High school senior Lanarion is excited about graduation and even more excited for what lies ahead. He’s college bound and gives much of the credit to Atlanta Community Food Bank partner agency Create Your Dreams, an exceptional youth development program for at-risk students. “It’s helped shape me to be the man I am today,” he said. “It comes down to two words: life changing.”
“You’re helping to alter and break the cycle of poverty.”
Create Your Dreams provides 100 students with enriching after-school, weekend and summer programs. Most live below the poverty level. When they’re out on summer break and don’t have access to school meals, they won’t worry whether they’ll have enough to eat. Snacks and meals prepared with food from the Food Bank are provided every day. Lanarion has been coming since third grade and enthusiastically shares memories about his favorite meals. “It’s got to be the mandarin oranges. I love those things! And the chicken dogs. Add a dab of ketchup and some chopped onions... delicious.”
Food Keeps Kids Coming
Lanarion says food is a key ingredient to keeping kids coming. “When a place where you can come for free also provides food, that’s a life-changing impact,” he said. “You see how things go in my neighborhood and it creates a cycle. It’s easy to get stuck and never get out. But when you have programs like Create Your Dreams and the Food Bank that provides food for those programs, you’re helping to alter and break the cycle of poverty.” He’s grateful for people who have provided financial support. “I want you to know how much you’ve contributed to help fix a problem and impact it positively.” 100 percent of students who stick with the program at Create Your Dreams graduate from high school, and nearly 100 percent pursue post-secondary degrees.