Welcome Back!

We are proud to announce the return of a familiar face! Kristin Hemingway our new after-school director for Summerdale Commons after-school on-site program. Check out what she had to say!

On July 18, 2018, I officially began my second go-round of running community programs for Star-C, and I could not be more excited to be back on the team! Well, it’s my first opportunity to work for Star-C, as it didn’t yet exist when I ran the community programs at the Madison Hills Apartment Complex back in the early 2010s.  As I asked and answered questions and completed new hire paperwork, hearing a heartfelt “Welcome Back!” from our executive team and HR representative brought a huge smile to my face. It was exciting to know that my presence had been missed and that my return brought joy. I walked in the door more than ready to hit the ground running, as I initially thought I would be recreating the magic from the first go-round. Then something clicked in me. I realized that I was not here to recreate the magic of days gone by, but to create brand new magic in the days to come.

While the work that I did starting almost a decade ago was significant and phenomenal work, I recognize that it is not work that can be redone.  We have new challenges to face as we partner with different schools and a whole new community. In many instances, the general needs may be similar, but the solutions will differ. It’s a moment where I recognize that while many things are the same, many things have drastically changed, including me, the woman tasked with creating these solutions that help my new community to thrive.

I am coming to Star-C with the same determination and drive to see kids grow into the best versions of themselves and confident in their ability to create the future that they want. I still believe that great things can come from places where greatness isn’t the first thing that is expected. I am still dedicated to seeing families thrive as they are provided with the necessary support to do so. But I know that I cannot accomplish any of this if I am stuck in the past. The past was beautiful and will serve as a foundation for what we are building today, but it does not hold all of the answers for what we need to do moving forward.

I’m excited about the role that I get to play in creating the future of Star-C! I can’t wait to partner with our local schools and other community organizations on the south side of Atlanta to create a thriving community for our residents and their families! I am thankful for the past and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of what’s to come! Here’s to an amazing future for Summerdale and Springview Apartment communities!

 

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Back to School Tips!

 

Back-to-School

Can you hear those school bells ringing? We sure can! With all the summertime fun coming to an end, Star-C Programs thought it would be fun to share some helpful tips to get the children, and their parents in school mode.

  1. Have the proper school supplies– during the first week of class teachers give out lists of specific school supplies/items that are required for class. If you can’t get specific items, try to get as close as possible. The proper school supplies for their courses will allow them to stay organized and focused throughout the school year.
  2. Get an agenda– if your school doesn’t already provide one, you can purchase an inexpensive agenda, or make one from home. Having an agenda allows you to manage your time, while keeping track of homework, test, extra circular actives etc in an organized manner.
  3. Do don’t Procrastinate– make sure you take the needed time for each course to complete assignments, study for quizzes and test, and complete projects. Procrastination can enable you from retaining the necessary information to succeed in your studies.
  4. Know what is expected of you– everyone wants you to succeed including your parents, your peers and especially your teachers. Your teachers will explain what each course consist of, the workload and what the expect you to get from the class. Knowing what they expect from you will help you throughout the school year, and if at any time you are unclear keep an open line of communication with your teacher so that the both of you can come up with a conclusion.
  5. Get Involved– of course the traditional school work is most important, however dedicate your time to getting involved in other school activities such as joining a sports team, an academic club, or play an instrument. This is a great way to stay active in school, while pursuing your interest, and meeting peers who share your same interest.
  6. List your academic goal– write down what you plan on achieving this school year. A list will help you pursue your goals and stay focused on accomplishing them. Having this list will spark motivation and determination within yourself to achieve these goals.

Every new school year is an opportunity for a fresh start, new friends, and new academic goals. You have the potential to make this year one of the best ones yet! Stay smart, have fun, and make this school year count!

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Summer ending, school beginning

This summer is flying by! It’s hard to believe school will be starting in just a few weeks. To ensure that the kids at Willow Branch are prepared for this upcoming school year, Star-C Programs and Oakhurst Medical Center at Northlake teamed up again to host our annual “School Ready with Oakhurst” event. This event ensures the children at Willow Branch are “school ready” by setting appointment where they had dental, hearing and vision screenings. Isn’t this a great way to start off a healthy school year?! This year, we used the new Oakhurst location in the Northlake area, which will help our residents get efficient and effective care. With the mention of summer ending, and school starting we imagined the kids to be sad. However, they were excited and well-engaged in this event, and can’t wait to start their new school year!smile

Miss Alliedoctors office

Here’s to Healthy Living!

health screening

We all know Star-C Programs, awareness and events go hand and hand! On Saturday, June 16th, we invited the residents at the Willow Branch community to a diabetes check- up event. According to the American Diabetes Association “Out-of-control blood sugar levels can lead to short-term problems like hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, or diabetic ketoacidosis. In the long run, not controlling diabetes can damage important organs, like the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.”

