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Column: Atlanta Speech School Guild hosts reunion, plans gala
by Sally F. White
Northside Neighbor Columnist
October 04, 2012 12:07 PM | 5379 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
The Atlanta Speech School Guild is getting an early start on its Nov. 11 benefit, the Language and Literacy Gala, celebrating the founding of the exceptional Buckhead school, with a private reunion luncheon for past honorary benefit chairs hosted by Sharon Ansley today at the Piedmont Driving Club in Midtown.

Ansley was a gala co-chair in 1981 and two generations of her family have attended the facility. Both her son Bonneau and daughter Fayne are alumni of the school and two young grandchildren, Beau and Blakely, are currently attending the Kenan and Wardlaw schools at the nonprofit school.

The luncheon will help gather honorary chairs from the 39-year history of the guild’s annual fundraising participation to spearhead the special 75th anniversary event at the Capital City Country Club in Brookhaven.

The annual gala was initiated in 1973, and all proceeds have been directed to the school’s financial aid program.

Founded in 1938 and celebrating its 75th anniversary during the 2012-13 academic year, the independent nonprofit school now encompasses four schools, five clinics and a professional development center — all focused on developing language and literacy. According to its website, the school annually serves 1,800 children and adults, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing, those with speech and/or language delays and those with language-based learning disabilities. Since the founding, the school has been committed to serving families in need of services, without regard to their financial limitations.

The annual gala benefit has been the school’s major fundraising effort and honorary chairs of this year’s anniversary gala will represent nearly 600 dedicated guild members who share in the notable commitment to raising funds.

Nov. 11 gala invitations and information: (404) 233-5332, ext. 3103 or visit

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An open-house style An Evening Celebrating the Human Form at The Art House Gallery in Buckhead Oct. 11 will benefit Positive Impact.

Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served as Atlanta artist Lisa Meriwether plies her talents in demonstrating live nude model painting.

Nonprofit Positive Impact is the largest Atlanta provider of no-cost mental health counseling, substance-abuse treatment and risk-reduction services to people affected by HIV in the metro area. Its mission is to eliminate the risk of HIV transmission and to empower those affected through culturally competent and inclusive prevention, education, mental health and substance-abuse treatment services. Founded in 1993, it served more than 7,000 clients last year. Eighty-eight percent of each dollar received supports direct client services.

Tickets and information: (404) 589-9040, ext. 115 or visit

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A Timeless Affair Oct. 6 will mark 20 years for the venerable Fernbank Museum of Natural History in DeKalb County.

The 2012 royal occasion, Genghis Kahn — the Emperor’s Feast, will offer a sunset wine and cocktail hour on the Dinosaur Plaza followed by an elegant seated dinner in the Great Hall accompanied by dancing and music by Livin’ Large, plus silent and live auctions.

Culminating the evening, attendees will be treated to an exclusive viewing of “Genghis Khan,” Fernbank’s stunning new exhibition devoted to the legendary conqueror who is extolled as one of the most important people of the last millennium. Showcasing the largest collection of extraordinarily rare 13th-century Mongolian artifacts ever assembled, the displays include a mummy, jewels, clothing, musical instruments and weaponry.Honorees of the evening are Frances “Duffie” Woodruff DuBose, Eileen and Bo DuBose, Dean DuBose Smith and Bronnie Smith. The DuBose family has played a significant role in building Fernbank’s educational empire by strengthening exhibitions and archeology initiatives.

Event co-chairs Melissa and Craig Allen and Ashley and Prescott Miller have assembled a stellar committee lineup of: Carol and Charles Doty, advisory chairs; Helen and John Gordon and Valerie and David Love, patron co-chairs; Rhonda and Dusty Milner and Ashley and Robert Reardon, ladies’ and gentlemen’s committee co-chairs; and Ginna and Patrick Emmet, auction co-chairs.

All proceeds from the Emperor’s Feast will go toward furthering the private nonprofit museum’s ability to educate the community through cultural and science programs encouraging lifelong learning.

After 100 years of inspiration, ground was broken for a 160,000-square-foot natural history museum in 1989 and officially opened in 1992 to become one of the only museums in the world to grow out of a forest and one woman’s dream.

Emily Harrison, who played in the woodlands surrounding her home in the 19th century, discovered a variety of ferns along the creek banks and was inspired to become an educator and naturalist. “Fernbank” became publicly recognized in 1938 when Harrison and a friend, Dr. Woolford Baker, led a group to charter Fernbank Inc. to purchase and preserve the urban forest.

Today the museum is one of the most iconic cultural attractions in Atlanta, serving nearly a half-million visitors each year. In 2001 it became the first museum to display the world’s largest dinosaurs in a permanent exhibition and has added a variety of artifacts and permanent displays to become an internationally recognized educational museum of natural history.

