In 2009, they started their Buckhead-based nonprofit, Children of Conservation, which is dedicated to the preservation and protection of endangered animals in Third World countries through education, habitat protection and wildlife support. The main goal is to provide educational scholarships to children of wildlife sanctuary workers in Africa.
“We discovered a lot of the workers couldn’t afford to send kids to schools. By second grade, the government starts charging for tuition. … Most of the general public can’t afford past second grade,” Michele said. “We’re not only passionate about the work they’re doing to protect species but also the workers and their level of work ethic, integrity and honesty. They are people who work very hard for a cause without receiving much compensation.”
On April 22, the Buckhead residents will host a fundraiser, Eats and Beats, at the Buckhead Theatre to help raise awareness and funds for Children of Conservation. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds will go to The Giving Kitchen, a local nonprofit dedicated to providing emergency funds for those in the restaurant industry with emergency medical needs.
Michele said there will be food from more than 20 of Atlanta’s top restaurants, an auction and open bars, as well as three local bands performing.
“The idea is to help to educate in other countries that still have these amazing creatures in their wild habitat, to help preserve species and enable the community to have a sustainable, better way of living,” Kerry said. “If they have anything but a dirt floor in their house, they’re doing pretty good.”
He said during the last visit to Africa, one of the four houses they visited had a bathroom.
“They just adapt to what they have,” he said. “They’re embarrassed, kind of, because they know the American way of life, but it’s a simple way of life for them and they do just fine.”
Myrna Antar, a board member of the organization, said the scholarships for the children are what continue to drive her support.
“I have two kids and it kind of just really hit home, in addition to animal conservation,” she said.
Antar visited Africa with the Stumpes a few weeks ago, she said.
“It was unbelievable to see how happy they are and how grateful the children are,” she said. “I came back with a renewed vigor to raise funds and double the size of the nonprofit.” She said Children of Conservation aims to sponsor about 500 kids by 2015.
If you go:
o What: Eats and Beats
o When: April 22 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
o Where: Buckhead Theatre, 3110 Roswell Rd.
o Tickets: $70 for general admission or $150 for VIP
o Information: www.childrenofconservation.org