VIDEO: Elections, Paycheck Protection, Learning Resources, and more.

VIDEO: Elections, Paycheck Protection, Learning Resources, and more.

VIDEO: Elections, Paycheck Protection, Learning Resources, and more.

While the Georgia legislature takes a hiatus, there is a lot happening around the state.  GCO’s Vice President of Public Policy, Buzz Brockway, shares valuable information on what you can expect with the election, new help for businesses, and additional learning resources for those attempting school from home.

Coronavirus And Its Teachable Moments

Coronavirus And Its Teachable Moments

Coronavirus And Its Teachable Moments

This too shall pass.

At times, it may not feel like it, but the fact is that these are moments in time. We are a resilient people. We are going to get through this—and we actually are getting through this. When chaos happens we learn things about ourselves. Sometimes the dwell on the ugly things, but good things are happening and we simply need to learn from them.

Here are a few opportunities and lessons learned that will help us shape a better future for everybody:

1. A Job Is More Than A Job

What a difference a few weeks makes. Just a month ago, unemployment was at 3.1% and the economy was booming. Now many  face financial uncertainties for their businesses and for their households caused by closures and lockdowns. For many the feeling of hopelessness is new, but it proves the power that a job and financial provision can bring. When we are driven by purpose, hope is restored.

It’s easy to villainize those who want to  increase jobs as callous individuals only interested in the “almighty dollar.” Now we can see a job brings purpose, hope, dreams, and a sense of dignity. Work is an important part of our sense of well being.


a family playing on the couch2. We Were Meant for Relationship

Social distancing and lockdowns are making us appreciate the need and rewards strong relationships bring.

During a crisis that asks us to maintain distance, people are finding new ways to connect.

Why?  Because we need it for our well-being. It is why we must continue to work to strengthen family and interpersonal relationships in all communities. Many people are taking online classes or learning new activities to bring us closer. While many of us had models for healthy relationships and interactions, not everyone has had that luxury. And after this is over, we will need to continue to foster these activities. Moving forward we must make sure that all people have access to the social capital that many of us are learning to appreciate on a new level.


3. Accessible Education For All

Many of us are experiencing the struggle of educating our kids. We are learning what it is like to try to find the best tools to keep our kids learning. 

While a great resource, online education isn’t as readily available as we hoped. More importantly, while some students have moved to online options, not all can. 

The lack of equitable educational opportunities will lead to change. The solution going forward will be modular options in education. Not all kids need to go into a physical 22-person classroom to get educational needs met. Ones that can should continue to do so, but we must open up our thinking to ensure every person has equal access to high-quality education.


a volunteer with a donation box4. As Necessary as Government is, Our Communities Hold the Answer

Yes, government has played a huge role in keeping society moving with stimulus packages and mobilizing services, but where we really flourish is in community action. From nonprofits providing services, feeding the needy, and connecting communities in an online environment to businesses providing the industry needed to keep goods flowing, all are examples of what happens when we work together to fight against a common enemy.

There will be thousands of stories coming out of this pandemic of neighbors supporting neighbors, foster families stepping up to help children forgotten during hardships, local community organizations providing services typically served by government, and businesses serving despite shackles of a lockdown as they await a return to normalcy.

We will persevere and we will be better.

Community Is Happening Despite Social Distancing

Community Is Happening Despite Social Distancing

Community Is Happening Despite Social Distancing

As our communities, state, country, and even the world face unprecedented times because of the COVID-19 virus, one thing remains constant: community. It’s true that because of mandates on social distancing, physical gatherings are being discouraged. This may make some people feel disconnected.

It is a natural reaction. We are meant for community and the family it brings. It is why one of the vital pieces of the success sequence is family, and it is why the Georgia Center for Opportunity provides classes on relationship.

So what do we do when we can’t physically be together? Never underestimate the ingenuity of people to create community however they can.

