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May 2016 Newsletter

May 2016 Newsletter

A Message from Executive Director Bill Searcey

We, the staff, board, and volunteers at FOCUS, continually stress at every opportunity that the only proven way to address generational poverty is through education. This process must begin in the elementary grades and becomes increasingly urgent in high school. For some children, high school becomes a stumbling block and a convenient time to drop out.

It is encouraging that Harris County High School is taking seriously the issue of children remaining in school. This year saw the inception of classes tailored for at-risk students. These classes were focused on life skills and involved a myriad of subjects, ranging from the dangers of dropping out of school to managing a checkbook. We hope these classes will continue.

At FOCUS, we too are always looking for ways to assist in the education and character building of our youth. One of those efforts has been the awarding of annual scholarships to students wishing to continue their education beyond high school.

On Monday night, May 2, at the high school’s annual awards ceremony, we had the privilege of awarding four scholarships totaling $8.500. Kudos to the FOCUS Board for allocating these funds and for having a vision for the future.

Those receiving awards were: Ty’Onnah Maddox (Valdosta State University), Jack Makin (University of Georgia), Madeline Kendrick (University of Georgia) and Sarah Clayton (Fort Valley State University). Congratulations to these deserving young people and our best to them in the future.


News from the Thrift Shop

Don’t let the construction get in your way. The Thrift Shop is open and in full swing with spring and summer wear and other goods. As you may know, FOCUS is undergoing a face-lift, expanding our facilities to meet the current and growing need of our clients and shop consumers.
The added space will give our Thrift Shop customers more room for shopping and our volunteers needed areas for sorting and housing merchandise. As important, it will expand our food storage capabilities as we seek to serve those who need our help as they face many day-to-day challenges.

How We’re Helping

In April, the FOCUS office helped 95 clients. In addition, we distributed 338 bags of food to 83 families, which totaled 220 individuals and 26 families with children.

Annual Empty Bowl 2016 a Huge Success

Harris County High School’s annual Empty Bowl event benefitting FOCUS held April 16 was another huge success, raising some $3,000. Thanks once again to Harris County High School’s NAHS and Art Club for sponsoring and coordinating the event.

Thank You!

Thank you to Whitesville United Methodist Church for food donations to our pantry this past month.

FOCUS’ Next Board Meeting

FOCUS’ next Board meeting will be Thursday, June 16, at 6 p.m. at the Harris County Community Center.