The Ben Franklin Academy Book Drive.

Star-C Programs is always honored to benefit from surrounding schools and other organizational programs that take pride in giving back to the community. Recently, the Ben Franklin Academy’s Philanthropy Club supported us by hosting a book drive. The book drive was led by Adele McLees, who is a senior at Ben Franklin Academy and a frequent volunteer at Star-C’s afterschool program.  Working together, the Philanthropy Club members collected 100’s of books. The book drive started back in October 2017, shortly after our very own Audrea Rease, Executive Director, paid a visit to the Philanthropy Club at the Ben Franklin Academy.  She shared with them the story of who Star-C Programs serves and what Star-C Programs offer to the community.

For many of the children enrolled in our afterschool program, English is not their first language, so these books will be very beneficial. Once they complete their homework, they can choose a book to read, which helps them to strengthen their English language skills.

In addition to collecting the books, some members of the Ben Franklin Academy Philanthropy club spent the afternoon with the kids, helping with homework and reading aloud to them as they sat in small groups, eager to hear the stories and see the illustrations that went along with the book.

We greatly appreciate Ben Franklin Academy’s efforts and the support of the broader community for Star-C’s after-school program.  They give us the tools to keep investing in our children’s education, allowing them to become more successful.


   It’s “Throwback Thursdays” Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the “Peace Playground!”

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Each year on January 15th, we have the honor of being able to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., across the globe. As a result, the Star-C after-school program took part in the celebration, by highlighting the life and the key philosophies that Dr. King left behind. Through an event Star-C participated in during the summer called “Peace Playground,” coordinated by our after-school director, Allie, and the Northlake Church of Christ, the children revisited the principle of peace advocated by Dr. Martin Luther King. The children demonstrated their understanding of each principle with their creative expressions in the forms of art, dance, singing. During past “Peace Playground” events, the children created banners, which highlighted what they learned from the principles that day.  This time the following peace principles, “a loving community makes a peaceful world,” “fight bad things, not bad people,” “be peaceful when others are not because that is the peaceful world we want,” “be peaceful on the outside and inside,” and “the whole world is on the side of justice,” were reenacted through a play put on by the Star-C kids.  The children also made a new mural honoring the Civil Rights movement, and the mural will hang in the after-school area all year.

Although school was out for the children at the Star-C after school program on this day, they all took full advantage of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to celebrate by demonstrating their own understanding of what Dr. King fought and died for, for this country. They all expressed how exciting it was to bring “Peace Playground” back for this day, and they look forward to more “Peace Playground” events in summer camp later this year!

Star-C Programs Monthly Breakfast!

Thank you to everyone who attended the last Star-C Programs Monthly Breakfast!

Star-C Programs hosts a monthly breakfast at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, where we convene community, business and government leaders to discuss our efforts to improve education with affordable housing.  Last week, approximately 50 leaders joined us for our first breakfast of 2018 to talk about how we can work together to move the needle on these issues.

Representatives from Georgia Power’s Energy Assessment & Solutions Program (EASP) also attended.  The EASP is designed to assist income-eligible customers with energy savings through education and *free* home efficiency improvements.  This program has generated big utility bill savings for the residents of Willow Branch!  More info can be found at . For multifamily property qualifications and program eligibility, please contact 833-347-5433.

Click here to register for our next breakfast on February 22.  Everyone is welcome to attend!

The EducationDIVE!

We can’t keep all this exciting press to ourselves! Star-C Programs and our founder, Mary Stagmeier, continue to be recognized as examples to the community on how “housing can be a positive pathway to achieving better school outcomes.”

On a Friday afternoon, Linda Jacobson of EducationDIVE visited Willow Branch Apartments in hopes of seeing how the Star-C Programs work on a day to day basis. Jacobson learned the after-school program consists of 80 children, where Allie Reeser, the program director, conducts study sessions to help with homework, practicing skills, or on that day, she treated the kids to watching an educational movie called “Because of Winn Dixie.” In the article, Linda Jacobson explains how Marjy Stagmeier realized the relationship between education and housing and how these two impact the overall school performance and the performance of the children within these schools. To learn more about how Stagmeier plans to conquer the issue, check out the full article in EducationDIVE.

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Giving Tuesday!


It’s the season of giving, and you can keep it simple on Giving Tuesday by giving a gift that truly matters.

Today, help celebrate Giving Tuesday by donating to the Star-C Programs. Your donation will help to expand, as well continuing to improve the after-school, wellness and gardening programs here at Star-C Programs. Through our programs we will continue to focus on the building of healthier communities!

Your Giving Tuesday donation can be made via

Thank you for your support, as you are helping to improve the lives of the residents in our communities, and we truly appreciate you on this Giving Tuesday!



Star-C Programs Health Fair!

Star-C Programs offers events like the Health Fair to keep our residents/ families at Willow Branch current on their health, the changes in healthcare programs, and a way to connect with other families within the Willow Branch community. As the Star-C Program continues to grow, we hope that at some point all our residents will take full advantage of the services at Oakhurst, which will result in them visiting Oakhurst more often, having a primary doctor, dentist and understanding the benefits of taking care of themselves!

If you would like to help you can do so by:

Donating to purchasing hygiene items for distribution at the Annual Health Fair (

Volunteering with Star-C.  Please email us at


Oh Halloween…..!

It seems like no matter where you live Halloween is the most observed spooky celebration every year.  It’s kind of a big deal! The excitement comes from the extravagant decorations, the creative costumes and the candy, of course!

Halloween allowed the kids in Star-C’s after-school program to take a break from the norm and jump into their creative zone. The kids could express themselves by dressing up as their favorite characters/ icons, make masks and eat candy. While this was all fun and games, Allie (Star-C at Willow Branch’s program Director) made sure to still implement a valuable lesson on this day. As a result, the kids were taught and practiced the safe way to go trick- or- treating, stay in groups, holding each other’s hand and having your parents check all your candy before you get to eat it all up. Like all the new lessons they learn and activities the kids get to participate in, they enjoyed themselves and were shouting about what to do for Halloween next year!