Metro Atlanta Residents Concerned About Falling Trees

We have all seen the huge trees lying on the road side, in power lines, or inside someone’s home after crashing through the roof or side of the house.

Did you hear about the truck driver who passed away after a tree crashed onto his truck while he was driving on I-20? Could you imagine driving and a huge tree fall on your vehicle? There’s no warning and no quick maneuvering, it just happens.

Cascade Patch has asked the question whether Metro Atlanta residents are concerned that more trees will come tumbling down due to high winds, storms, old age of the trees, and infestation from pests. In 2011, the city of Atlanta began studying the trees of Metro Atlanta and discovered that many are reaching their last years of their life cycle. The old trees are simply dying off.

The cost to remove a tree in Atlanta is expensive, and guess what? You must have a permit especially if you live in Atlanta city limits. How many of you have $3,000 or more to have a huge tree, like an Oak, removed from your yard? Now what if you have the money but then find out that your permit to have it removed is delayed or worse, denied?

People are nervous, scared, frustrated, and angry. Do you remember when owning property meant that you could do just about anything to the property because it was yours?

Now between city and county ordinances and homeowners associations your hands and feet are bound from doing most things.

Read the most recent story posted by Cascade Patch and then chime in.

Copyright 2013. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

>Operation HOPE launches metro Atlanta mortgage, credit hotlines

>I announced several days ago that Operation HOPE officially opened its doors to their regional office in Atlanta, and launched their mortgage and consumer credit hotlines last week. Today the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) posted an article on one of their blogs highlighting this momentous occasion. Read, enjoy, and then share this with everyone you know!

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman


>Operation HOPE Opens the Doors to Atlanta Regional Office

>Last night I had the honor of attending the ribbon cutting and open house reception for Operation HOPE at their Atlanta regional office located inside the 191 Peachtree Tower building. 

Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO, John Hope Bryant welcomed everyone and shared information about Operation HOPE, the services they provide, their goals for the city of Atlanta and other communities around the world. Financial literacy, hope, dignity, self-empowerment and self-sufficiency through a hand up not a hand out are the tools that Operation HOPE teaches and instills in children and adults. 

Joining Mr. Bryant were Atlanta City Councilmember Kwanza Hall (and HOPE Board Member); Candace Byrd, the Chief of Staff for the City of Atlanta, Office of the Mayor; Lance Triggs, Operation HOPE’s Executive VP, Chief of HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Centers; Ambassador Andrew Young, who along with the numerous hats he wears, also serves as HOPE Global Spokesman; and Martin Luther King III, President and CEO of The King Center.  

This evening also served as the official launch of the Mortgage HOPE Crisis Hotline and the HOPE Consumer Credit Crisis Hotline. The former provides free foreclosure prevention counseling and loan modification assistance. Initially launched in Los Angeles in 1997, it is now operating nationwide. The latter was launched this year, providing free services to individuals who have questions and need answers about resolving their credit issues.

If you or anyone you know is in need of either mortgage or consumer credit assistance, please don’t wait another minute…call the hotline at 888.388.HOPE (4673)

More Information on Operation HOPE:

Operation HOPE, Inc. (HOPE) founded in 1992, is the first non-profit social investment banking organization in the United States. They provide numerous services including financial literacy, credit counseling and management, computer training, and capital access. HOPE also provides something money can’t buy- dignity and inspiration to those in greatest need…our economically disadvantaged.

HOPE operates in 70 communities and 7 provinces in South Africa. They have served more than 1.2 million people, raised over $900 million to educate, assist, and inspire the future generations in financial literacy, economic empowerment, and “silver rights”.

Visit their site today and see how you can help “the next generation of global stakeholders in financial literacy…”

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman.   

>Hope for Atlanta

>I was looking at my blog and realized that I never wrote about an extremely important moment in my life that occurred a few weeks ago. I don’t know how it’s possible I didn’t post about this experience, but it’s clear that I did not and I want to extend my apologies for leaving many of you in the dark. Let me share with you my experience….

On April 7, 2010 I attended an historic event that will change the pulse of Atlanta, Georgia hopefully forever! I never got the privilege to experience and participate in the Civil Rights Movement, but this day (and future days to come) I had the pleasure of taking part in the Silver Rights Movement.

April 7th Operation HOPE, led by their Founder, Chairman and CEO, John Hope Bryant, partnered with Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church to publicly announce their plans to erect a new multi-million dollar flagship Operation HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Center within the Martin Luther King, Sr. Community Resource Complex on the new Ebenezer church grounds.

