The tireless, all-volunteer team of court-appointed special advocates (CASA) at Children's Voice: CASA, Inc. give a voice to the unheard children of Douglas County. A chapter of the National CASA and Georgia CASA, the local outpost advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children involved in juvenile-court deprivation proceedings, speaking up for the needs of children who might otherwise get lost in the overburdened legal and social-services system. The volunteers—each of whom has completed 30 hours of pre-service training and 10 hours of court observation—take on a wide range of responsibilities on behalf of children, including gathering information, appearing in court, seeking solutions, and explaining the process to the child.
Conceived in Seattle in 1976, National CASA originated as a way to empower abused and neglected children. Nationwide, advocates have helped more than two million children find safe, permanent homes since the organization’s founding. In the last year alone, volunteers have represented 243,000 children—about half of the children in the country’s child-welfare system at a given time.
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The Creation Academy was founded by fashion maven Summer G in 2009, and gives children a chance to learn the ins and outs of clothing design. The creative force behind Yces Haute, Summer G has designed for such icons as Nicki Minaj, D. Woods, and Rocsi. Along with ongoing fashion camps and one-time workshops, The Creation Academy hosts kid-friendly celebrations that include refreshments and art materials. And now that the state has lifted its ban on adult creativity, Summer also hosts grownup parties where guests bedazzle denim, T-shirts, and shoes.
In addition to a full range of cardio machines and free weights, WellStar Health Place's expansive fitness center hosts a welcoming staff of degreed exercise specialists, health-care professionals, and licensed dietitians. As well as custom-tailoring personal-training sessions, the exercise specialists lead group classes for all ages, including yoga, cardio, and Zumba classes. A mere hop, skip, and Olympic-record lunge away from the indoor, heated swimming pool, licensed massage therapists indulge tired tendons with a combination of Swedish, deep-tissue, and trigger-point techniques. A nursery staff tends to children aged 6 weeks to 11 years while adults work out, and afterward, the friendly fruitsmiths at Planet Smoothie's in-house location dish out refreshing, high-protein beverages to replenish waning moisture levels.
During summer months, camp counselors at Learning For Your Future help kids in first through eighth grades explore their creativity and learn valuable skills. Their day camps incorporate indoor and outdoor activities in areas such as music, dance, math, and art. The day camps can also help kids develop skills in sports.
Owners Monica Webb, Helena Thornfeldt, and Deborah Schjodt, a trio of former professional athletes, foster their life-long love of competition with 10 Diamond tables and replenish nutrients with inspired American fare. Dominate on the sweeping emerald, fueled by a full bar with more than nine taps and unlimited cue sharpenings. The menu, a profusion of time-tested fodder, includes wings tossed in 11 different sauces ($7.49 for 10), the classic Stix burger ($6.99), and the Sledgehammer sandwich, a soaring duet of salami and roast beef accompanied by warm provolone baritone ($7.99). Pizza rolls encase troves of toppings, such as ham, jalapeños, and bacon, in a hearty, hand-tossed crust ($6.99), much like Chef Boyardee smuggles secret recipes in his hat.
Sacred Garden Yoga founder Cindy Olah discovered a love for nature growing up in Peru. She’s fused that passion with yoga instruction by leading retreats in the mountains of North Georgia, North Carolina, and back home in Peru. Whether outdoors or within her pastel-green workout studio, Cindy and fellow instructors lead non-competitive sessions that foster lifelong friendships. Their group, private, and prenatal sessions emphasize proper body alignment and breath work. Students can also discover healing with reiki and reflexology treatments and workshops on subjects such as meditation and painless band-aid removal.