Mike Dudgeon - County Line Magazine

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Mike Dudgeon - County Line Magazine

OCTOBER 2011Mike DudgeonDistrict 24Georgia House of RepresentativesThe Dudgeon Family: Matthew, Mike, Lori, Daniel and Brandon1 CountyLine | October 2011

Still the #1 placeto celebrate a birthdayA birthday. It’s a day we celebrate our entire lives. Northside would be proud to be part of your baby’s special day.No one is more prepared or has more experience. We’ll make the big day a celebration from day one.Visit us online at www.northside.com.3 CountyLine | October 2011

14COVER STORY14 MIKE DUDGEONThe Technology PoliticianDEPARTMENTS6 From the Publisher18 Paparazzi25 More Paparazzi4CountyLine | October 2011 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net

18820FEATURES8 Healing on Horseback12 Jesse’s House20 Creating Hope with Yarn24 Sweet 16 = Sweet DonationBUSINESS FOCUS22 Emory Johns Creek HospitalCertified as a Primary Stroke Center26 Robersion’sLandscaping During Fall and Winter5 CountyLine | October 2011

From the Publisheram very excited to feature Mike Dudgeon, the state representativeI for District 24, on this issue’s cover and cover story. It was a pleasureto meet Mike, and his wonderful family—Lori, Brandon, Matthewand Daniel—at the photo shoot. I also enjoyed reading about Mike’sunique path to politics in Karen Duffy’s cover story, and I know youwill, too. Thank you, Mike, for sharing your story with CountyLinereaders, many of whom you represent in District 24.Therapeutic horseback riding is helping both children and adults withphysical, cognitive, developmental and behavioral challenges. Readmore about this incredible therapy and how instructor Shannon Tolland her horse Kato are building new skills and increased confidencewith this unique instruction.Since 1998, Jesse’s House has been providing a safe, nurturing homeenvironment for girls in our community, who are removed from anunstable family life. This very valuable non-profit organization hashelped so many girls by providing them with the opportunity to moveforward in their lives in a positive direction. Read more about Jesse’sHouse and find out what you can do to help support their efforts.Lambert High School senior, Macey Kessler, has found knitting to be a way to acclimate herselfto two new high schools, to share her hobby, and to create hope for others. You will really enjoyreading about what Club Knit has accomplished and their plans for this year.Johns Creek High School sophomore, Diana Davidson, had a very generous request for gifts fromthe guests at her Sweet 16 party. Thank you, Diana, for doing such a great job telling readersabout the gift that you gave to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta.Emory Healthcare’s Emory Johns Creek Hospital has been certified as a Primary Stroke Center.Read more about this recognition and what it means for stroke patients in our community. ScottAllen of Robersion’s is back with great information on planting and caring for trees and shrubsduring fall and winter.Be sure to visit www.CountyLineMagazine.net for exclusive special offers from CountyLine advertisers.Just click on the starburst or oval icon in an ad! “Like” CountyLine The Community Magazineto keep up on CountyLine news and special offers on Facebook. We’d love to hear from you, too.Enjoy the reading, enjoy the photos, and enjoy this issue of CountyLine.Respectfully,Judy Le JeunePublisher6CountyLine | October 2011 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net

AUD 3229 County Line ad June2011:Layout 15/2/11 12:23 PMSet Yourself FreePublisherJudy Le Jeunepublisher@countylinemagazine.net678-787-3551Editorialeditorial@countylinemagazine.netAdvertisingadvertising@countylinemagazine.net678-787-3551Graphic DesignRegina Thompson DesignWritersScott AllenLisa BurkeDiana DavidsonKaren DuffyKathleen KraynickCover PhotographyMark NajjarAtlanta StudiosPhotographyMichael A. BeckDon’t let hearing loss shut youout from family, friends and life.Emory Audiology & Hearing Aid Center at Johns Creekprovides the most innovative treatment options to improvehearing. On-site audiology services are provided by a certifiedlicensed audiologist who is trained to assess hearing disordersand determine appropriate treatment options for hearing loss.If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, take thefirst step and schedule an appointment.• Do people seem to mumble?• Do you frequently need to ask people to repeat themselves?• Is it difficult for you to follow conversations?• Do you need to turn up the volume on your TV or radio?• Is carrying on a telephone conversation difficult?For appointments or to register for upcomingeducational seminars, please call 770-814-1260.4045 Johns Creek Parkway, Suite B • SuwaneeOn the Cover:The Dudgeon Family:Matthew, Mike, Lori, Daniel and BrandonCountyLine is published by Sugarcane Communications, LLC.No advertising, editorial, or photographs in CountyLine may bereproduced without the permission of Sugarcane Communications,LLC. 23,053 copies of this issue were delivered to all the homes andbusinesses in the east half of Johns Creek and South Forsyth.CountyLine3651 Peachtree Parkway Suite 222Suwanee, GA 30024678-787-3551www.countylinemagazine.netOther locations include Emory UniversityHospital Midtown and The Emory Clinicon the Emory University campus.4045 Johns Creek Parkway, Suite B • Suwaneewww.emoryhealthcare.orgAdvancing the Possibilities®7 CountyLine | October 2011