On this day I witnessed a Shovel Ceremony where I sat by community leaders, Atlanta residents, and representatives from SunTrust and Wells Fargo/Wachovia (who have eagerly joined this HOPE Center partnership), as we listened to inspirational words from some wonderful people such as Martin Luther King III, Ambassador Andrew Young, Ebenezer’s Senior Pastor Reverend Dr. Raphael Warnock, and FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair.

We also had the pleasure of hearing from CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, Steve Bartlett; Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, Inc., Atlanta’s District 2 Councilmember, Kwanza Hall; Isaac Newton Farris, the Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff of The King Center; C.T. Hill, Corporate Executive VP, SunTrust Banks, Inc., and Candy Moore, Senior VP, Southeast Community Development Manager for Wachovia (Wells Fargo Company).

Of course the day would not be complete without remarks and introductions from John Hope Bryant who energized the speakers and attendees with his passion and desire to see Atlanta and every community struggling to survive, restored to greatness.

The “HOPE Center” will bring Metro Atlanta residents a place to go for one-stop shopping, gaining access to mainstream bank services- helping to remove the “shackles” as check-cashing and payday loan “slaves”, so that they can finally become bank account holders.

The HOPE Center will bring Atlanta the tools needed to gain true financial literacy so that the mistakes of their past are overwritten while empowering them to not make the same mistakes or worse in their future.
Metro Atlanta residents will have hands-on education in economics and financial case management, an understanding and ability to gain wealth through small business ownership and home ownership, and a chance to heal, grow, and embrace a sense of dignity and pride within their neighborhoods and for their surrounding communities.

The HOPE Center will bring Atlanta back to being the highly regarded “Black Wall Street” and live up to the hopes and dreams of the late Martin Luther King, Sr and his son, the late Martin Luther King, Jr. Who wouldn’t be excited at that vision and reality?

Following the speeches at the shovel ceremony, each guest speaker lined up in front of the area where I was seated, and as they placed their construction hard hats on their heads, those of us who also were given hard hats did the same. Then they immediately grabbed their inscribed shovels and dug into the soil… of the future site of the HOPE Center…as the rest of us snapped pictures, applauded, and celebrated.

It was forecasted to rain that day…no rain…not that day. The clouds held back so that we could witness history in the making. So we could witness and take part in a moment in the Silver Rights Movement. I’m so grateful that I was able to be there firsthand!

Thank you for the invitation, the experience I can share with generations, and thank you for the hard hat…I’m looking at it now!

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

>Wednesday WindDown is Back for 2010

>Atlanta…Wednesday WindDown has returned for another 26…ok now we’re down to 24 weeks of Jazz, Blues, R&B, Soul, Funk, and Neo-Soul to feed your heart, mind, body, spirit and soul. Last Wednesday was the first day of the 26-week series at Centennial Olympic Park. It was jam-packed and filled to the brim with great music, energetic people, and beautiful weather.

I keep my lawn chair in the trunk of my car every year, waiting for the moment I can pull it out and relax at the park. Last week I met one of my girl’s Brenita there with her new beau, and an associate of her’s…I feel bad that her name escapes me right now. We enjoyed every second of the event, which lasts from 5:30pm to 8pm…although many of us regulars like to show up as early as 4pm to get a good seat. I have been known to show up around 3:30pm and enjoy the peace before the bands and crews arrive.

Last week I arrived closer to 6pm and was grateful that Brenita had already arrived, or we would not have been able to sit near the center of the “action”. When I say “action” I am not merely referring to the bands performing on the stage, no I am also referring to the “characters” that dress up, show up, and act out for over three hours for our and their amusement. You have the crowd entertainers who go around dancing, singing and serenading the crowd; on occasion you may have a balloon artist walking around making hearts for the cute ladies and the kiddies; there’s the “Skittles Crew” as I call them…dressed in two and three piece suits, dress shoes (and hats) from head to toe in one or two BRIGHT colors like red, blue, purple, pink, turquoise, orange, yellow, or green. Some even remember to bring their canes! I think after years of seeing them congregate near each other they definitely know one another.
The women who get the most attention come in all ages, shapes and sizes wearing the smallest and most revealing of outfits possible. What makes it “action” worthy is that most of these women are between the ages of 45-60 and are still rocking the daisy duke shorts, and the jumpers (which I noticed have made yet another comeback…considering the possibility). I guess they say, “as long as they make my size I’m wearing it!” So they proudly parade around the main area dancing, singing, flirting, and carrying on while some folks cheer them on, others snap pictures (Brenita’s beau took this one), and others sit there in amazement. I simply sat there eating my Cheetos!
Last week we jammed with bands, “Between 9&7” and “Ron Cooley and the Hard Times Band“. Today I went to the park with my mom and sister. Since word got out that WW was back, people showed up early and on time. We arrived at 4:45pm (after maneuvering through traffic and paying for parking) and the place was packed so we sat in a grassy area not too far from the stage…basically, I wanted to make sure I could get some sun on my legs without bringing too much attention to myself!

