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‘Staying Ahead of the Curve’ | City of East Point launches COVID Kits For Kids initiative for over 8,000K local students

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A $155K Fulton County Grant awarded to East Point provides COVID lunch bags for thirteen area schools

EAST POINT, Ga. – When it comes to ensuring that some of the city’s most vulnerable residents, i.e. the children are taken care of, the City of East Point has got the situation well in hand, or should I say — the bag. 

After being awarded a $155,000 grant through the Fulton County Community Development Block Grant Program, the city decided to apply these funds towards the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) gear for all of East Point’s 8,000+ scholars from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Of the near dozen separate school districts that comprise the Atlanta metro area, Fulton was one of the first to open its school doors to in-person learning. 

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In its continued diligence to its residents during the pandemic, the City of East Point government allocated the grant endowment to ensure local students could return to a safe face-to-face learning environment.

“We are grateful to have this assistance from Fulton County to supply students attending East Point schools with PPE gear as they engage in face-to-face learning,” said Mayor Deana Holiday Ingraham in a press release. 

“Safety, health, and welfare will always be a top priority for us and we are excited to have City staff members leading this initiative.” 

Each scholar will receive in their COVID Kit an insulated and reusable thermal lunch bag will with PPE such as a reusable face mask, hand sanitizer (liquid and a spray), antibacterial hand wipes, tissue, and a first aid travel kit along with an assortment of nonperishable snacks.

The COVID Kit initiative was handled by East Point’s Special Projects Coordinator, Geneasa Elias who oversaw the kits assembly last week. Elias was the city official who applied for the grant and subsequently coordinated their distribution. 

The team that assembled the kits were assembled contained volunteers from the City Hall staff, Parks and Recreations, and more to handle the daunting tasks of not only putting the kits together but distribution as well. 

In fact, the city began the distribution of the COVID Kits on Wednesday, May 5th to the first four of thirteen local schools including Brookview Elementary, Conley Hills ElementaryHamilton Holmes Elementary, and Parklane Elementary.

“Preparing these 8,000 lunch bag kits is a monumental task, and it couldn’t be done without the assistance of other East Point staff members, who have graciously volunteered their time to help assemble the kits,” Elias tells Vox Pop ATL.

Elias also wanted to extend a special ‘shout-out’ thank you to Natalie Martin and William Suarez of Duke Realty who provided office and warehouse space for kit assembly. 

The COVID Kits For Kids will be distributed to the following schools during May:

  • Asa G. Hilliard Elementary School

  • Brookview Elementary School

  • Conley Hills Elementary School

  • Hamilton E. Holmes Elementary School

  • Parklane Elementary School

  • Paul D. West Middle School

  • Woodland Middle School

  • Tri-Cities High School

  • KIPP South Fulton Academy

  • Fulton Leadership Academy 

  • The RISE Schools

  • Abundant Grace Academy

  • Resurgence Hall 

For more information about other community outreach efforts from the City of East Point, visit their website

For all the news that’s fit to click? Visit the Vox Pop ATL website and subscribe for news updates on Facebook.

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Fitness options get ‘Dynamic’ in East Point

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East Point Gyms

East Point, Ga. — Mother-daughter owned Dynamic Duo Fitness seeks to encourage healthy living for all generations in the city of East Point.

‘Strong and sexy at any age!’

This emphatic statement along with several other slogans of affirmation will be what anyone who visits the family-owned workout facility, Dynamic Duo Fitness.

Tucked behind the rear-side of The Wagon Works complex at Suite 107 on 2801 RN Martin St., East Point’s newest fitness facility just celebrated a ribbon-cutting a couple of weeks ago.

Who is Dynamic Duo Fitness?

Owned & operated by mother/daughter combo, Rhonda ‘Rho’ Shelton (mother) and Lakeisha Varner (daughter), this ‘dynamic duo’ selected Tri-Cities to open their gym as the go-to resource for health and wellness for the community and families of East Point and beyond.