Tickets and information: (404) 929-6376 or visit

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For the fourth year, Ronald McDonald House Charities has reached out to the warm-hearted public with the Hearts and Hands Gala black-tie event to gain support and funds for the “homes away from home” Ronald McDonald Houses in Atlanta. The Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta will be the site for the Oct. 6 light-hearted event.

With award-winning comedian Jeff Foxworthy providing entertainment and WSB-TV meteorologist David Chandley countering as emcee, the evening will engage the audience. Live and silent auctions will add to the fundraising aspects.

Javier Goizueta, vice president of the Coca-Cola Co. and president of the McDonald’s division worldwide, is serving as the event chair. Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola’s chairman and CEO, is the gala’s honorary chair. Jacquie and Jeff Wansley are pairing with Elizabeth and Bart Gobeil as patron co-chairs. Karin Smithson, PhD., is the honorary patron chair and Melissa Murphy is the auction chair.

Proceeds will support the operations of Atlanta’s Ronald McDonald Houses located conveniently near metro pediatric hospitals. Atlanta’s first one opened on Houston Mill Road near Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Egleston campus in DeKalb County in 1979 as the fourth house in the McDonald Charities’ worldwide program. It was founded by selfless volunteers and donors including local McDonald’s franchisees.

A second Atlanta house opened in 1994 on Peachtree Dunwoody Road near the Children’s Scottish Rite facility in Sandy Springs. A new, state-of-the-art, 50-bedroom house opened in 2008 on Gatewood Road in near Egleston. The facilities let families enjoy many of the comforts of home, receive nutritious meals prepared and served by volunteers and get emotional support. No family is turned away if it cannot afford the small $20 per day requested contribution.

Tickets and information: (678) 704-8086 or visit

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This Sunday, Atlanta’s Historic Oakland Cemetery, located near Grant Park, reconnects with its Victorian roots to host its unique 33rd annual Sunday in the Park festival.

Visitors come dressed in Victorian finery harkening back to the original concept of the park-like setting to enjoy the 48 acres of landscaped gardens, cemetery art and burial sites. The hosting Historic Oakland Foundation enhances the experience with an artists market, living history demonstrations, storytellers, Irish dancers, a variety of live musical entertainment plus food, spirits and much more for a true festival atmosphere.

Carriage tours and free walking tours with the opportunity to enter some of the magnificent mausoleums will engage folks of all ages. A Victorian costume and photo contest will attract dressed-up strollers while a children’s area featuring crafts, old-fashioned games and the traditional Teddy Bear Tea with storytelling will captivate youngsters.

Oakland is one of the largest park spaces and a significant cultural site in metro Atlanta. The grounds are an example of 19th-century landscape ideas of gardens and Victorian cemetery art. Among the about 70,000 interred at Oakland are: “Gone With the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell and golf great Bobby Jones, a number of former Atlanta mayors, unmarked graves of paupers, Confederate and Union soldiers, a Jewish section and an African-American section. Pass through the gates of Oakland, and you will discover Atlanta’s history, from the beginning.

The suggested $5 donation per person, with children under 3 admitted free, will go to the volunteer efforts of the foundation to restore, preserve and share the beautiful period walkways and grounds with the public 365 days a year. The nonprofit foundation was founded in 1976, the same year Oakland was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its members partner with the city of Atlanta to maintain the historic site as an important cultural resource and “an island of tranquility in the heart of the city,” according to its mission statement.

Information: (404) 688-2107 or visit

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The Atlanta Preservation Center will host A Toast to Atlanta honoring philanthropist and preservationist Beauchamp Carr Oct. 11 at the Grant Mansion in the Grant Park neighborhood.

Volunteers are spearheading the tribute to Carr, an essential supporter of culture in Atlanta. Prior to his 35-year career leading the Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown to world-renowned status, Carr was a courageous prime mover in the campaign to save the historic Fox Theatre in Midtown.

The light supper treat is being donated by Canoe and orchestrated by Executive Chef Carvel Grant Gould. Cocktails and live music will enhance the evening.

In addition to dinner and music, guests will see first-hand progress being made to restore and rebuild the Grant Mansion, long considered Atlanta’s most endangered historic site. The drawing room gallery will feature an exhibit of Atlanta-area photographers’ works for sale themed “Re-Placing Atlanta.”

Barbara Slick is leading the committee of dedicated volunteers: Penny Hart, Elaine Luxemburger, Belle Turner Lynch, Kathy Rainer, Bill Pennington, Cherry Peurifoy, Ginny Rather, Elizabeth Morgan Spiegel and Rainey Rembert Woodward.

The remarkable historic 1856 home of Lemuel P. Grant is undergoing major restoration and serves as the office for the preservation center. Hart, Rather and her daughter, Gould, are Grant descendants.

The preservation center is a citywide nonprofit association of interested citizens and civic and business organizations promoting historic preservation through advocacy and education to promote the preservation of Atlanta’s architecturally, historically and culturally significant buildings, neighborhoods and landscapes.