Shannon Toll and Katoby Kathleen KraynickThere is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.— Winston ChurchillKato steps carefully from the cool dim light ofthe barn into the warm morning sunshine. Hisrider, Julie, gently guides him to the waterbucket for a quick drink before they begin their lessontime together this Saturday morning at WhiteDog Farm in Alpharetta. Walking quietly to thefenced ring, horse and rider move with a singular,graceful motion. This is the beauty of therapeuticriding.Therapeutic riding is one of several types of equineassistedtherapies that help tens of thousands ofindividuals with physical, cognitive, developmentaland behavioral challenges. The rhythmic and symmetricalmovement of the horse, which is identicalto the gait of a human, provides a low impact exercisewith numerous physical benefits for the rider,including increased muscle tone and strengthening;better balance and coordination; and improvedgross and fine motor skills. The mobility and independenceenjoyed while riding horses as well as theability to bond with the animal, who always remainsnon-judgmental, can help improve the rider’s self-8CountyLine | October 2011 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net

y Lisa BurkeImagine for a moment being a small child in yourfamily’s home and suddenly you are taken awayfrom the only ones you love. Not because ofanything that you did, but because of the actions ofyour parents. Your parents are hooked on drugs oralcohol, do not have a job and have been neglectingor abusing you. For many this is an unthinkablesituation and most people do not like to think thiscould be happening in their neighborhood. But thehard fact is that it does and continues to happeneverywhere and in all walks of life. This does notjust happen in the poor and underprivileged families,but can happen in any family. Children needlove and to know they have a safe and loving homein order to grow into the wonderful young peoplethey were meant to become.Jesse’s House was established in 1998 following aneeds assessment. The original home was donatedby the Larry Morris family and was named after hisfather Jesse R. Morris, who died in 1992. He washighly respected by all who knew him. He wouldhelp anyone in need and worked hard to provide asafe and secure home for his family. These are theguiding examples for all involved with Jesse’s Housetoday. The original home was only able to serve 7girls. In 2004, Jesse’s House moved to a larger facilityand the current capacity is 12. The missionof Jesse’s House is to provide emergency and longterm care for adolescent girls ages 7 to 17 who havesuffered abuse or delinquency that grew out of ahard and unstable family life and to be placed in asafe, nurturing and therapeutic environment. Thesegirls are referred by Department of Family & ChildrenServices, Department of Juvenile Justice andForsyth County Juvenile Court. The girls who areknown to be using illegal drugs or pregnant will notbe accepted. The shelter serves the greater Atlantaarea and North Georgia. Since it was first opened in1998, Jesse’s House went from serving 24 girls in1998 to 52 in 2010.Upon arrival at the shelter, each girl is evaluatedto develop a treatment plan to meet her individualneeds. Residents not only receive a safe place tosleep and stay but also receive many services. Theyinclude: medical, dental and vision assessmentsand care, school enrollment and weekly tutoring,GED program, behavior management, family andindividual counseling, psychiatric care, life skills,fitness activities, recreational therapy, communityservices activities, basic care and nutrition.There are many volunteer opportunities to help theresidents. You can become a mentor, or help withgroup activities such as: dance or music. You canmake monetary donations, or donate food, clothes,or school supplies to name a few. Professional volunteerservices are always welcome from area physicians,dentists, psychologists, or educators. Thereare also many opportunities for planning variousfund raising events each year. Please consider be-12CountyLine | October 2011 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net

