Encore graduates its first class

Tue, 04/07/2009 - 3:43pm
By: Carolyn Cary

Fayette Alliance Coordinating Teamwork Outreach and Resources, otherwise known as FACTOR is an organization that is able to bring together diverse people and organizations. It is a community collaborative partnership with a board of directors representing the school system, faith based organizations, local governments, social and civic groups, and non-profit organizations, as well as family members.

"FACTOR is a 501(c)3 to that it can receive gifts, funds and grants to provide umbrella funds to our county collaboratives," said Becky Smith, executive director.

Its newest outreach program, ENCORE, is a non-profit community based program designed to prepare, challenge and engage seniors in a broad range of community programs. It was the brainchild of Tom Hamall, a retired leadership instructor.

In January of this year, 30 area seniors signed up for this first-ever course designed to instruct them on all the ins and outs of the county, so that they can volunteer their services to one of almost two dozen non-profit organizations in the county.

The class traveled to the various town halls, the Justice Center, the Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Education, Fayette Senior Services, and the Piedmont Fayette Hospital.

They heard from judges, mayors, the county historian, directors of several recreation departments, and executive directors of the non-profits, among others.

After nine intensive weeks of "training," graduation was held at the Towne Club in

Peachtree City.

The first-ever course was under the auspices of Clayton State University Fayette Campus, and the graduates received college credit.

They have signed up to now volunteer their time with such groups as the Mentor Program with School System, create a Mentor Program for juveniles in the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Drug Court, DFCS, and Advo-Kids CASA, a court appointed special advocates to provide efficient advocacy for the deprived children in the county, among others.

"We are very proud of this program," said Smith, "and the expertise these graduates will bring. The fact that the state is also looking at this program and would like to take it to other Georgia cities, also lets us know we're doing something worthwhile."

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