Chico and the Band” performed today and let me say, they were BEYOND awesome. I got to hear remakes of some classic songs by performers that I absolutely love and respect such as the three elements…Earth, Wind & Fire; Prince, Donna Summer, Barry White, The Trammps (Disco Inferno), James Brown, and several others. During intermission the DJ took us back to the 80s and 90s with some songs from Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, Rob Base, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Montel Jordan and others. I was singing, dancing, tapping my feet and tweeting on Twitter non-stop until the clock struck 8pm.

What was really cool to see, which I always love to see every Wednesday are the families that show up with picnic baskets, blankets, chairs, footballs, frisbees, etc. and the children run around and play catch…it’s beautiful. They usually are stationed on the outskirts of what would be considered the amphitheater so they can have plenty of room to stretch out and relax. Something else I get a kick out of seeing are people playing games like chess and checkers. You can hear the laughter and trash talking as they battle it out. Today three men sat near us and I giggled hearing them go back and forth over who was going to lose today.

After eating our Subway sandwiches my mom assumed her normal position, reclined in her lounge chair (with attached umbrella) and she closed her eyes as she bobbed her head to the music. Yes, that’s my sister looking at me like I’m the crazy one!

Although I didn’t tweet about this on Twitter, I can’t help but to share one of the most hilarious incidents to ever occur in my presence (directly connected to my sister)….While relaxing my sister leaned forward in her lounge chair to grab something and found herself in a very awkward position…yes, I had no choice but to capture the moment with my Blackberry. What are sister’s for?

After catching my breath and regaining my composure, I eventually helped her. No, I didn’t stop laughing!

Can you tell we had a great time today? There has never been a time when I have attended Wednesday WindDown and not had a blast. Depending on the day’s schedule downtown, and if other events are taking place, parking at nearby lots range in price from $5-25. I can only recall paying $20 once or twice (because I didn’t want to walk except right across the street) and it was because there was a huge concert or sporting event. Usually I pay $5 or $10 for parking.

I will say that there are some strict rules enforced by the Atlanta Police Department at Centennial such as, no glass bottles and no alcoholic beverages (other than the ones sold by vendors). Yes, they check your bags, coolers, and the bags you carry your lawn chairs in, as well as your children’s bags (please don’t try that)…so come at your own risk for those of you who still want to test the Atlanta Police Department…today I watched couples with frowns on their faces as their cans and bottles of beer and wine were confiscated. Let the creative minds ponder this…..

Aren’t you interested in attending a Wednesday WindDown? Click this link and check out the upcoming performances. Yes, I will be attending most of them…maybe you will see me there! Next Wednesday the band that is scheduled to perform is “Siohvan” and they will be bringing us some R&B, Neo Soul, and New Jazz sponsored by WAOK radio. Hope to see you there!

Copyright © 2010 by Natasha L. Foreman. All rights reserved.

>Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Jean Childs Young Middle School


