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BLING: Building Leaders in North Georgia

The BLING (Building Leaders in North Georgia) girls club, totaling 30 girls from two public housing sites, had an 'artrageous' time at Pearce Auditorium on Jan. 17, witnessing and participating the inventive Artrageous show, one of the Arts Council Signature Series. The BLING visit was part of a series of classes, performances and training session to assist girls in realizing their potential.

On Nov. 22, the BLING girls visited Scott's on the Square, via limo, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Hall County. The trip focused on cultural awareness, manners and social skills. (See photos at right).

A club for tween and teen girls, Building Leaders in North Georgia (BLING), launched August 2016. The goal of BLING is to raise graduation rates and reduce pregnancy and risky health behaviors, gang activity, drug and alcohol use – and then to challenge them to dream, create goals and to learn to navigate successfully in society beyond public housing.



The first BLING club opened at GHA’s Melrose Apartments community center on Aug. 18 and the second club kicked off Aug. 30 at Harrison Square Apartments. More than 50 girls attended the openings.
Lisa Chester, a University of North Georgia Senior and Intern at the GHA leads the Melrose club. Lisa previously led a group of girls at Atlanta Street Apartments and her example for service became the inspiration for BLING. Ann Marie Peck of The Hall County Health Department District 2 provided support and expertise regarding health, hygiene and nutrition.
The Gainesville Housing Authority provides program oversight, community center space and communications for residents.
Emily Cohen, former missionary and Hall County Schools teacher and current manager of Rahab’s Rope in Gainesville, leads BLING at the Harrison Square Apartments community center.
The clubs meet weekly and runs through May 2017. Each group will have lessons, field trips and guests that support the goals of academic success, cultural growth, health and community participation.
The Rotary Club of Hall County chose BLING as an annual support project for 2016-17 in the spirit of the year’s theme: “Caring, Our Way of Life.” Rotary also provides funding and logistical support for the club. The Bling girls, together with Rotary, recently painted bowls for the annual Empty Bowl Fundraiser for the Georgia Mountains Food Bank.
BLING is a partnership of the GHA, the Hall County Health Dept. District 2, the Rotary Club of Hall County, the Marta Chapman Memorial Foundation (of the North Georgia Community Foundation), The Georgia Mountains Food Bank and others.

To learn more about the club, contact Jim Chapman at 770-536-1294 ext. 211.
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