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Turning Lives Around

Your Operation Round Up® Dollars Helping Others

Since forming 13 years ago, the Jackson EMC Foundation has been helping turn lives around, thanks to Jackson EMC members who round up their bill through Operation Round Up®. The pennies members donate each month average to $6 a year per member.

The Foundation has awarded 1,334 grants totaling $13.5 million since 2005 with the donations supporting a wide variety of nonprofit organizations in Jackson EMC’s 10-county service area. Funding has provided everything from book bags for back- to-school to art supplies for cancer patients.

While all Foundation grants go to worthy causes selected by the Jackson EMC Foundation’s volunteer board of directors, almost $4.6 million has gone to charitable organizations that meet the most dire of human needs, according to Foundation Chairperson Beauty Baldwin.

“These agencies work to provide housing for the homeless and healing for the abused,” Baldwin said. “Their leaders often tread where few dare to go as they strive to help turn lives around for alcoholics and drug abusers, former inmates and the mentally ill. With assistance from Jackson EMC members who donate through Operation Round Up, the Jackson EMC Foundation is helping change lives, one at a time.”

Here, we share the stories of individuals whose lives were positively impacted by organizations that received Jackson EMC Foundation grants in the past year.

Rock Goodbye Angel: Finding Comfort

Rockgoodbyeangel.us  |  $5,000 grant for pregnancy, infant loss support program

Based in Gainesville, Rock Goodbye Angel provides a network of support and grief education for parents of miscarriage and early infant loss. Parents take part in counseling and weekly support groups with others who have experienced the trauma of losing a baby.

Client Impact: Bethany

Bethany has been a Rock Goodbye Angel client since losing a baby three years ago. Her story is one of heartbreak and, much thanks to RGA, healing.

When Bethany was almost five months pregnant with her second child, doctors told her he had not formed kidneys and would not live outside the womb. Knowing that the only time she would share with her child was the time he lived inside her, Bethany chose to carry him to full term. While he thrived within her, she and her husband planned his burial. Standing with them was Rock Goodbye Angel.

“With their help, I made plans for how I would handle that day,” Bethany said. “I had decisions to make, and Rock Goodbye Angel walked me through the process. Doctors cared for the physical part of it and Rock Goodbye Angel Director Angela Ewers was there for the emotional side.”

Bethany delivered her son, Joshua, at 39 weeks. He was born alive, a miracle in itself, according to doctors who say most infants with his condition are stillborn. Joshua lived for two hours, his brief life filled with visits from family and friends, including Angela.

Her peers at Rock Goodbye Angel are an extension of her family, according to Bethany.

“It’s a club no one wants to be in, but we are members,” she said. “These are my people.”


Side By Side Brain Injury Clubhouse: Finding Community

Sidebysideclubhouse.org | $13,248 for rehabilitation services for disabled adults

At Side by Side Brain Injury Clubhouse, adults with acquired brain injury shift from depending on others to becoming self-sufficient community members. This is achieved through skills-based rehabilitation as club members work in Side by Side’s kitchen, maintenance and business units.

Client Impact: Kendall

Before his brain injury, Kendall had a full life, a career and he knew the feeling of independence.

“Our job was to help him find his new normal,” said Side by Side Development Director Alexis Torres.

A teacher at Atlanta Technical College, Kendall was walking in the city in 2011 when he was struck by a taxi cab. He was in a coma for three months and was hospitalized for another year before joining Side by Side in 2012.

“I’ve learned how to live life in a different way,” Kendall said.

Before teaching at Atlanta Tech, Kendall worked as an auto mechanic, and then as a mechanics teacher for Gwinnett Technical College and Barrow County Schools. “I still help with mechanics work,” he said. “Others do the physical work while I tell them what needs to be done.”

Side by Side Director Cindi Johnson calls Kendall a role model for club members.

“When I met Kendall, he was angry and depressed, and now he’s a cheerleader for other members,” she said. “He sees their potential and is very encouraging to them.”

Side by Side has been by his side.

“It’s helped me learn to live and be thankful for the problems I have because many people here have problems worse than mine,” says Kendall.


Angel House: Finding Sisterhood and Sobriety

angelhouseofgeorgia.org | $5,000 grant for indigent women to participate in program

A substance abuse/recovery residence for women, Angel House offers clients from throughout Jackson EMC’s service area a second chance at life as they work a 12-step program toward sobriety with women in similar situations.

Client Impact: Jennifer

On and off drugs for many years, Jennifer served a one-year sentence at a Georgia detention center.

“I’m so thankful for that year in jail,” she said. “I needed every day of it. If not for that, I would be in the same circle—if I was still alive.”

Upon her release from jail, Jennifer moved to Angel House to tackle her addiction.

“I spent a lot of years doing the same thing—using drugs, being co- dependent in different relationships,” she recalls. “I finally decided I have to do something different or this will be my life for the rest of my life.”

After living at Angel House for 14 months, she now resides in a transition apartment and works full-time at a distribution warehouse. She credits Angel House with helping her turn her life around.

“It’s taught me to stand on my own and with that comes responsibility and being dependable,” Jennifer said. “And it’s provided me a shared sisterhood with people I can relate to and count on. I’m a different person than when I got here.”

For more information about the Jackson EMC Foundation, visit jacksonemc.com/foundation.