When he isn’t exploring underwater or volunteering at the Georgia Aquarium, Jacob Moore, founder and owner of Living Water Conservation and Scuba Inc. and The Order of Atlantis, shares his scuba knowledge with students during classes. A NAUI-certified scuba instructor, Jacob leads courses that range from skin-diver and scuba certification to advanced scuba-diving and instructor courses. He also leads expeditions during which students and instructors alike can use their skills to explore reefs, caves, and wildlife at destinations such as Ginnie Springs, Panama City, and Ponce de Leon, Florida.
Erica McDonald became a teenage mother while still in high school at the age of 16. She worked hard to graduate and gain her bachelor's degree in teaching and has since striven to help other young people accomplish similar goals. As part of this aim, she founded Treasurechest Learning Systems, which combines a specially designed curriculum of seminars for teens and presentations for parents to help teens return to school after childbirth and achieve future success and self-sufficiency.
The organization's program works with teenagers to determine what they need to accomplish to graduate, and creates plans of action for attending postsecondary school or finding places in the workforce. Participants are required to complete at least three applications for postsecondary education or jobs. Should students decide to pursue a resultant opportunity, Treasurechest Learning Systems can identify useful social services and provide transportation for a limited time, application fees, uniforms, and shoes to achieve this goal.
A trio of volunteers—Ami Ciontos, Liz Henderson, and Jillian Udelson—has a special place in their hearts for pit bulls. They founded the Atlanta Bully Rally in honor of National Pit Bull Awareness Day, exposed a fraudulent pit-bull rescue group, and organized fundraisers to sterilize and rehome pit bulls. As part of the Atlanta Underdog Initiative, they spend their spare time protecting pit bulls and finding them adoptive homes. When the three discover bully-breed dogs in dangerous situations, they step in to rescue the dogs and then find them adoptive homes with responsible and well-educated pet owners. They also care for local pit bulls by delivering dog food and flea care to owners, driving dogs to veterinary appointments, and vaccinating puppies against diseases.
Alzheimer's Association Georgia Chapter provides services for people living with Alzheimer’s, as well as support and respite programs for their families. The chapter aims to enroll six people in the MedicAltert + Safe Return program to provide emergency assistance for people who wander. Enrollment in the program includes an ID bracelet or pendant, access to a 24-hour emergency toll-free phone line, a personalized emergency wallet card, a personal-health record, and an informational magnet.
Since banding together in 1979, the historians at Atlanta Preservation Center have helped ward off packs of angry bulldozers from more than 175 endangered buildings. Working alongside local government, businesses, and community leaders, the preservation team has saved elaborate structures including the Peters House and Winecoff Hotel. In addition, its headquarters—the 1856 Grant Mansion in Grant Park—is one of just three antebellum houses left in Atlanta and the team is currently working to restore the building to its architecturally accurate origins. When it isn’t keeping delicate treasures from crumbling, the Atlanta Preservation Center leads walking tours of historic areas and tells embarrassing stories from the days when the city’s buildings were just a bunch of baby bricks.
Piedmont Park preserves the luxury of yesteryear. Designed in the late 1800s, the park's facilities have withstood the test of time with recreational halls that reflect the simplicity of its lush landscapes, and wetlands. Over the past 20 years, the Piedmont Park Conservancy has restored the park to its historic natural beauty, transforming a dilapidated space into a frequented green space. A slew of activities engage the community with outdoor programs ranging from environmental day camps to team sports such as soccer and softball. Park tours explore the history of the neighborhood and the weekly Green Market whets appetites with fresh produce from local farmers and thieving rabbits.