An incredible opportunity has been presented to Peachtree Road United Methodist Church. We have a chance to call on our rich history of outreach, while creating a new tradition of community service. In the next year our church will partner with some of our city’s leading foundations, corporate citizens and civic leaders to help revitalize the neighborhoods of the Westside.
This effort comes from a shared interest for the citizens of Vine City, English Avenue and Castlebury Hill. Over the decades, these areas have become increasingly isolated from opportunity. The once-middle-class neighborhoods have fallen victim to drugs, crime, attrition and unemployment, and a cycle of generational poverty has set in. PRUMC has been able to do some good through our partnerships with City of Refuge and Feed My Lambs, and now we can do more.
The goal of the Westside revitalization is to bring skills and training to the potential that each Westside resident has as a child of God. This idea was spearheaded by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, The Westside Future Fund led by Mayor Kasim Reed, and the Chick-fil-A Foundation led by Dan Cathy and Rodney Bullard, to assure that as the new Falcons Stadium rises up, the surrounding neighborhoods do as well.
This long-term commitment will begin a new chapter for residents of the Westside. The neighborhoods will have access to a new Pre-K – 8th STEM Academy, Habitat for Humanity homes, police-in-residence, a Beltline extension, a new Chick-fil-A restaurant and much more. We are proud to be part of a collaborative effort that reminds us what it is to be a good neighbor in our great city. And we invite you to join us where “hope meets opportunity.”
Many PRUMC members are already involved in this great initiative. John Stephenson of Chik-fil-A helps advise the Westside Future Fund, and Matt Westmoreland is on the Atlanta Public School (APS) Board.
In an area where 25% of the student population is homeless and 100% qualify for a free lunch program, it is critical that children – and adults – be equipped with knowledge and the skills to apply it in the future. Many institutions involved in the Westside revitalization will be dedicated to sustainable education. Peachtree Road will be included in that focus and help realize the short and long term goals of a new Pre-K – 8th STEM School.
Over ten years ago, PRUMC pioneered a backpack outreach program when the need was great and the effect was impactful. After thoughtful consideration and a study confirming a large number of similar programs in the metro area, we will retire our backpack drive and pioneer new opportunities for those in greater need.
We recognize that serving this STEM school is a sustainable initiative and will be shifting our efforts to fulfilling the needs of this school and community.
With a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), this innovative school will also incorporate “EL” principles to their curriculum. If you are familiar with Outward Bound you will recognize such EL teachings as self-discovery, responsibility and service.
APS Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen, and APS Principal Dr. Diamond Jack are determined to bring positive change to the Westside area through education. This school will serve the children of the Westside, and also offer GED classes and community outreach for adults.