Yes! Home ownership is not a requirement for fostering with Goshen.
adequate time to help no matter what challenges you may face.
By becoming a foster parent, you will join a community of like-minded individuals dedicated to improving the lives of siblings in foster care. If you or someone you know have the desire to make a difference in the lives of children and are interested in learning more about the foster care process, contact Kevin Scott at Kscott@goshenvalley.org, or download Goshen’s Fostering Guide at FosterWithGoshen.org. n
What counties do you work with?
Goshen licenses foster homes located in Cherokee, Cobb, Bartow, Paulding, and Pickens Counties.
What is respite foster care?
A respite foster parent gets fully licensed to foster, but rather than having children placed in their home full-time, they serve as a temporary placement. This scheduling is done at the availability of the respite parent and often consists of date nights for the primary foster parent, emergency coverage, or special events. Respite parents often describe their role as being “cool aunt or uncle” to a foster child.
Can single people foster? Yes! Some of our best foster parents are single, especially many of our respite parents.
I have other questions. Who should I contact to get answers? Email questions to Kscott@ goshenvalley.org
Learn more at FosterWithGoshen.org.
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Bubbles & Brews
Drink-Vote-Repeat in this month-long celebration of Cobb’s beverage producers.
By Cory Sekine-Pettite
Cobb County is fortunate to have many adult beverage producers within its borders. These companies, whose numbers grow every year, not only contribute substantially to the local economy, they also help to garner national attention for Cobb as these breweries and distilleries win national awards and win over discerning customers throughout the country who always are on the hunt for smallbatch spirits and beers.
In 2022, to recognize these companies, Cobb Travel & Tourism launched an initiative called Bubbles & Brews, a celebration that takes place during the entire month of March in which craft beverage enthusiasts can travel to all of Cobb’s breweries, distilleries, meaderies, and wineries to sample each location’s unique beverages. Participants use a physical or digital “BrewPass” passport to guide them to each location to collect stamps and return the BrewPass to Cobb Travel & Tourism to earn prizes. Last year, Bubbles & Brews made nearly 159,000 impressions
online, and Cobb Travel & Tourism distributed 3,000 physical BrewPasses and more than 650 digital BrewPasses to interested participants.
“Cobb is currently home to 19 craft beverage locations, each with their own special story and unique offerings,” said Holly Quinlan, President & CEO of Cobb Travel & Tourism, in a news release after last year’s event. “The craft beverage industry in our community continues to thrive, and serves as a year-round tourism attraction for both our residents and visitors. We are so proud that these business owners have chosen to call Cobb County home and add to the growing list of reasons why Cobb is Atlanta’s sweet spot.”
The breweries, distilleries, meaderies, and wineries will host special Bubbles & Brews events throughout the month that will feature fun activities and themed giveaways where guests can earn double stamps in their BrewPass. Visitors will have the chance to vote online for their favorite best-sellers, special brews, and various other categories. For more
Participating Bubbles & Brews producers
ASW Distillery (Cumberland)
Atlanta Hard Cider Co. & Distillery (Marietta)
Broken Anchor Winery (Acworth)
Burnt Hickory Brewery (Kennesaw)
Dry County Brewing Company (Kennesaw)
Glover Park Brewery (Marietta)
Horned Owl Brewing (Kennesaw)
Ironmonger Brewing Company (Marietta)
Lazy Guy Distillery (Kennesaw)
information and to secure your passes, visit bubblesandbrews.com.
Speaking of favorites, last year’s winning beverages and beverage makers in the inaugural Bubbles & Brews consisted of the following:
• Best Bubbles & Brews Beverage: Red Hare Brewing & Distilling – The Jolly Ranchare
• Best Flagship Beverage: Broken Anchor Winery – Blueberry Sunset
• Most Creative Beverage Name: Schoolhouse Brewing – Cosmic Junk Punch
• Best Patio Vibes: Horned Owl Brewing
• Best Live Music: Horned Owl Brewing
• Sweetest Game Spot: Schoolhouse Brewing
• Most Likely To Get You Into An Uber or Lyft: Burnt Hickory Brewery
• Most Instagrammable: Glover Park Brewery
• Most Likely To Make Your Facebook Friends Jealous: Dry County Brewing Co.
• Most Kid-Friendly: Reformation Brewery
• Most Dog-Friendly: Red Top Brewhouse
• Sweetest Brew Team: Dry County Brewing Co. n
Red Hare Brewing & Distilling (Marietta)
Red Hare – Still On the Square (Marietta)
Red Top Brewhouse (Acworth)
Reformation Brewery (Smyrna)
Schoolhouse Brewing (Marietta)
Shezmu Cellars (Marietta)
Skint Chestnut Brewing Company (Powder Springs)
Terrapin Taproom (Cumberland)
Treehorn Cider (Marietta)
Viking Alchemist Meadery (Smyrna)
Arts & Recreation
MARCH/APRIL 2023 31
By Cory Sekine-Pettite
March is National Sleep Awareness Month, which is all about improving sleep hygiene and the benefits of great sleep. What is “sleep hygiene?” According to the Sleep Foundation, strong sleep hygiene means having both a bedroom environment and daily routines that promote consistent, unin-
terrupted sleep. Keeping a stable sleep schedule, making your bedroom comfortable and free of disruptions, following a relaxing prebed routine, and building healthy habits during the day can all contribute to ideal sleep hygiene, the organization reports.
We all know that we should be getting consistent and lengthy rest every night (6-8 hours,
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the experts suggest), but how many of us are able to do that? There are countless obstructions and distractions that keep many of us from sleeping well. I’ve written on these pages before about my own issues with sleep. The pandemic only served to make those issues more difficult to manage. I’m sure many of you have had similar experiences during the past three years. While I still never know what kind of night I’ll have once my head hits the pillow, I do know what sleep hygiene techniques have worked for me.
Although there are numerous gadgets and gizmos on the market whose makers promise better sleep, I have refused to just throw money at my problem. Instead, I’ve gone for a more practical — some might say, obvious — approach. Truly, these small changes seem to work for me, and when I stray, I’m punished immediately. The single most important practice that provides the best slumber is a consistent sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day (even on the weekends) just puts my body clock at ease. And one late night can ruin it for days.
Of secondary importance is my caffeine intake. I love coffee, and I’ll never give it up. But I do know my limitations. Rarely can I have a second cup in the morning without regretting it that night. So, I adapted by drinking decaf when the mood strikes for more brew. The final component in my routine that seems to improve my sleep is exercise. Yes, my work schedule and home life often can interfere with my intent to exercise — and so does a restless night. But when I do make the time to go for a run, I sleep better. Share with us: What techniques work best for you? n
F inal Focus
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opportunities in Cobb In Focus magazine and these Cobb County websites, contact Jamie Ryan at 770-650-1102, ext. 142 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
32 MARCH/APRIL 2023
SMALL ACTIONS, BIG SAVINGS
We know life can be hectic, but saving energy should be easy. Cobb EMC is here to help you make smart energy choices. Practicing good energy efficiency habits can save you up to 25% on your electric bill. Because even the smallest actions can lead to big savings. Get energy efficiency tips so you can save at cobbemc.com/save.