Real Communities Welcomes New Community Builders

Purposefully involving people with and without developmental disabilities in collaborative projects is pivotal to the framework of Real Communities. GCDD’s signature initiative welcomes its newest community builders who are working to utilize the gifts of everyone and create avenues toward reciprocity, interdependence and social change.

Georgians For Alternatives to the Death Penalty (GFADP)
Dorinda Tatum brings her talents as a community organizer and advocate in the labor, human rights and social justice movements to Real Communities. She currently serves as lead organizer for GFADP. This statewide coalition of organizations and individuals is working to end the death penalty, build power in communities targeted by the criminal justice system, protect the rights and dignity of those on death row and their families, and reform Georgia’s public safety system.

Mixed Greens Community Builders
Three new community builders – Jessica Mathis, Johnny Smith and Barry Helmey – join Teri Schell, executive director of Forsyth Farmers’ Market and GCDD community builder, to host monthly meetings, recruit new members, staff the Mixed Greens booth at the Forsyth Farmers’ Market and engage in reflective learning in order to support the market’s efforts.

The market serves as a building block to develop a more welcoming neighborhood and provide opportunities for connection and contribution for people with and without disabilities. The core group works together to support the market with smiling faces, interactive projects and learning opportunities.

Jessica Mathis was born and raised in Savannah, GA. Mathis attended Armstrong State University and is currently applying to their graduate level history program. She works at Living Independence for Everyone (LIFE), Inc. as a peer mentor and is starting an educational nonprofit. Mathis has been a part of the Mixed Greens for just under one year.

Johnny Smith has lived in Savannah for most of his adult life, and has been a Mixed Greens member since 2011. He also volunteers at the Forsyth Farmers’ Market every Saturday.

Barry Helmey, a Savannah native, has worked primarily in the health and wellness field, most notably at the Deepak Chopra Center in Savannah. He is also a board member for LIFE, Inc. and has been part of the Mixed Greens for more than one year.

Women on the Rise
Marilynn Winn joins Real Communities as the community builder for Women on the Rise. The project is a membership-based organization of women targeted and/or impacted by the criminal “justice” system, and it works to educate, heal and empower one another and our communities to demand justice, dignity and liberation for all. Winn is also the chapter organizer II for 9to5 National Association of Working Women, Atlanta.

Tags: Making a Difference, Real Communities