Life under the sea wasn’t the only center of attraction at the Georgia Aquarium on Jan. 30. Partners were too. That’s because J.W. Dobbs Elementary School hosted a special brunch at the aquarium’s Ocean Ballroom to celebrate the people and organizations that collaborate with Dobbs to make learning without limits.
“Do not forsake relationships,” said Principal Tiffany Ragin, who boasts that a relationship with a former colleague led to many of the partnerships represented at the brunch. “I’m so thankful, so honored.”
That former colleague is Celeta Thomas-Watson – now director of education for the Georgia Aquarium—who joined a host of partners to celebrate their collaboration with Dobbs. In attendance were representatives from the Active Youth Academy, Aquagenuity, College Park Sky Hawks, Cooking with Miss Dee, Crayola, Delta Airlines, Effect Fitness, Georgia Aquarium, HOMIES – The Lifestyle, LA Success X2, Morningside Presbyterian Church, The New School, Order of Eastern Stars Ruth Chapter #102, Self Grow, LLC, Sprout Give, Southside Medical Center, The Practice 1911, The Trust for Public Land/Atlanta Community Schoolyards, U.S. Census, W.C. Thomas Lodge#112, and various APS central office and school staff.
The brunch was their opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and organizations committed to service learning and community engagement, and to learn more about how Dobbs creates valuable community-based research partnerships and practices.
“The more we collaborate in this room, the more we can be a force for the youth of Atlanta,” said Jeremy Crane, founder of The Practice 1911.
Each partner was given an opportunity to share the impact they’ve had on Dobbs students and the impact Dobbs students have had on them.
“I’m just a big homie trying to help little homies manage their situations,” said Montana Brown, a proud Atlanta native and founder of HOMIES The Lifestyle, an outreach program that uses SEL and character development curriculum to mentor and encourage K-12 scholars.
Jay Wozniak from the Trust for Public Land shared insight on the Atlanta Community Schoolyards Program, Delta Community Engagement Lead Project Manager LaSandra Boykin discussed the Delta Reading Buddies Program, and Aquagenuity Founder Doll Avant discussed water.
“We wanted to partner with Georgia Aquarium because they’re leaders in educating children,” Avant said. “Water shouldn’t be a political issue. It’s a human issue.”
Avant’s Aquagenuity is the world’s largest water database, helping everyday people monitor water quality in real-time via a mobile app.
At the partnership brunch, Avant announced that Dobbs will be the first adopted school for the Water Genome Project. Thanks to the sponsorship of the Georgia Aquarium, students will receive kits to test water levels in school and at home, empowering them to be environmental literacy ambassadors.
“If we pay attention, we will be able to prevent water crisis,” Avant said. “This is how we save the world. Together, we make it possible for anyone to answer the question, ‘What’s in your water?’”
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