Joyce Mayberry Leads In New Role As Vice President of Family Formation

Joyce Mayberry Leads In New Role As Vice President of Family Formation

Joyce Mayberry Leads In New Role As Vice President of Family Formation

Joyce Mayberry will be moving into a new role as the Vice President of Family Formation. In this position, Joyce will continue to develop new ways to strengthen families in the communities we serve through our many partners.

This move in position reinforces three primary pillars of the Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO) team – opportunity for high-quality education, meaningful work, and healthy families. Family formation is an important foundation for ensuring we can maximize the chances of someone charting a path out of poverty.

Joyce has served the GCO community for the past two decades, becoming a  well-respected leader on family relationship resources. . Organizationally, she brings a powerful passion to better assist and train individuals on healthy relationships. 

 “I am excited about my new role as Vice President of Family Formation,” stated Joyce about this new alignment.” There is power in numbers and together we can help enhance and empower the well-being of family members.” 

Through collaboration with recent new partners, Joyce will work to streamline our family education efforts and continue to champion our invaluable partners.

This change will help GCO successfully set up pathways for those stuck in the cycles of poverty. It is through this renewed vision that we hope to bring new opportunities and break down barriers in 2020.

Forming A Family – The importance of exploring paid family leave

Forming A Family – The importance of exploring paid family leave

Forming A Family – The importance of exploring paid family leave

Family formation is a cornerstone step in the success sequence. It also is a difficult topic to address. We know family is important to upward mobility and opportunity, but how do we foster it? One initiative being discussed, even at a national level, is paid family leave.



Why Time Together Matters

family on vacation in the oceanRecently I took the family on a vacation.  We slept in a hotel room with beds mere feet from each other, shared street-vendor meals, crammed into a small vehicle and drove hours together, and walked miles side-by-side for seven straight days.

When we came home, we were tired, smelly and done being with each other. Each child (and adult) immediately found their own room and spent some much needed alone time. Since then, however, we have spent more time hanging out and talking. Less time on our phones and more time just being together. But why?

Because even for an introvert like myself, connection with each other and the bonds of a family are strengthened by proximity.



Time Together Establishes Healthy Relational Bonds

These bonds are even more important at a young age. Time with our children, especially in their infancy, is important to establishing lifelong healthy attachments. These healthy relationships will be the basis for family formation in a child’s life.

That is why we are taking the lead on the discussion of paid family leave. Creating an open dialogue that outlines, not just the importance, but the manner in which we institute such a system is vital to the support of stronger families. The U.S. is one of the only first-world nations that has not addressed this issue at a policy level. 

The issue is particularly impactful to the stability and formation for families in lower income areas. It is why Georgians and the Georgia Center for Opportunity must take the lead on guiding conversations on this.



Join us for our discussion on this important subject
next week at GA Tech!

Creating healthy relationships, one man at a time

Creating healthy relationships, one man at a time

Creating healthy relationships, one man at a time

“Family is not an important thing.
It’s everything.”


Those words of wisdom from Michael J. Fox reflect a core reality about us as human beings. We long for meaningful connections. But in a culture where families are ripped apart, and loneliness and addiction are rampant, so many of our neighbors know nothing of the warmth, joy, and assurance of healthy relationships and a stable home life.

No longer Bound signThat’s why Georgia Center for Opportunity is partnering with organizations like No Longer Bound, an Atlanta-based organization that enrolls men in a 12-month residential regeneration process to rescue addicts, regenerate men, and rescue families. Men who go through the program resolve wounds from their past, repair damaged belief systems, restore relationship health, and receive a new identity.


Partnership with GCO

Staff at No Longer Bound noticed that men often came into their program with a history of broken romantic relationships. These men are eager to learn better ways to manage their relationships and earnestly want to become better husbands and fathers. Learning to identify a healthy partner and how to appropriately pace relationship development is a building block to supporting long-term recovery work.

A group photo with No Longer Bound staff

As a result, GCO’s Healthy Families Initiative provided a healthy relationship curriculum to No Longer Bound to help their men improve their relationship skills.


Positive feedback

The curriculum and class led to positive feedback from the men who participated, like these:

“The class has given me tools to use and concentrate on while starting to date my wonderful girlfriend of 13+ years again.”

“The class put certain things in perspective for me.”

“It made me more conscientious of the dating process and how to respectfully court a lady.”

“The class gave me a more introspective way to view how relationships work. For the majority of my life, I’ve realized that it was all about the other person and how they could change me. But it’s just the opposite—it’s completely about changing my inner self. That translates to a lasting relationship.”

“The class helped me look inward and identify what kind of woman I want. Also what kind of man I want to be.”

More about HFI

If you want to discover ways you can help your neighbors find relational stability and a healthy family life, HFI is here to partner with you. HFI is a community-based program that joins with local churches, nonprofits, schools, and businesses to help people from all walks of life enjoy healthy, intact families and strong relationships. Click here for more.

Breakthrough 2019 – Caring For Foster Families

Breakthrough 2019 – Caring For Foster Families

Breakthrough 2019 – Caring For Foster Families

We can’t address the crisis in our civil society without addressing children who lack a family to come home to.

