According to a news release from the Atlanta Braves, the Atlanta Braves Foundation -- the nonprofit branch of the Atlanta Braves -- "awarded $150,000 in grants to 19 local nonprofit organizations prior to the Braves game vs. the Philadelphia Phillies on Sept. 27, 2011. The grants are used toward helping the organizations fund initiatives, including after school programs, health and wellness efforts, anti-bullying campaigns, educational projects, athletic programs, and much more. Advocates for Children was awarded $2,500 [in] support of recreation needs. Funds will enhance and improve recreation equipment and be applied toward participation in school or community league sports."
Advocates for Children serves more than 2,500 youth each year through the Flowering Branch Children's Center and other programs that assist in the awareness, prevention and treatment of child abuse.
"We made a grant request for funding to be used for sports and recreation programming for our kids," said Karen White, development director for Advocates for Children. "So included in that would be things like team fees, uniforms and equipment, transportation to and from games and practices, as well as recreation equipment for Flowering Branch Children's Shelter. We believe that participation in team sports and physical activities has immediate and lasting benefits for our kids.
"We encourage them to get involved in recreational activities and in team sports. We are very generously supported by Gold's Gym in Cartersville who has allowed all of our children who are residents here as well as our staff who work with the children to go to Gold's at any time and we encourage that. We also encourage participation in team sports and part of that is for their physical health, keeping them in good shape and keeping them active and helping them to build their self-esteem and feel better about [themselves]. And the other part of that is learning how to participate in a team and all the benefits that come from being a team player and interacting with other kids."
Operating since 1985, the 13-bed Flowering Branch Children's Shelter serves between 30 and 50 youth each year. In 2010, the facility sheltered 30 children who stayed an average of 117 days.
"Our residents, some of them end up staying here for a very extended period and some of them may only be here with us for a couple of months," White said. "So those who are here with us are ever-changing. And one of the things that makes us so unique and so special is that we keep all the kids who come to Flowering Branch in their school [of] origin if they're already a resident of Bartow County and registered in a local school. So we don't remove children.
"If they come to us and they were attending Adairsville High School, they will continue to attend Adairsville High School while living with us. So we don't have kids participating in any one program. We actually have them participating in programs in middle schools and high schools all across the county."
For more information about Advocates for Children, visit www.AdvoChild.org or call 770-387-1143.