Go to Nature

The Dunwoody Nature Center announced the expansion of its free “First Saturdays” program in partnership with Northside Hospital. The staff of the Nature Center will host a free, experiential program on the first Saturday of each month throughout the year. These family friendly programs will have a specific, seasonally based theme each First Saturday. Visitors unable to make the teacher-led programs can participate over the course of the month by stopping by the Nature Center’s main building on any following Saturday to pick up a “Grab and Go Nature Activity” based on that month’s theme. To register, contact Holly at holly@dunwoodynature.org or call the program office at 770.394.3322. This year’s themes are listed on the website at DunwoodyNature.org.

Bag Ladies

Join Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities for a night of fun and philanthropy at their Inaugural Handbag HULLABALOO at the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead on Thursday, March. Registration will begin at 6 p.m. This event will help the charity serve 2,000+ families in 2018. At this exclusive event, guests will have the opportunity to win up to 30 designer handbags simply by playing Handbag HULLABALOO raffle games. Come enjoy hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and a night of philanthropy to support Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities. Individual tickets start at $100.  Corporate sponsorship opportunities are available and range in price from $500 – $7,000.   For more information or to purchase a ticket, ARMHC.org/handbaginfo

Polo Success

The Polo in the Pines team is grateful to reflect on a remarkable year with the community and Lifestyle Publications. Early in 2017, Saville and Lilia Sullivan were chosen to be this year’s Polo in the Pines honorees. In October, the highest-attended and most successful Polo in the Pines event to date was celebrated. Then, in December, the team presented the year’s total raised for the Sharon McCollum Knight, Polo in the Pines Pediatric Cancer Research Fund to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This year’s contributions reached a grand total of $345,000, which will go directly to fund pediatric brain tumor research at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The impact made possible by each of our patrons is both inspiring and humbling. From the bottoms of our hearts, thank you for making this possible!

Save Time for Wine

Wine enthusiasts from around the world are invited to experience the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction, March 21–24, 2018, with the theme “The Art of Collecting.” Celebrating its 26th year, the Auction is the largest charity wine auction in the United States benefiting the arts and the largest fundraising event for the High Museum of Art. Proceeds from the Auction have amounted to more than $28 million over the last 25 years and provide significant funding for the High’s exhibitions and educational programs. The Paddle Raise, which began in 2006, has contributed more than $1.3 million to the High’s Art Access program, which subsidizes visits to the Museum for more than 110,000 students across all grade levels and provides teachers with classroom resources. “Funds raised through the Wine Auction fuel the High’s essential mission-driven programs and ensure our continued growth and impact in the community,” said Rand Suffolk, the Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. Director of the High. “Each year we are humbled by the generosity of our Wine Auction patrons and look forward to celebrating their support at our signature events.”

Wine Auction Manager Steven Hargrove says, “For every Auction, we bring together the nation’s best vintners with amazing chefs for a food and wine experience like no other. We’re excited to kick off another amazing year and to welcome new friends and old to Atlanta for our 26th anniversary.” The 2018 Auction is co-chaired by Sandra Baldwin and Beth Park, Atlanta-based community philanthropists and longtime supporters of the Auction. This year’s Special Guests of Honor are husband and wife Tuck and Boo Beckstoffer, vintners of Tuck Beckstoffer Estate and long-term supporters of the Auction.

Love Letter

“Earlier this year I found myself in an unfamiliar situation. After 15 years with my employer I was laid off. Losing my job was a shock and a disappointment. I wasn’t sure how I would support my family. Where would I find the help I needed? What would we qualify for? Unemployment would take some time to receive. Then I learned about CAC. I didn’t know how we would be able to stay in our home in the interim, but CAC assured me they could help. Through their program, I received rental assistance and food vouchers. The food pantry was invaluable! The fruits and vegetables were essential as my wife is diabetic and on a meatless low carb diet.  It’s a lifestyle of eating, and these vouchers allowed us to allocate funds to other essential needs. I was introduced to educational programs to assist me with interview skills to obtain a new job. These were successful as I have obtained employment. I am so thankful to all the volunteers there who assisted me and assured me that everything would be ok. They were right! In our time of need, CAC was a godsend. Thank you, CAC.” –The Smith Family  Volunteer or give at OurCAC.org.

Smarties Needed

Tossing Pebbles. Watching the ripples. It’s fun to see how that tiny pebble can have such far-reaching impact. Similarly, one child and one act of service can create far-reaching ripples of giving that span their family, community and lifetime. But finding a meaningful service project for kids can be tricky and time-consuming. That’s why in 2008 two Atlanta women created Pebble Tossers Inc., a nonprofit youth service organization and family volunteering resource that makes it easy to find fun, age-appropriate service projects for kids and teens in Metro Atlanta.

It takes lots of energetic people to make Pebble Tossers effective in our communities. They are looking for people willing to pitch in and help where needed. Opportunities can include calling our nonprofit partners to check on new projects, writing thank you letters, grant research and writing, bookkeeping, public speaking, soliciting and picking up in-kind donations, answering emails, assisting with verification process of the President’s Volunteer Service Award, basically anything you want to do!  Contact Jen Guynn at jguynn@pebbletossers.org to find a way to help.

Kindergarten Options

The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA) is pleased to announce that The Weinstein School preschool will be adding a Transitional Kindergarten program for the 2018-2019 school year. Classes begin August 6, 2018. The Weinstein School is located at the MJCCA, at Zaban Park. “Transitional Kindergarten is ideal for children with late birthdays, or children who, after completing Pre-K, may benefit from a small class size and a progressive curriculum, which can strengthen emotional, social, and/or physical development,” says Kim Sucan, MJCCA Director of Preschools. “Our Transitional K program is the perfect combination of progressive academic learning, and a warm, nurturing environment,” adds Sucan. According to a study by the American Institutes for Research, students who attend Transitional Kindergarten prior to kindergarten enrollment are more advanced than their peers in language, reading, and math, amounting to as much as a five-month head start in kindergarten. Classes are 30 minutes per session, instructed by certified teachers trained in each core area, and provide a 1:8 teacher to student ratio.  Transitional K is offered Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. As an added convenience, students will have the option to go directly from Transitional K class to Club J, the MJCCA’s highly regarded, safe and meaningful after-school program, offered to Pre-K – 5th graders for an additional cost. For more information, or to enroll, contact Kim Sucan, Director of MJCCA Preschools, at 678.812.3834, or kim.sucan@atlantajcc.org.