coming a volunteer or sponsor. You never know howyou can touch someone’s life.Jesse’s House is a non-profit, United Way organization.In 2010, the average cost per resident was$167.00 per day, with an average of 8 girls a day. Theshelter is strictly maintained by grants, donations,federal, state, and county funding. With the growingneed to be able to shelter more young girls, Jesse’sHouse would love to be able to add on to their currentfacility. But, with a tight budget it is very difficult.One of the year’s biggest fundraisers will be a charitygolf tournament which will be held on October 10,at Laurel Springs Golf Club. There will be lunch, dinnerand a silent auction with all proceeds benefitingthe shelter. There will only be 120 slots for players,so please plan early. If you would like to become asponsor or come out to play, please go to the Jesse’sHouse website for more information.Executive Director of Jesse’s House, Sabrina Graves,took over this position in February 2011, after servingas interim executive director since November 2010.Sabrina has experience in the human services field,working in Forsyth County for the past 12 years. Shehas a Bachelor of Science degree in OrganizationalManagement from the University of Phoenix and iscurrently working on her Master’s in Social Work atKennesaw State University. As Sabrina shares, “Mytrue passion is working with at-risk youth to helpthem improve their lives. I am passionate about beingan advocate for the child who feels they have hadno voice or support. It is so fulfilling to see these girlsdevelop self-esteem and goals for their lives. The programat Jesse’s House truly does make a difference. Iam so encouraged by the overwhelming support fromthe community for the girls at Jesse’s House. Even inthese difficult economic times, the shelter has survivedand needs have been met.”Be Proactive.Learn about colon cancer screening.,LLCProviding a full range of gastroenterologyand liver disease consultation services.www.advgastro.com • (678) 475-1606Main Office:4275 Johns Creek Pkwy, Ste ASuwanee, GA 30024303 Pirkle Ferry RoadCumming, GA 300403625 Braselton Hwy, Ste 202Dacula, GA 30019Brian Hudes, M.D.Dimple Raina, M.D.Long B. Nguyen, D.O.F. Edward LeVert, M.D.An anonymous 16 year old resident of Jesse’s Housecommented, “Jesse’s House is a place where teenagegirls come to get help. Someone is always therefor us when we need them. No matter why we arehere, they don’t judge us of our past and they giveus a chance to prove who we are and can be. Jesse’sHouse is a good place for girls who don’t have a greatchance in life and who need a little direction to be onthe right track. They have taught me to be a betterperson and most of all how to be me!”For more information or to volunteer or make a donation,visit: www.jesseshouse.org.13 CountyLine | October 2011

14CountyLine | September 2011 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net

in good hands. I’d worked closely with Superintendent Buster Evans and had confidence in theimprovement of our schools and where they were headed,” shares Mike. He and Lori discussedthe opportunity and all that it entailed. The Georgia State Legislature is in session full time fromJanuary through April and at other times when special sessions are called to order. There wouldbe a financial sacrifice due to the balancing of his full time career and a commitment at theGeorgia House of Representatives as well as other sacrifices. With Lori’s blessing, Mike did whathe usually does when faced with a complex choice—he went for a walk in the woods behind hisoffice. “I told my business partner that I wasn’t coming back until I had made my decision.”When he came out of the woods, Mike Dudgeon was ready to hit the campaign trail for a seat inthe Georgia House of Representatives.On January 10, 2011, Mike became Representative Mike Dudgeon. It took him about two weeksto get used to walking into the Capitol. “It is very much like high school—I’m a freshman allover again. The age and demographic range of freshman is interesting, and I’ve become closefriends with many of my colleagues.” Representative Dudgeon continues to be firm in his pledgeof integrity, honesty and strong moral character. His technical background is useful and different,and has already made him stand out among his peers. In July, he earned the “TechnologyLegislator of the Year” award from the Technology Association of Georgia. Not only is he neverfar from his laptop or smart phone, but Representative Dudgeon’s understanding of issues thatimpact technology firms in the State is an asset that serves the Capitol well.It has been an interesting legislative year for Mike with immigration issues, tax reform and mostrecently the redistricting of political lines. District 24 previously was all contained in ForsythCounty, while the new lines place Representative Dudgeon in a Johns Creek/South Forsyth district.His constituents include subdivisions off of Old Atlanta Road and the Big Creek area of ForsythCounty, and Cambridge, Seven Oaks, Ashwind, and along Sargent Road and Jones BridgeRoad in north Fulton County. He is truly a CountyLine representative.It is baffling to figure out how Mike balances family, church, public service, and work, but hedoes. He understood that he had to give up several volunteer commitments when he was electedto the Georgia House of Representatives. His current commitments are now his full-time joband volunteering at JCUMC and for BoyScouts. He makes it all work because ifyou ask anyone they will tell you that theysee Mike just as often as they did before.That observation is not missed by Mike.“People know who I am. I believe that Iknow the people of my district well andrepresent their interests in the Legislature.”“People know who I am. I believethat I know the people of mydistrict well and represent theirinterests in the Legislature.”Thankful for the support he receives from his family, Mike speaks kindly of Lori: “I am so luckyto be married to a nice and giving person. She accepts my political career because it is an act ofgiving back to the community, and she has always been one to give of herself to friends, churchand our family.”Mike Dudgeon is an electrical engineer, who has had a successful career in the corporate worldand as an entrepreneur. He is dedicated to his wife, Lori, and their sons Brandon, Matthew andDaniel. His career as a politician began as a representative on the Forsyth County Board of Education,and he recently began serving his term as state representative for District 24. One thingis known for certain. Mike Dudgeon will dedicate himself to serve as an advocate for District 24.The only uncertainty is what is next for this technology politician.17 CountyLine | October 2011


