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Georgia Teens Honored in Nation’s Capital for Tobacco-Free Campaign

Edited by Titus Falodun | 5/23/2014, 11:46 a.m.
Four Georgia youths of the H.E.A.R.T. Coalition, a statewide substance-abuse prevention organization, earned Youth Advocates of the Year honors by ...
Left to right: Cantrell Foster, Deshanda Smarr, Desha Smarr, and Joseph Cole are Youth Advocates of the Year, in their fight against tobacco.

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Left to right: Kate Atwood, Arby’s Foundation executive director, Mayor Kasim Reed, and Paul Brown, Chief Executive Officer at Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc.

City of Atlanta gives out two Phoenix Awards

The Phoenix Award is the highest honor that the City of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed can bestow on anyone. And recently, Helen Butler, executive director at Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, and Arby’s CEO Paul Brown both garnered the city’s most distinct award.

Health disparity is a major concern in Atlanta, as well as nationwide, as many who need proper or better health coverage are hindered by limited access or misinformation. That is why Butler’s strife to close that gap has been rewarded.

“What motivates me is to help my community have access,” Butler said. “We want to make sure our communities can help overcome those health disparities, and we can have access to quality care.”

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City of Atlanta recognized Helen Butler (at podium) for her community health activism.

Since the start of the National Influenza Vaccination Disparities Partnership (NIVDP), great progress has been made. During the last flu season, NIVDP partners—including community and faith-based groups, hospitals, clinics, and businesses—enabled some 250,000 people to get flu vaccinations.

"Disparities remain among adults with coverage among adult blacks at 36 percent and Hispanics at 34 percent...numbers far lower than their white counterparts at 45 percent," CDC's Medical Director, Dr. Walter W. Williams said. "The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season."

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CDC's Dr. Walter W. Williams

Now this is not something that happens overnight. Through trusted leadership by the likes of Butler and others, and hard work at the grassroots level among minority communities, NIVDP partners are effectively communicating the importance of flu vaccine and getting more people vaccinated each flu season.

Meanwhile, there is another troubling disparity in the amount of children being adequately fed during the summer, which is why in 2001, Arby’s committed to help make a difference.

“We’ve committed to ending childhood hunger in the United States,” Brown said. “Twenty-one million kids have access to free and reduced meals during the school year, but only three million of those kids have that access during the summer.”

The Arby’s Foundation, the charitable arm of Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. (ARG), invited Atlanta-area residents to visit their nearest Arby’s restaurant on May 16, when 10 percent of all proceeds were donated to Mayor Reed’s Centers of Hope summer meals program.

“When you have individuals and businesses that make incredible contributions, you should life them up,” Mayor Kasim Reed told The Atlanta Voice. “These are [people] who are choosing to do good.”

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Nebo Agency anniversary party

Local digital marketing firm celebrates 10th anniversary

ATLANTA – A fast-growing local digital marketing firm celebrated its 10th anniversary in quite an unusual way.

Atlanta City Councilmember Kwanza Hall joined Nebo Agency employees last Friday as they hosted a huge surprise party for the children of Operation P.E.A.C.E. Nebo brought the birthday cake, pizza, a game truck, arts and crafts, organized sports and gift bags filled with food and toys.

Nebo had its start in the Old Fourth Ward. Founder and President Adam Harrell has run a summer Saturday School entrepreneurship competition for Operation P.E.A.C.E. teens as part of Councilmember Hall’s Year of Boulevard initiative. The Saturday School begins its third summer in June.