The Avenue Supports School System’s CARE Program

Wed, 11/19/2008 - 10:02am
By: The Citizen

The Avenue Supports School System’s CARE Program

A partnership between the Fayette County School System’s CARE (Children at Risk in Education) program and The Avenue Peachtree City has helped enrich the lives of students and their families who are in need.

Over a year ago, the shopping center teamed up with the CARE program by making it the beneficiary of all charitable contributions collected through programs hosted at The Avenue including Camp Avenue, Movies in the Park and Holiday at The Avenue. Although the programs are complimentary, patrons are asked to make a voluntary donation. CARE Coordinator Karen Spangler estimates that last year alone the shopping center raised over $3,000 for the program.

“We are very grateful to The Avenue for all that they have done to help our students in need. This is a great partnership that has helped bring attention to the CARE program and the fact that there are students and families in our schools who need assistance. Their support has helped to make many lives much better,” Spangler says.

The Avenue recently gave the CARE program $565 that was raised through Movies in the Park and one Camp Avenue session, along with a box of donated school supplies. The monetary donation will be used to fund After School Program (ASP) scholarships for working families who cannot afford the tuition. The school supplies will be made available to students in need at various schools. Spangler estimates that the money raised will fund approximately three ASP scholarships.

“This is very important in that it can mean the difference between a student being able to stay with his or her family or being placed in foster care,” Spangler says.

School social worker Michelle Martin knows first-hand the positive impact the CARE program has on students. That is why she answered a call from Spangler last month for volunteers to help with Movies in the Park.

“I popped popcorn and enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve had students who have been impacted by the CARE program and this was a way for me to give something back,” Martin says.

The CARE program is unique in that all proceeds go toward helping needy students. The program carefully screens students and their families who receive assistance; no money is ever given directly to parents or students. To qualify for assistance, all adults in the household must be employed but unable to meet the needs for which they are requesting assistance.

“I think this is what sets us apart from other programs. We don’t just hand money over. Families have to prove that they are trying but are unable to make ends meet. We constantly monitor those who receive assistance to see if their situation has changed,” Spangler explains.

The Avenue’s next program benefitting CARE will be Holiday at The Avenue every Sunday November 30-December 21 from 1-6 p.m.. There will be complimentary carriage rides and photos with Santa, and in exchange, participants will be asked to make a donation to CARE.

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