The City of Acworth, GA., is supporting a program called the Acworth Achievers. Five years ago, Acworth identified a concern about at-risk kids within the city limits and began developing a program. The goal of this program is to help middle and high school children make better decisions through after-school and mentoring programs.
“This will offer more opportunities and give kids better decision making skills so they can become productive adults,” Frank White, the Director of Acworth Achievers and the Recreation Coordinator for Acworth Parks and Recreation said.
“It’s about inspiring kids to be the very best that they can be,” Mayor Tommy Allegood said.
Click below to hear more from Mayor Allegood about the Acworth Achievers.
Financial backing from multiple donors made the program possible.
- The Acworth Housing Authority Grant $10,000
- Cobb Success for All $10,000
- Privately Donated Funds - $5,000
Acworth partnered with local schools, including Barber Middle School and North Cobb High School, to start bringing kids into the program. Counselors at both schools were able to identify the kids who would benefit the most from the program and made recommendations.
Some of the things the counselors look at, according to Barber Middle School Counselor Jeannie Collins, are test scores, proximity to the Roberts School Community Center, knowledge of the child's family situation, and some at-risk behaviors.
The Counselors talk with parents and children who may be struggling. They also ask the children how they can help them improve. Collins often lets a kid lead her to this conclusion.
“Many of the children that go into the Acworth Achievers want to do the right thing but may be surrounded by peers who do not, or might be around parents who are not there to guide them. These are students who are hungry for a positive adult relationship outside of their parents or teachers who can help them when they need someone,” Collins explains.
Consistently there are 35 students in the program and 3 mentors. NorthStar Church also sends volunteers to help mentor the students.
The Acworth Achievers meet every day after school and during the summer at the Roberts School Community Center. It is centrally located in an area where most at-risk kids live within the city limits. This provides students with a safe environment for after-school tutoring, service learning opportunities and it gives them exposure to positive role models.
Although the group is relatively new, the first two students to complete the program and graduate from high school went on to higher education. The Acworth Achievers also helped the City of Acworth win “The All America City Award,” a prestigious award that recognizes cities that solve community problems.
“Anyone willing to contribute or who wants to start their own program, we are more than willing to help get them started and more than willing to partner up with them.” White said.
The best way to get involved with the Acworth Achievers is by volunteering. They are always looking for tutors, mentors, or anyone who wants to encourage kids. For more information contact Frank White at firstname.lastname@example.org