Here are a few great examples of people who are working to establish connection amidst social distancing:

1. Do You Want To Read A Kid’s Book?

Josh Gad, most famously the voice of Olaf in Frozen, daily reads kids books via Twitter.

2. Good Samaritan Shopper

In light of fear of exposure to the elderly and immune compromised, a Charlotte man is offering to shop for those who are unable, or concerned about, going out for themselves.

3. Inspirational Songs

Jon Foreman, lead singer of the band Switchfoot, leads nightly acoustic sing alongs from his home in California.

4. Online Churches & Small Groups

While many churches offered online streaming options before the outbreak, many are being thrust into a new way of doing church for everyone. It’s not just Sunday morning services, but small groups and youth ministries as well.

Last night my son joined dozens of other middle school students on Instagram for a live stream and chat. My men’s small group meets virtually, and my wife is working with our women’s ministry to host daily chats with women stuck at home.

Our church is far from the only one doing this. Church communities all over the country are finding ways to stay connected virtually.


5. Online Concert & So Much More

Brad Paisley has already shown that he is doing everything he can to support the community during this time. But on Thursday, March 20, 2020 he will be hosting a live concert on Instagram and he is already taking requests via text.


It all comes down to connection. We are meant for community. Despite the need to stay apart physically, we still find ways to connect.

Relationship is vital to your well being and to your upward mobility. Stay connected and find ways to be part of the community, virtual or not, around you.


Share How You Are Staying Connected In The Comments!

Strengthening Family – Making The Most Of This Time Together

Strengthening Family – Making The Most Of This Time Together

Strengthening Family – Making The Most Of This Time Together

It’s an unprecedented time across Georgia, America, and the world as we all grapple with Coronavirus. As schools and daycare centers shut their doors to prevent further spread, millions of parents are faced with a new way of life, alone at home with the kids all day.

At GCO, we believe that family is vital—now more so than ever. So we’re approaching this as a great time for families to connect and interact in new ways. Here are a few ways to do that.

Family Activities

Doing activities together can open up opportunities for conversations and interactions that wouldn’t come naturally.

These resources can help you identify a few ways to stay engaged with each other.


Fun Things To Do In The House

  • Play a Board Game
  • Start your spring garden by planting seeds indoors
  • Build a fort using blankets
  • Make colorful slime out of Elmer’s glue and borax
  • Learn a language on Duolingo
  • Take the “try not to laugh challenge” on YouTube
  • Do a family puzzle
  • Have a family reading hour
  • Watch a streaming movie
  • Enjoy as actor, Josh Gad (voice of Olaf in Frozen), reads to storybooks to the kids on Twitter
  • Do an arts and craft project


Explore Your Neighborhood

  • Take a walk
  • Take a hike in an area where there aren’t a lot of people
  • Try to discover and write down all of the plants and animals in your neighborhood
  • Play yard games like spikeball, badmitton or Boche ball
  • Play catch


    What is your family doing to connect while you are at home?
    Let Us Know In The Comments

    The Value of Sung and Unsung Heroes

    The Value of Sung and Unsung Heroes

    The Value of Sung and Unsung Heroes

    As we celebrate, Black History Month, I’m reminded of the 1993 song written by Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff entitled “Hero”. The words to the chorus went like this:

    “And then a hero comes along
    With the strength to carry on
    And you cast your fears aside
    And you know you can survive
    So when you feel like hope is gone
    Look inside you and be strong
    And you’ll finally see the truth
    That a hero lies in you”

    Heroes: Sung and Unsung

    Big Mamma

    Emma White, “Big Mamma”

    A hero is defined as a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. People like Harriett Tubman, a leading abolitionist and the most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad, are  “sung” heroes. 

    An unsung hero is defined as one who does great deeds but receives little or no recognition for them. Respectfully known to her family as “Big Mamma,” Emma White was an African American woman who fits the definition of an “unsung” hero. She was a matriarch and an example of strong family values.    