Boyd Law GroupWhen Life Takes a Turn, We’re Here to HelpFamily Law • Divorce • Financial Support • Child Custody/VisitationCriminal Defense • DUIs • Drug Offenses • Felony OffensesEstate Planning • Wills & Trusts • Asset Protection • ProbateLitigation • Contract Disputes/Litigation • Contract NegotiationsBankruptcy Representation770.529.34763325 Paddocks Parkway • Suwanee, GA 30024 • www.boydlawgroup.netTurn Your Ordinary Backyard into a Landscaped Paradise.The experts at Robersion’s will help you design,plant and build your dream landscape.Landscape architect on staff for master plansNOW IS THE TIME TO PLANT TREES AND SHRUBS!We fill and repair sinkholesFire Pits F Patios & Walks F Stacked Stone WallsROBERSION’S LANDSCAPINGLandscape Design F Consultation F Installation770.886.0402Serving Forsyth & Fulton Counties since 1991 • Locally Owned and Operated1732 Peachtree Parkway www.robersions.com19 CountyLine | October 2011

THE CUMMING PLAYHOUSEPROUDLY PRESENTS...Club Knit donates 150 caps for preemies to theNICU at Emory Johns Creek Hospital.Knit’s project of caps for preemies, and last May—atthe end of Club Knit’s first year—a basket with 150caps for preemies was given to the neonatal intensivecare unit (NICU) in The Birth Place at EJCH.Club Knit’s meetings are a relaxed environment—an opportunity to have fun and unwind—that is attendedby student members as well as LHS teachersand staff. Member Jenna Paolazzi is this year’s vicepresident and president-elect for Club Knit. “SinceI myself was a preemie and spent 6 ½ weeks inthe NICU, I feel extremely connected to this cause,”commented Jenna. “I am looking forward to my newrole and to what the future holds for Club Knit andall its members.” Ryan Kessler, whose prematurebirth experience was a major motivation for Maceyto start Club Knit, is honored to be a member of theclub this year. “I am very proud of my sister Maceyfor starting up Club Knit because it helps familiesthat are in the same situation that mine was in whenI was born,” said Ryan.This year’s projects for Club Knit will expand thecaps for newborns in the NICU to include infantsborn with complications, not just preemies. Therewill also be a focus for the members to knit chemocaps and cancer shawls for EJCH patients. Maceyand Bev Miller are meeting to make arrangementsfor Club Knit’s donations to the hospital’s patientsthis year.DAVID MERRICK’S•DiREctDiREctAutoMAtionEXtRAVAGAnZAPRDirected by Honey LarsenChoreographed by Buddy Stotts • Music Direction by Bob RussellShow Dates:October 14 – November 6, 2011Thurs, Fri, Sat @ 8:00 PMSundays @ 3:00 PMsonG & DAncEPREsEnts•The Cumming Playhouse101 School StreetCumming, Georgia 30040www.playhousecumming.com770.781.9178If you are interested inJohns Creek real estate…Then you shouldbe interestedin us.Whatever project the club is working on, Maceywants the work they produce and donate to “givethe light of hope, to fill a void and to let people knowthat they are not alone.” LHS Principal Gary Davisonremarks, “I am so proud of the work that Macy andCub Knit have done. Their kindness and generosityare terrific examples of young people and their caretoward others. I speak for all of Lambert when I saywell done…we are proud of you!”The Cortjens-Ryan Team understands Johns Creek,lives in the community and can help you buy or sella home for the best value in this market.Debbie Cortjens770-331-6855dcortjens@comcast.netLiz Ryan404.713.6023lizryan2@bellsouth.net21 CountyLine | October 2011