Friday, April 2, 2010 I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony at Jean Childs Young Middle School in Atlanta, Georgia. It was an amazing moment that I hope to never forget. Growing up reading and learning about Mrs. Jean Childs Young and the love for humanity that she shared with the world brought everything full circle when I stepped foot on the campus that has been re-born to celebrate and honor her life and legacy. She lived an amazing life helping others help themselves; opening her home and heart during and after the Civil Rights Movement, and giving people hope and a sense of self-confidence.
I remember thinking how strong, loving (of others and of self); intelligent, courageous, and joyful a woman would have to be in order to be married to a man of such intensity as the great Ambassador Andrew Young. I never was blessed with the opportunity to meet this phenomenal woman I had read about in high school and college, but the stories shared of those who love her, seeing the programs and institutions she helped build, she is here today and I get to connect to a small piece of her…indeed a blessing!
Attending the ceremony on Friday also gave me the opportunity to meet some of the people who knew her for well over 30 years. To see how touched they were by the speeches, musical selections from the school’s jazz band, and a trio of young ladies that sang a song reflecting on what Mrs. Young’s legacy meant to them warmed my heart.
A passionate speech from daughter Andrea Young, a dance performed by former student Ashlee Rouse, and a breathtaking poem by a group of students made me believe that this school represents the vision that Mrs. Young had for public education and the opportunities that Black children need in order to compete globally. 
A school where leadership, character and scholarship is developed fully in each child, and where her motto, her belief, that “every child is a gifted child” can be instilled in the educators, parents, students, and the surrounding community. This is clearly evident at Jean Childs Young Middle School. The campus is beautiful, and the students have a sense of pride in their school and in their role as our future leaders. The program was presided over by a sixth grader, Aja Crosson and seventh grader, Geramy Perriman whose intellect and demeanor mirrored that of students several years older.
Mayor Kasim Reed even took notice of the leadership qualities within young Geramy who commanded all of our attention just with his powerful voice and presence on the stage. Mayor Reed mentioned how when he was a youngster Ambassador Young told him (when he was the presiding Mayor of Atlanta) that one day he too could have the honor and privilege of being a mayor. Mayor Reed said the same to Geramy…now wouldn’t that be something amazing to reflect on in maybe 30 years if Atlanta elects Mayor Perriman? 
It takes a very special person to have a school named after them. There is no doubt that the city of Atlanta, and the community surrounding this school love and respect Jean Childs Young and supported this formal dedication, and will continue to support the school and our youth for many years to come.
Girls grow up with an image of what a woman is, what a wife is and should be, how to make a positive impact in your family’s life, debating how a strong and intelligent woman carries herself, and how she can affect change in society…there are some wonderful examples to admire in history and throughout our communities…Mrs. Jean Childs Young is definitely one of those examples- let’s keep working on our greatness ladies!
Copyright © 2010 by Natasha L. Foreman. All rights reserved. Except for displayed image of Mrs. Jean Childs Young.

>Join Me March 7th to Say NO to War, Rape and Torture in the DRC and Rwanda


Many of you know of my philanthropic efforts to assist women and young girls domestically and abroad to become educated, empowered, and elevated above their current lifestyle…experience…condition; and free from rape, torture, and the heightened probability of death due to victimization from war, or lack of resources at their disposal.
In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day (March 8th) I want to share with you the work of one of the charities that I support…Women for Women International. Two of the war torn countries that Women for Women International works within to provide tools and resources for survival and self-sufficiency of women and their families, are Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
For those of you who are not familiar with the history of the DRC and Rwanda, and the impact on both country’s women and children, let me share some horrifying facts with you… 
It has been estimated that roughly 500,000 women and girls in Rwanda were raped, tortured and physically abused during the genocide that began in 1994. The country’s population is 70% female with more than half of the households ran by women; 80% of which are widows.
In the DRC it has been cited that in more than a decade of conflict and war there has been over 5.4 million deaths and hundreds of thousands of women raped, tortured, and beaten. Women in the DRC face kidnapping, mutilation, rape and torture from soldiers of both foreign militias and the Congolese army as they are being held as hostages. 
Over 1/4 million children in Rwanda have been made orphans due to AIDS. “Despite the extreme poverty many Rwandans find room in their hearts to adopt as many as 6 orphaned children, treating every child like their own, a mantra of the country and its President, Paul Kagame(Women for Women International Website).
Due to the strength of the women in Rwanda their ability to finally speak up and speak out after years of silence has led to the act of rape to be prosecuted as a war crime. In 2003, 49% of parliaments seats were filled by women. But these strides don’t mean that women are completely free from the effects of war.

 The women of the DRC and Rwanda need our help so that they can help themselves. Women for Women International has served more than 40,000 women in both countries, and through Women for Women International you can help a woman gain the sense of self-worth, the ability to provide for her family with dignity and respect, and bring her one step closer to living in peace. These women are not looking for charity…they are looking for the opportunity to stand up and speak out; get training and develop the necessary skills to become self-sufficient…while being blessed with the chance to provide for and protect their children.

Join me and others this Sunday, March 7, 2010 at the 17th Street Bridge in Atlanta, Georgia from 12:00-1:00pm as we come together to participate in Women for Women International’s global campaign, Join Me on the Bridge, working together towards building peaceful bridges between the countries of Rwanda and the Congo. On this day we stand together on the 17th Street Bridge, and display peace banners to honor these women and millions of others who have survived war worldwide. Join Me on the Bridge unites women from around the world in a global movement that shows we can build bridges towards the development of a fruitful future. 

I hope to see you there…men also…we’d love for you to join us so that you too can stand up and speak out for the very women that could be your mother, aunt, sister, niece, grand daughter, cousin, or your daughter.

You can register in advance (yes, the event is free), or if you can’t attend please find it in your heart to donate anything so that we can stand as family and say NO to war and YES to peace, love, and hope! 

For more information on Women for Women International click here

Copyright © 2010 by Natasha L. Foreman.

Image Source: Women for Women International Website