Director: Jennifer Breland (Contact: email@example.com)
We are pleased to announce that the Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency (ACSS) is our official charity for 2016. Dragon Con will again match dollar for dollar, up to $50,000, any money raised for this charity at the 2016 convention. The ACSS's mission is to empower homeless individuals to achieve self-sufficiency and lead the fight in breaking the cycle of homelessness in Greater Atlanta and beyond by providing a hand up - not a hand out.
Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency was established in 2010, but the organization’s work began in 1982 with St. Luke’s Episcopal Church’s SLEDCO initiative that eventually became the Atlanta Enterprise Center. The other organization that would one day become ACSS, Samaritan House of Atlanta, was founded in 1988. In 2010 these two organizations joined forces to serve Atlanta’s homeless population in a more impactful way, and ACSS was born. Combining years of experience in homeless services and workforce development, ACSS offers homeless individuals with the knowledge, tools and resources required to obtain full-time employment and thrive in their own lives.
The ACSS is the largest and most successful provider of Workforce Development resources to homeless men and women in Atlanta. Since 2010, more than 1,700 people have been served by their programs and more than 1,300 have obtained full-time employment!
What the ACSS does:
- Workforce Development
Offering employment readiness and job placement to homeless individuals, CareerWorks is the ACSS's cornerstone program. CareerWorks includes a three-week employment readiness training course, personalized case management, job search assistance, professional clothing, transportation assistance, housing placement assistance and individual action plans.
CareerWorks Access is an e-learning initiative that uses cloud technology to stream CareerWorks curriculum to shelters and homeless service programs throughout the city.
- 72% of all program participants obtain full-time employment
- 75% of all employed graduates retain their jobs for 6 months or more
- Average starting wage is $9.41 per hour, 79% over state minimum wage and 30% over federal minimum wage
- Veterans Services
The Veterans Employment Assistance Program is a specialized initiative within CareerWorks, serving US military veterans. Participants receive the same services as CareerWorks, in addition to specialized veterans’ services such as medical care, housing assistance and specialized vocational training. As the largest provider of workforce development services for Atlanta’s homeless, ACSS is the vocational partner of choice for the Department of Labor, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans’ Empowerment Organization. In 2014 they were recognized by VA for their work in our country’s focused initiative to end veteran homelessness and honored with a special visit from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert McDonald.
- Rapid Rehousing
Getting a job is only part of the workforce development journey, and that is why ACSS works to help program participants keep those jobs. Without meeting the basic need of shelter, it is hard to focus on anything, much less building a career. With funding support from FEMA, the City of Atlanta and Fulton County, the ACSS is able to assist qualified clients secure permanent housing by assisting with the first few months of rent.
Social enterprise is core to the organization’s values, as it allows ACSS to include earned income to our funding sources, adding an element of self-sufficiency to their funding model as they teach clients to become economically independent.
During the week, Café 458 serves as a resource center for homeless men and women, but on Sundays they open up to the public as a fully-functioning restaurant. The Sunday brunch builds awareness for the organization, provides on the job training for their clients, and all proceeds support ACSS!
To learn more about the Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency, click here.
We welcome all submissions for the 2016 Charity Auction, benefitting the Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency.
Without donations from people just like you, we would not have been able to raise close to $100,000 last year for the Lymphoma Research Foundation.
If you’d like to help, we would love to have you donate an item for us to sell at the charity auction. Items sold at past charity auctions have included: books, comic books, artwork, signed photos, movie props, prop replicas, toys, games, costumes, DVD players, computers, TVs, store and restaurant gift cards, weekend getaways at hotels, site visits to the “live” set of a TV series, a meal with an actor or writer, a writing review by an editor, inclusion (Tuckerization) in an upcoming book, and much more. If you have an idea for something you’d like to donate and would like to discuss it, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to send an item (or items) for this year’s event, please send them to:
445 Atlanta South Pkwy #105
Atlanta, GA 30349
Please include your contact information (name and email or street address) for donation tracking purposes. Our computer system this year allows us to track all donations so we can send out receipts to everyone that made a donation (if you wish to donate anonymously, please let us know).
If you are unable to send your donation to us before the convention, we will have a Charity Events Booth open from 10:00 AM until 7:00 PM Friday and Saturday. The booth is in the Marriott Hotel, 1 floor below the hotel registration desk. At the booth, we will be displaying items that have been donated, as well as accepting additional donated items. If you need help with your donation, come by the booth and we will have a staff member go with you to pick up the item.
As always, we thank you for your generosity.
Please keep checking back here for our 2016 Charity Artwork project!
Give the gift of life and donate blood at the Dragon Con Blood Drive. For LifeSouth, which serves more than 40 hospitals in the Atlanta area and more than 110 hospitals in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, Dragon Con is a major donation venue.
In 2015, the drive welcomed 3171 donors and collected 2,678 units, assisted by a crew of more than 60 people from all three states who descended on Atlanta to handle the flood of donors in costume.
Don’t miss out this year! Join us, give blood, get a free T-shirt!
If you have any questions about the blood drive, please check out our FAQ for answers.
Check out the blood drive on Facebook.
We are pleased to announce that the Dragon Con Superheroes, a community service project team for our members, volunteers, and staff will continue in 2016. In its first two years, the Dragon Con Superheroes contributed nearly 1300 hours of community service in the months leading up to Dragon Con. Projects included packing and sorting food items for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, maintaining trails at Sweetwater Creek State Park, working the Walk to End Lupus Now, building community gardens with the ACFB, and supporting the Lymphoma Walk. In all, about 200 Dragon Con fans and their family members worked on these six projects. We are looking forward to even more participation this year. On top of the incredible generosity of our members, the community is strong and loves a good reason to get together outside of Labor Day weekend and we couldn’t think of a better way to do so! Click here to learn more!