Saturday, August 31 was the day for Classy Living Society’s second quarterly exclusive event, Society Saturday – Get on the Bus & Volunteer!
CLS members and guests met at an Atlanta area mall and boarded a charter bus to commute to various organizations around the city to volunteer! In true CLS Get On the Bus fashion, we had an opportunity to be up close and personal with several CLS concessionaires, participate in raffle contests and win great prizes, enjoy a delicious boxed lunch, and much more on the bus.
Not only is this a fun way to sisterbond, Get on the Bus & Volunteer is an event that embodies the genuine principles of CLS Cares, CLS’s own “Go Green” 501(c)(3) organization. Ridesharing, i.e. park your car and carpool to various community service events, provides a more eco-friendly mode of transportation as we volunteer!
The Pajama Program
The Pajama Program was our first stop – a reading center that is a mini wonderland where children can nestle to read a book, or hear a story and where once upon a time is tonight! With chapters across the United States, the Pajama Program reading centers offer a variety of programming for children, preschool through high school, that provide the tools for a Good Night. Reading Centers are led by dedicated staff, specialists in education and child development, and each program is run with the help of caring volunteers from the community. Children and young adults attending programming at the Reading Centers connect with staff and volunteers over a book and conversation. At the conclusion of the session, they choose their own book from the library and receive the gift of a brand new pair of pajamas to take home!
Hooks that resembled puppy tails took up part of one wall where the children hang their belongings Two Indian teepees are situated in the middle of the floor for two or three children to climb into with their books in hand. The room was whimsically decorated in primary colors; the Atlanta skyline on one wall, and stars and silhouettes of children reading on the other. Bean bag chairs were lined up on the floor for the children to sit in. One wall held tacked up clippings, drawings and testimonials written and created by the children.
Not only did we assist the center by donating a whopping 78 sets of pajamas, we also assisted by folding over 200 sets of pajamas into neat little bundles and tied them with blue ribbon – an inviting package for a smiling child.
We learned that for some children, the pajamas they receive on their visit to the Pajama Program are sometimes their first set. To most of us, pajamas are just ordinary objects, but for some children, it is what they need to transform their bedtimes into comforting rituals of love, support and fun. The Pajama Program is dedicated to giving every child everywhere a better tomorrow.
Back on the bus and enroute to our next destination, we enjoyed a boxed lunch from Gathering Industries, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization who is on a mission to end homelessness one culinary job at a time.
Gathering Industries reaches out to those in the Atlanta area who are looking for a second chance at life. Through training and management skills programs, Gathering Industries educates homeless individuals in the culinary field to help them find sustainable employment and a way out of homelessness. In collaboration with a host of Atlanta restaurants and the Atlanta Mission, Gathering Industries works to give a hand up, not a hand out. The boxed lunches the ladies enjoyed on the bus were prepared by the men and women in the Gathering Industries program. Platters and Boxed Lunches are handmade to order and feature the freshest ingredients. Not only were the lunches delicious and fresh, it was great to know that by ordering lunch through this worthwhile organization, we also helped a formerly homeless Atlantan take a step toward self-sufficiency.
The next stop on the bus was a Little Caesars Pizza location in Gwinnett County, Georgia to pick up a stack of delicious pizzas to deliver to the next destination. 20 pizzas were ordered, but we left with 25 pizzas! Wanna know how? It seems that the Little Caesars location caught on to CLS’s spirit of giving; when they were told where the pizzas were going, they donated five additional pizzas! How classy is that? The desire to give back is contagious! Woo hoo!
The next destination to deliver the pizzas was the Home of Hope, a Gwinnett County children’s shelter.
Home of Hope
Home of Hope is a 501 (c)(3) organization and residential care facility which provides services for homeless children from 0-17 years of age along with their young mothers. They also provide care and services for homeless girls aging out of the foster care system at 18 years of age. They offer customized “Life Plans” that are designed around the physical, emotional and educational needs of children, while helping Mom create a plan of action to get back on her feet. Their goal is not simply to be a place of refuge – they are the “NEXT STEP” towards independence, taking their guests from homeless, to hopeful, to a home of their own. We delivered the Little Caesars pizzas to be enjoyed by the residents, and a representative boarded the bus to talk about the amazing things Home of Hope is doing for their residents.
Next stop – to clean our adopted road in Gwinnett County!
Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful – Adopt-a-Road Initiative
The ladies walked up and down our stretch of road and picked up litter in the name of beautifying the County. The Adopt-a-Road litter prevention initiative, sponsored by Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful and Gwinnett County Department of Transportation, enables citizens to show their pride in Gwinnett and safely reduce the amount of unsightly trash and illegal signage alongside county roadways.Unkempt communities are more likely to have increased crime, decreased economic growth and a decline in quality of life. The litter prevention efforts of the Adopt-a-Road program directly benefit the community through litter prevention, greater civic involvement, and area beautification. We were proud to see the Classy Living Society name on our sign posted on the road and excited to be a part of helping a county in our community stay beautiful!
And thus ended our adventure for the day and we boarded the bus to head back to our cars. It was a glorious day of giving back and each heart was truly warmed by the occasion. We volunteered, we learned, we ate, we bonded, networked and made new sister friends and gained new CLS members! Stay tuned for news on upcoming Society Saturday events. We can’t wait! Can you?
Pajama Program: https://pajamaprogram.org/
Gathering Industries: https://gatheringindustries.org/
Home of Hope: https://homeofhopegcs.org/
Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful: http://www.gwinnettcb.org/programs/adopt-road/
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