Tickets and information: (404) 688-3353 or visit

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More than 1,000 plants will be for sale Oct. 13, including 200 hard-to-find native tree species, to foster Atlanta’s reputation as “a city in a forest.” Trees Atlanta is holding its 13th annual tree sale and festival at its Kendeda Center in Reynoldstown.

A “Birds, Butterflies and Bees” theme will advertise the 2012 selection of native trees, shrubs and perennials that attract wildlife and pollinators.

There will be added components during the day such as: planting and pruning demonstrations, live music, a small sheep petting zoo, a dynamic speaker, raffles and food trucks.

Horticultural advisors will be on hand to help plant lovers make decisions on which trees to buy and how to care for them. One variety making its first appearance this year is Sheri’s Cloud black gum, a variegated species discovered in Arkansas. There also will be other native plants including vine options such as coral honeysuckle, passion vine, native wisteria and trumpet creeper.

A pre-shopping night Oct. 12 will offer donors of $500 or more a first pick of the new plants.All proceeds from sales support Trees Atlanta’s volunteer neighborhood tree planting and conservation programs. Each year 3,500 volunteers plant more than 2,000 trees around in-town Atlanta communities. They also continue to care for thousands of other trees planted over recent years to help maintain the city’s declining tree canopy and contribute to a healthy, diverse urban forest.

“Every dollar invested at our tree sale will not only buy you a great tree for your yard, it will also enable our volunteers to plant shade trees in public areas where they are needed most,” said Greg Levine, Trees Atlanta’s co-executive director.Founded in 1985 by Central Atlanta Progress and the Junior League of Atlanta, the nationally recognized nonprofit Trees Atlanta volunteer corps now numbers 4,500 citizens and has planted and distributed more than 88,000 trees!

Information: (404) 522-4097 or visit

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The relaxed Blue Jean Ball Oct. 13 at the Atlanta History Center’s Tullie Smith Farm in Buckhead will gather denim-clad guests for a night of music, barbecue and fun with friends and neighbors to support the reward fund for Atlanta’s Crime Stoppers Reward Fund.

Bogey and The Viceroy will provide live music and LowCountry Barbecue the food. Co-chairs Thad Ellis and Tom Ratchford both serve on the Crime Stoppers board.

“By pledging early, strong support, our friends and sponsors are helping ensure the evening will accomplish its ultimate goal: Taking criminals off the streets of Atlanta,” said Arby’s Restaurant Group President Hala Moddelmog, who along with her husband Steve is serving as the event’s honorary co-chairs. “Last year’s ball raised more than $65,000 which translated to 32 dangerous predators taken off our streets and preventing more than 320 additional crimes from being committed! Our goal this year is $100,000.”

Since 2007, with the help of anonymous tips and reward support from citizens and the business community, the greater Atlanta Crime Stoppers program of the nonprofit Atlanta Police Foundation has aided police in making Atlanta a safer city. Tips have increased from 843 the first year to 1,848 in 2011. Solved homicides, sexual assault, armed robberies and apprehended burglaries as well as illegal gun arrests, along with keeping children safe in schools, are on the increase due to citizen participation in stopping crime.

Tickets and information: (404) 586-0180 or visit or

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The showcase Make Your Mark on the Park event, Oct. 14 at the Historic Fourth Ward Skate Park along the Atlanta Beltline, will benefit the Trust for Public Land.

The celebration will name Cox Enterprises Chairman Jim Kennedy, a PATH Foundation board member, as this year’s Conservation Champion and give attendees a first-hand look at the rebirth of the larger Historic Fourth Ward Park, a project supported by the trust.

The new 17 acres of greenspace includes passive lawns, a playground, a splash pad, an outdoor theater and a 2-acre lake. A second phase features a world-class skate park, an additional playground and a multi-use athletic field. The East Side Trail of the Beltline project provides direct access to the park.The event’s festivities will show off the facilities with skateboard demonstrations and includes a buffet dinner and bar.

Northsiders Boyce Ansley and Libby Prickett are serving as co-chairs with committee support from Amanda and Greg Gregory, Sally and Jim Morgens, Ernie Prickett and DD and Bick Cardwell.

The national Trust for Public Land protects land for people to enjoy as parks, playgrounds and open space and is the nation’s leading organization for building parks in cities across the country. Since it was founded in 1972, the San Francisco-based nonprofit has completed more than 5,200 conservation projects in 47 states.

The Atlanta Beltline is the most comprehensive revitalization effort ever undertaken in the city of Atlanta and among the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment and mobility projects currently under way in the U.S. This sustainable project, with the aid of the trust, is providing a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit by re-using 22 miles of historic railroad corridors circling downtown Atlanta and connecting 45 neighborhoods directly to each other.

Funds from the Make Your Mark evening will benefit trust projects throughout Georgia.

Tickets and information: (404) 873-7306, ext. 221 or visit

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