    Finding Our Heroes

    During the month of February, we often think about those well-known African Americans who have made a notable mark in history. Too often individuals who are everyday heroes in our own lives don’t get much recognition—those who have found strength inside to provide and care for their families.

    Think of a time when an unsung hero gave you hope and strength to carry on? Was it a teacher, pastor, friend, boss, or  family member?

    For me, it was this determined and hard-working African American woman named “Big Mamma”. A short, petite woman in stature who had a commanding voice like an army sergeant that immediately got your attention. You dare not speak or move unless you were called upon. Everyone in the family (young and old) respected and obeyed her. Big Mamma was my great grandmother and the stern matriarch of the family. She was an unsung hero!

    A Hard Working Hero

    Big Mamma was not only physically strong but she had a high work ethic. She chopped wood, milked cows, toiled her own land, and grew and maintained her own garden. These are only a few of the labor-intensive jobs she performed to provide for her family. Every weekend, Big Mamma (a dedicated entrepreneur and business woman) opened up her very own fruit and vegetable stand to sell to neighbors or people passing by. I am  unaware of the struggles she encountered as a black business owner, but I am certain there were many. Whatever those struggles or barriers were, Big Mamma persevered in order to provide for her family. To many black entrepreneurs, she was a hero. 

    Big Mamma with her familyFamily was everything to her. She provided food, clothing, and shelter not just for her immediate family but for near and distant relatives. Her cooking always brought the family together. She laid down the law about family with these words of wisdom: “Never forget where you came from” and “family is always going to be there for you in good times and hard times.” She was the real example of strong family values. To so many families, she was a hero.

    The matriarch of our family, “Big Mamma” died at the ripe age of 91. She is gone but not forgotten. Her strong values of hard-work and family first have left a lasting impression on me. She was and is my hero.

    Remember Your Heroes

    As an African American woman, I have been impacted by both Harriett and Big Mamma’s heroic efforts. Headlines or no headlines, Harriet and Big Mamma were both strong African American women who paved the way for their people. 

    While there are many known influential and famous African Americans who have been and are still being recognized for their notable achievements (like Harriet Tubman), let us not forget the many African Americans who have contributed and impacted the lives of their families and communities greatly without any accolades or world-wide recognition (like Emma White, a.k.a. “Big Mamma”).

    Both heroes are equally important. Both found the strength within to carry on.

    I salute all African Americans, “sung” and “unsung” heroes, who have paved the way for us.  

    That’s why the work that I do at GCO in the Healthy Families Initiative is so meaningful—because we not only help African American families but we help all families THRIVE no matter their ethnicity. Many of the people we partner with are the real unsung heroes.

    About The Author

    Katherine Greene

    Katherine Greene

    Program Manager, Healthy Families Initiative

    As the Program Manager of the Healthy Families Initiative (HFI) at Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO), Katherine works closely with the Program Director and Hispanic Outreach Liaison to strategically build community partnerships and manage relationship skill-building education classes throughout Georgia.
    THE CENTER SQUARE – Higher tax incentives for adoption could result in Georgia revenue loss of more than $12M

    THE CENTER SQUARE – Higher tax incentives for adoption could result in Georgia revenue loss of more than $12M

    Gov. Brian Kemp’s proposal to increase foster care adoption tax credits could result in a state revenue loss of $12.8 million over the next five years, according to fiscal researchers.

    Kemp wants the General Assembly to increase the annual tax incentive from $2,000 to $6,000 to promote more adoptions from the state’s foster care system. Rep. Bert Reeves, R-Marietta, has considered drafting a proposal of the bill, according to a fiscal note from the Department of Audits and Accounts….

    Buzz Brockway, vice president of public policy for the independent, nonpartisan think tank Georgia Center for Opportunity, said that “a stable, healthy family is a crucial part” of success.

    “At the very top of our policy agenda should be protecting the kids in the foster care system, and right alongside that is supporting these foster parents who are called to a mission unlike any other,” he said


    Read the full article here