That was the driving theme behind Breakthrough 2019’s panel on foster care and adoption. A staggering 97 percent of kids who age out of the foster care system without a stable connection to a family end up landing in chronic poverty. How can we best help these children?

For practical ideas, we heard from Andy Cook of Promise 686, Bob Bruder-Mattson of FaithBridge Foster Care, Pam Parish of Connections Homes, and Chelsea Sabo of Foster Care Alliance.

As Andy shared, “The greatest nonprofit in the world is the family.”

Breakthrough 2019 – A Sustainable Vision For Helping The Poor

Breakthrough 2019 – A Sustainable Vision For Helping The Poor

Breakthrough 2019 – A Sustainable Vision For Helping The Poor

Is there a solution to poverty? That’s the question GCO president and CEO Randy Hicks discussed with AEI president Robert Doar as a keynote at Breakthrough 2019.

One powerful step forward in the anti-poverty fight is the Success Sequence: Helping as many people as possible attach to employment, stable family lives, and education. And solutions come locally.

“We don’t really succeed in helping people move up unless we have a really great and strong civil society and faith-based institutions helping people on a one-to-one basis,” Robert Doar shared. “Government can write a check. Government can fund a program. But it can’t help a person get a job or help a child learn to read. That happens at a local level in an individual experience.”

The impact of healthcare costs on upward mobility

The impact of healthcare costs on upward mobility

The impact of healthcare costs on upward mobility

For high-income individuals and families, a visit to a doctor’s office is a financial non-event. They typically have robust health insurance to cover the out-of-pocket costs, and their co-pays are low and easily affordable.

But for poor and even middle-income families lacking health insurance—or trapped in plans with poor coverage and high deductibles—a simple visit to the doctor can be financially devastating.  

As the recent government shutdown revealed, nearly 80% of American workers live paycheck to paycheck. Given this reality, it’s no surprise that high healthcare costs are all-too-often the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back and drives people facing overwhelming medical costs into bankruptcy.  



Georgians lack any health insurance


The American Dream is at risk   

Tragically, the inability for many to afford quality healthcare is the primary reason why fully 13.3% of Georgians lack any health insurance today. Indeed, the exponentially exploding cost of healthcare significantly discourages poor and even middle-class people from visiting the doctor—resulting in longer term, poorer, and ultimately more expensive health consequences.

The bottom line is that despite its name, the ACA has not improved the health insurance system, nor has it achieved its two primary goals—universal coverage and affordable healthcare.

Indeed, in the nine years since passage of the ACA in 2010, not only is a significant percentage of the population not insured, health insurance premiums have grown 60 percent faster than the general inflation rate—while medical care services have increased 90 percent faster and hospital services more than three times as fast.

Simply put, when 17.9% of our nation’s GDP is spent on healthcare—totaling $3.5 trillion, or $10,739 per person annually—how can people in the lower and middle income levels ever hope to move up the ladder of economic mobility and achieve the American dream?

Will be pushed below the poverty line due to medical expenses

Healthcare costs are devastating for the poor

One study from 2018 in the American Journal of Public Health showed that 7 million people who make above 150 percent of the poverty level were pushed below the poverty line due to medical expenses. And 4 million of that number fell into extreme poverty (50 percent below the poverty line). Other facts throw even more fuel on the fire:

  • Medical debt is a major cause of bankruptcy in the U.S.
  • Poor and middle class people spend a higher percentage of their income on healthcare than the rich do.
  • A significant story—often overshadowed by rising premiums—is the fact that health-insurance deductibles have also risen. This means that even when people need to use their high-cost health insurance plans, they still end up paying more and more out of pocket before their insurance benefits kick in.

Given this reality, it’s clear that when poor and middle-class Georgians are buried under an avalanche of medical expenses they have a much harder time pursuing the things we know increase upward mobility, including getting a better education, which leads to landing a better job with better medical insurance and a greater ability to save money, buy a house, and not be forced to live month-to-month.


Encouraging upward mobility through healthcare reform

Here at GCO, our mission is to remove barriers that keep people from thriving. In a very real sense, the overwhelming costs associated with healthcare are a burden that prevents both poor and middle class Georgians from moving upward on the economic ladder and achieving their dreams.

This is why we are calling for a comprehensive set of consumer-driven, market-based reforms to stabilize the current safety net program and achieve universal coverage for all Georgians by:

  • Untethering healthcare from its close association with employment so that people won’t lose their insurance because they lose or change a job.
  • Making shopping for health insurance just like buying any other insurance product so that consumers can identify coverage and price options—and compare apples to apples.
  • Providing subsidies from the government—run by the Georgia Gateway—to allow low-income individuals and families to purchase insurance on the private market. This system would be means-tested by an eligibility engine that eliminates welfare cliffs and marriage penalties.

Thanks to federal waiver applications offered through the Trump Administration that allow states to come up with their own solutions to the healthcare crisis, Georgia has a unique opportunity to enact meaningful health-insurance reform that not only addresses access to high quality insurance coverage, but also keeps families from falling down the economic ladder into poverty because of a medical crisis.

Read more:

A Real Solution for Health Insurance and Medical Assistance Reform

What Does an Ideal Solution to the Health Insurance Crisis Look Like?