“It was through fitness that we discovered our power. It was through that that I discovered my personal power, I discovered that I was actually strong and that is what helped to catapult me forward,” Varner tells Vox Pop ATL.

The mother/daughter team also serves as the facility’s fitness instructors. Dynamic Duo Fitness’ mission is to provide overall physical health, including mental health and nutritional wellness through a comprehensive fitness experience.

Both longtime fitness advocates, Shelton & Varner originally hail from the Northeast, specifically New York City, and have called the Southside their home for nearly the past twenty years.

‘We want to be a one-stop-shop in East Point for health and wellness,” emphasizes Shelton.

‘We want to extend that to our community to our people who are suffering from diseases and illnesses that can easily die are easily alleviated with a healthy diet and some fitness classes.”

The newly-opened facility offers a wide array of fitness classes including but not limited to; cardio kickboxing, Zumba, Xtreme hip-hop, and others each designed to accommodate classes of every fitness level, in-person or virtually.

East Point Local Business

Dynamic Duo Fitness also provides meal prep recommendations as well as other forms of nutritional guidance for individuals or families seeking to achieve their fitness goals.

The ribbon-cutting event for Dynamic Duo Fitness featured music, light hors d’oeuvres for attendees, as well as raffle prizes, and a tour of the facilities.

When asked which superhero ‘dynamic duo’ they would see themselves as?

Rho and Lakeisha told Vox Pop ATL, ‘The Wonder Twins,’ the super-powered tag team whose abilities are activated in the presence of one another.

Dymanic Duo Ribbon Cutting

Sounds like the perfect answer to me.

The address is as follows:
Dynamic Duo Fitness
2801 RN Martin St., Ste 107
East Point, GA 30344
(Located in the rear parking lot of The Wagon Works)

For more information about Dynamic Duo Fitness, visit their website.

For all the news that’s fit to click? Visit the Vox Pop ATL website and subscribe for East Point and other Tri-Cities news updates on Vox Pop ATL Facebook.

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‘Breaking New Ground’ | College Park charter school breaks ground on basement renovation project

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The Main Street Academy celebrates the beginning of long-awaited STEM Lab expansion.

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. — As many learning institutions are wrapping up yet another school year affected by the global pandemic, one local charter school celebrates a new beginning. 

The Main Street Academy (TMSA) held a ground-breaking ceremony on Wednesday, May 12th to celebrate the commencement of its basement renovation project. 

Nearly two-dozen individuals comprised of TMSA staff, faculty, board members, and special guests attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

This milestone earmarks the start of a highly-anticipated project whose roots stretch back five years ago to when the K-8 Fulton County Schools (FCS) charter school took residence at 2861 Lakeshore Drive in College Park.

That location which sat empty for nearly twenty years had previously been an FCS high school when the now-defunct Lakeshore High School closed its doors for good back in 1988.

Vox Pop ATL spoke with Noel Mayeske, one of the founding members of The Main Street Academy, as well as, a proud parent of one its seventh-graders about the project.

It’s been a great journey for The Main Street Academy to go from having not much space at all,” shares Mayeske.

“It’s very special for the teachers and the students to get the opportunity to really use that space that we moved into a long time ago but haven’t fully utilized.”

The construction for the TMSA basement renovation which has already begin with the demo of the basement is under the purview of Triad ATL.

The Georgia-based contracting company has over a twenty-five-year track record in the metro Atlanta area and an extensive background within the education sector. 

“We’re almost doubling the footprint of the school by renovating our basement, which has been here since it was in high school,” shares TMSA Governing Board President, Heather Wells

We are going to be able to offer a whole plethora of science based-programs,” Wells adds referring to the projected STEM Lab construction. 

“That’s not something you see in this area very often, so it’s exciting.”

In a school year already fraught with the pandemic, distance learning, and technology access issues, TMSA ensured that its commitment to student enrichment did not begin and end with the renovation project. 