One of our partners, Oakhurst Medical Center, provided complimentary blood pressure and blood sugar screenings for 25 residents and scheduled doctor appointments as needed.  Star-C also distributed special goodies bags with household and personal care items for the residents who participated.  We will continue to hold events like these to educate and promote good health to our residents at Willow Branch!

“Blood Sugar Testing: Why, When and How.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 4 May 2018. Retrieved June 5, 2018; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/blood-sugar/art-20046628.

New Playground!

Thinking back to your childhood, did you ever realize how exciting it was to play on the playground at recess?  It was even more exciting to go to different places like recreation centers, schools, and community parks to find that each playground was different and had its own uniqueness. Although most playgrounds are different in structure and style, they all share some common characteristics.  They are common areas for children to play, build social skills and entice their imagination.

When Willow Branch Apartments were first built, the playground could accommodate only a small number of children.  As Star-C Programs began to grow, so did the Willow Branch Community. As a result, families with more children began moving in, and the small playground became overwhelmed with the daily play activities.  Our concerns for the play area to child ratio were resolved once Star-C learned that KaBOOM! and the CarMax foundation has awarded us a new playground.

The build of the playground was an intense, yet exciting project. One of the major days was Design Day, which occurred on March 26, 2018. The kids were asked to draw what their ideal playground would look like. The different drawings included wheel swings, slides and monkey bars. (Just to name a few.) Once they completed their drawings, they were asked to present which components on their playground were their favorites. The remainder of the day consisted of community leaders, parents of the children, KaBOOM! CarMax and Star-C Programs using the info the kids provided to choose equipment and amenities for the actual playground.

From there, the planning and decision-making phase consistent of weekly phone calls and in person meetings.  It was an extensive process that led up to build week in May.  On Tuesday, May 23, we had Prep Day. Prep Day consisted of a group of volunteers from CarMax, Star-C and KaBOOM!  During the day, we received and organized parts, playground equipment and other supplies.  We cut wood for side projects and did some pre-construction work to prep for the actual build.  Prep day set the stage for Thursday, May 23, the actual Build Day, where over 200 volunteers from Star-C, CarMax and KaBOOM! helped us to build a phenomenal, new playground for the children at Willow Branch. To top off this amazing day, the CarMax foundation surprised Star- C Programs with a check for $10,000.

As we know, giving back to the community is valuable within itself. Star-C Programs has been given the unique privilege of receiving so much support from our community, in helping us to continue to grow our mission. On behalf of Star-C Programs, we would like to give special thanks to all our volunteers, the CarMax Foundation and Kaboom! This playground would not have been possible without all their hard work and dedication!

NOW, LET THE KIDS PLAY!!

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Reading….is fun!

When it comes to reading, I believe most don’t give enough credit to what impact of books and reading have on an individual. Books and reading offer experiences through the context, develops imagination and creativity, is a versatile option for entertainment, and one of my favorites, improves your writing skills. With generous community donations of all types and levels of books, the children who attend the after-school program hosted by Star-C programs can experience this. To keep their reading experiences interesting, Allie Reeser our after-school program director at Willow Branch Apartments, has come up with a book point system. Each book located in the Star-C Programs library is assigned a point value, which is noted inside each of the books with stickers. Once the book is read by the students, they must complete a book report referencing the name of the book, how many points the book contains, the plot of the book and one of their favorite parts of the book. Once the student has presented their book repot, Allie awards them the points from the book they have completed.  They can continue earning points with every book/book report they complete.  Eventually with the points they have earned so diligently, they can use them the after-school program store to purchase healthy snacks, candy and small school supplies. This program not only encourages our kids to keep reading, but it gives them a sense of self-improvement, because with every book/book report they complete, they feel accomplished!

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Let’s tackle Literacy!

The Georgia Literacy Commission (GLC) was formed after a Deloitte study revealed the potential crisis looming for Georgia’s businesses that are struggling to identify an educated and literate workforce for jobs now and in the future.

  • The study found 1 in every 6 workers in the state is “low literate,” or can’t read well.
  • Over one million Georgians lack basic literacy skills.
  • Low literacy in the workplace costs Georgians $1.3 billion annually.

As a result, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, and Literacy For All have partnered to create the GLC.  A subcommittee, the Housing Authority Literacy Taskforce, was formed to create a toolkit that housing authorities, private developers, landlords and apartment communities can use to boost literacy among their residents. Star-C’s executive director, Audrea Rease, and a very active board member, Dan Smith, are on the task force to share best practices and determine strategies landlords can leverage.   The tool kit will provide communities with several ways to improve literacy through certain programs that serve financially disadvantaged families. Star-C and Willow will be used as a model in the toolkit. Star-C and Willow have already shown how operating an after-school program such as ours can reduce turnover, increase educational achievement outcomes, improve school district ratings, all while the community provides rental rate stability for residents.  This team has hopes that literacy tool kit will impact the lives of both landlords and the residents, as a result creating success stories, funding models, suggested practices, sample programs and ideas on how to get the program started in communities around the state.