Emory Johns Creek HospitalCertified as a Primary Stroke CenterAfter undergoing an on-site evaluation anddemonstrating compliance with nationallydeveloped standards for stroke care, EmoryHealthcare’s Emory Johns Creek Hospital (EJCH)has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approvalfor certification as a Primary Stroke Center.The Certificate of Distinction for Primary StrokeCenters recognizes centers that make exceptionalefforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care.The Joint Commission’s certification program waslaunched in 2003 and was developed in collaborationwith The American Heart Association and theAmerican Stroke Association. Certification is basedon the recommendations for primary stroke centerspublished by the Brain Attack Coalition andthe American Stroke Association’s statements andguidelines for stroke care. The certification processincludes on-site reviews by reviewers with expertisein stroke care, and the certification decision isbased on the evaluation of standards, clinical practiceguidelines and performance measurement activities.“We’re proud to achieve this distinction fromThe Joint Commission,” said Craig McCoy, chief executiveofficer at Emory Johns Creek Hospital. “Weare pleased to have The Joint Commission recognizeour commitment to providing the best possible careto our patients and our community.”According to the Centers for Disease Control andPrevention (CDC), stroke is the third leading causeof death in the United States and a leading causeof serious long-term disability. Each year, approximately795,000 people experience a new or recurrentstroke. On average, someone suffers a strokeevery 40 seconds and someone dies of a stroke every3.1 minutes. Stroke is a leading cause of serious,long-term disability in the United States, withapproximately 4.7 million stroke survivors alivetoday. “In stroke care, time is brain,” said Jean E.Range, M.S., R.N., C.P.H.Q., executive director, Disease-SpecificCare Certification, The Joint Commission.“By achieving certification as a Primary StrokeCenter, Emory Johns Creek Hospital has proven thatit has the ability to provide effective, timely careto stroke victims and can significantly improve outcomesfor stroke patients.”“A stroke can occur in two ways,” said Elias Dagnew,MD, board-certified neurosurgeon at Emory JohnsCreek Hospital. “When a blood clot or narrowing ofa blood vessel interrupts blood flow to the brain, astroke occurs. In addition, blood vessels in the braincan deteriorate or break, causing bleeding in thebrain. That can also cause a stroke,” he said. “Whenthese things happen, brain cells begin to die andbrain damage occurs, affecting abilities controlledby that area of the brain.” Dr. Dagnew stresses theimportance of seeking emergency medical treatmentimmediately, and from a medical facility thatemploys the team approach needed to effectivelytreat stroke, such as Emory Johns Creek Hospital.“This certification represents a tremendous amountof work by our staff and dedication by the hospitalto offer advanced levels of care to our patients righthere in Johns Creek,” said EJCH Stroke CoordinatorKatja Bryant, RN. “At EJCH, we have providedstroke patients with quick access to an advancedlevel of care since the hospital opened, but beingdesignated as a certified Primary Stroke Center isvery important to our hospital. We are now recognizedby EMS providers, physicians and our communityas offering the highest standard of care forstroke patients.”“In addition to the care for stroke patients that weare able to provide at EJCH, we conduct seminars atthe hospital and in the community to educate peopleon the signs of a stroke and how important it is toget immediate treatment,” said Katja. “Recognizingthe signs and symptoms of a stroke and calling 911are the most valuable information that an individualcan have to improve the outcome of their own treat-22CountyLine | October 2011 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net