Vox Pop ATL also spoke with TMSA principal, Cheryl Parker about other strides accomplished this school year like the addition of the award-winning Promethean Boards to all 50 classrooms at TMSA.

“We have a large enough screen so that the students who are home, feel connected to the classroom, as well as the students who were face-to-face feel connected to their classmates who are at home,” shares Principal Parker.

The 10,000 sq. ft renovation will not only include a state-of-the-art STEM lab for its students but also additional classrooms, a student support area, and teacher workspace.

The projected completion for the renovation is September 2021.

For more information about The Main Street Academy, visit their website.

For all the news that’s fit to click? Visit the Vox Pop ATL website and subscribe for news updates on Facebook.

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Community

‘Something To Remember Him By’ | The community of East Point honors the tragically short life of Ty’Rell Simms

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City officials, non-profits, and local charter school help to celebrate the memory of student with ‘Buddy Bench’, balloon memorial, and new mural. 

EAST POINT, Ga. — On the evening of Friday, November 6th, 2020, 11-year-old Ty’Rell Simms was headed home from his grandmother’s house with a friend. Tragically, he never made it — but his story and his legacy do not end there.

Victim of a drive-by shooting that had absolutely nothing to do with him, Simms left behind a grieving family struggling to cope with their senseless loss and a community left without their classmate, teammate, and friend.

Known for his natural athleticism, generous spirit, warm smile, and overall good nature, Simms touched the lives of many in the Tri-Cities in his brief eleven years. 

During the unpleasant undertaking of finding ways to commemorate Simm’s life, his fellow scholars at KIPP South Fulton Academy (KSFA) envisioned ways to commemorate his life. 

The Beta Club at KIPP Academy, where Simms had just begun his fifth-grade school year under pandemic distance learning approached the faculty and staff about a Buddy Bench.

The ‘Buddy Bench project’ is a relatively new initiative where plastic bottle caps and recyclable plastic items are repurposed into a functional memorial or ‘buddy bench’ in someone’s memory. 

“Our Beta Club scholars came to us wanting to find an outlet for celebration, for grief or just having a way to feel afterward,” recalls KSFA Literacy Coach, Kathryn McClinton.

“They came up with the ‘buddy bench’ idea so we could collect caps in his honor and create a bench where people could actually come and sit, and remember him while also forming bonds with other people.”

The goal of the daunting task of gathering 400-lb of plastics through donations, both local and abroad to create Simms’ memorial bench.

The cap collection process was spearheaded by a fellow athlete and community youth leader, CJ Matthews. While Matthews did not know Simms personally, he was so moved by the news of his passing, he felt compelled to contribute somehow.

Matthews is the co-founder and CEO of Blankies 4 My Buddies, an award-winning community non-profit that has been behind such community events as The Giving Bowl, and COVID Care Package.

Through its #Tops4Tyrell initiative, Blankies 4 My Buddies has collected donations from as far away as Columbus, Ohio. 

Family-friend and local pastor, Ray Waters solemnly recounts to Vox Pop All, the morning he received the call with the heart-breaking news of Ty’rell’s passing.

“It’s five minutes before church, and I’m thinking about what I’m going to talk about, and I get a call, and it is from Conrad’s (Ty’Rell’s father), brother. Scooter told me that Ty’Rell had been shot the night before and had died,” laments the Village Church pastor to Vox Pop ATL

“My whole life as a pastor, I’ve been called and told that something tragic that had happened — but nothing like that.”

East Point Parks & Recreation also contributed to Simms’ legacy by partnering with KSFA and the newly-founded community beautification program, Art in the Paint to paint the basketball court at Brookdale Park in East Point.

Other local companies that have contributed to the causes involving Ty’Rell are including the following:

Drip-Thru Coffee

Treat Love

Kupcakerie

For all the news that’s fit to click? Visit the Vox Pop ATL website and subscribe for news updates on Facebook.

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