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.
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.
ReNew partners with organizations, sponsors, and community members to help increase the wellbeing of economically disadvantaged and otherwise marginalized segments of the community. Through Fill My Backpack, Renew distributes backpacks filled with healthful snacks to metro Atlanta elementary-school students who are receiving reduced or free lunches. Representatives of the program maintain contact with the children's families in order to make sure they have enough to eat during holidays as well as during spring and summer breaks.
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.