ment process. When a stoke occurs, getting immediate thrombolytictherapy treatment makes a critical difference in theoutcome. By educating thecommunity to recognize thesigns of a stroke and whatcourse of action they shouldtake, we are able to havean extremely positive effecton the outcome of manyof our patients, and this iswhat we consistently worktowards. We also emphasizethe importance of a healthylifestyle for prevention of astroke.”As a certified Primary StrokeCenter, EJCH collects and reportson eight National Inpatient Hospital Quality Measuresthat are compiled monthly and submitted quarterly to TheJoint Commission. These measures are: venous thromboembolismprophylaxis, discharged on antithrombotic therapy, anticoagulationtherapy for atrial fibrillation/flutter, thrombolytictherapy, antithrombotic therapy by end of hospital day two,discharged on statin medication, stroke education, and assessedfor rehabilitation.Katja reflects on the importance of the certification by saying,“At EJCH, we appreciate what being a Primary Stroke Centermeans to the community and the individual patients whocome to us for treatment during their health crisis. Being ableto provide these patients with the highest standard of careduring one of the most critical times of their life is extremelygratifying for everyone at Emory Johns Creek Hospital.”F.A.S.T.The National Stroke Associationsays people can learn to recognizea stroke and respond tosymptoms by using the F.A.S.T.test.F = FACEAsk the person to smile.Does one side of the facedroop?A = ARMSAsk the person to raiseboth arms. Does one driftdownward?S = SPEECHAsk the person to repeata simple phrase. Does thespeech sound slurred orstrange?T = TIMEIf you observe any ofthese signs, it’s time tocall 9-1-1.Founded in 2007, Emory Johns Creek Hospital is committed tomeeting the health care needs of Johns Creek and surroundingareas. We are a full-service 110-bed, acute care hospital witha full range of services including round-the-clock emergencycare, with board-certified emergency physicians, all-digital imagingincluding a 64-slice CT, MRI, The Birth Place with LevelIII Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, 24-hour anesthesiologists,intensive care, advanced cardiac care, vascular medicine andsurgery, rehabilitation surgery and women’s services. Ourhospital is recognized for its Centers of Excellence in bariatricsurgery and breast imaging, is accredited in mammography,breast biopsy and breast ultrasound and is a certified PrimaryStroke Center.The F.A.S.T. test is critical fordetermining if a person is havinga stroke. To help preventstrokes: keep blood pressure,cholesterol and weight in check;stay physically active, and limittobacco and alcohol use.For more information, contact us at 678-474-8200 or visit our website at www.emoryjohnscreek.com23 CountyLine | October 2011

Sweet 16 = Sweet Donationby Diana Davidsonphotography by Michael A. BeckDiana & Doug Davidson“It is wonderful to have a young person like Diana devoteher 16 th birthday to benefit Big Brothers Big Sistersof Metro Atlanta. It shows her maturity and compassionfor others. The gift cards that Diana’s friendsgave will help us to provide incentives to our Littles(Mentees) as well as to help recruit more Bigs (Mentors).So far we’ve been able to share these gifts at ourGraduation Celebration as well as during our MentorMingles.”Alicia N. Smith, CFRE | Vice President of DevelopmentBig Brothers Big Sisters of Metro AtlantaMeet Johns Creek High School sophomore, honorstudent and cheerleader, Diana Davidson. WhenDiana was planning her “Sweet 16” birthdayparty, she wanted a night to remember. The huge nightclubdance party took place in the St. Andrews ballroomof the Atlanta Athletic Club. To be honest, I really wantedan amazing party with all of my friends…a party wewould never forget. However, I didn’t want it to be allabout me. So I talked to my parents about choosing acharitable organization that we could all give to in lieuof gifts for me.We talked about several different groups, but I zeroedin on Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta (BBBS)because I could identify with the need for youth andteens to be mentored. I feel so incredibly blessed to bea teenager growing up in the Johns Creek community.We live with such abundance here, and I am so gratefulwhen I consider that so many teens around metroAtlanta have little to no support structure like I have. Ihave such an incredible family, great teachers, coaches,and friends, and a wonderful church (Perimeter). And ofcourse, I absolutely love my high school! Even my PrincipalBuck Greene and Assistant Principal Caren Hudsonare integral parts of my amazing support system.This is why I feel like Big Brothers Big Sisters of MetroAtlanta is so very important. These selfless mentorsmeet with youth and teens at risk. They spend qualitytime with the kids, taking them on outings and encouragingthem to study hard and stay in school so they willhave a bright future. Many of these kids might otherwisebecome just another statistic without the supportof Big Brothers Big Sisters. Their one-to-one mentoringprograms really help kids develop the self-confidence toachieve academic, social and personal success. BBBSof Metro Atlanta has already served 3,000 kids andtheir families across 12 metro Atlanta counties so farthis year. It is the 3 rd largest BBBS agency in the UnitedStates out of 371 total agencies!Giving back is a big part of our family, and my parentsare great examples for me. They are so generous withtheir time and resources. They tell my brother and I,“To whom much is given, much is expected.” Because ofthis, I always want to find ways to give back.Through the generosity of my amazing friends at JohnsCreek High School and Wesleyan School, where I spentKindergarten through 8th grade, I was able to raise over$1,000 in gift cards and donations. Everyone in attendancebrought such generous gift cards. My Sweet 16thbirthday party was definitely a night to remember forso many reasons! Now, I cannot wait to become a “BigSister” myself and mentor teenage girls, and I want toencourage others to do the same through Big BrothersBig Sisters of Metro Atlanta.At her request, Diana’s friends brought giftcards to donate as presents for her Sweet 16.24CountyLine | October 2011 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net


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