Home Sweet Home - The Salvation Army working in Gwinnett
By Beth Volpert

Courage in the face of hunger, fear of sleeping in your car and the very thought of possibly placing your children in an insecure situation is not something most people think about on a daily basis, but for too many, it is a reality. Homelessness is not defined by any one word. It is complex and can take place for any socioeconomic status in the blink of a pink slip. With a society living paycheck to paycheck, regardless of income, homelessness is a state that can occur within a very short amount of time. Courage in the face of fear is a start. Finding help is the next step. The Salvation Army’s Home Sweet Home program is a compassionate place to start. 

Storyteller and New York Times best-selling children’s book author Carmen Deedy joins the following GCPS Broadcast and Distance Learning team members (L-R): Faraz Ahmed, producer and Brookwood High graduate; Greg LaHatte, GCPS director of broadcast and distance learning; Carmen Deedy, author and host for "Love that Book!"; Kolinda Scialabba, information specialist and writer/producer for "Love that Book!"; Bruce Lennox, broadcast production specialist; Glenn Ballard, media technology manager and director for "Love that Book!"; Randall Tolliver, editor.

GCPS TV honored with 2013 EMMY Award

The Southeast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recently presented Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) with an EMMY Award for “Love that Book!” a local GCPS TV production. GCPS TV was announced as a winner during the 2013 Southeast Regional EMMY Awards Gala on Saturday, June 8, 2013, in Atlanta. At the event, the Academy recognized the most experienced and talented television professionals from all disciplines of the industry from the Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Asheville, NC, television markets.

Gwinnett Medical Center receives American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline Silver Quality Achievement Award for heart attack care

Award demonstrates GMC’s commitment to care for heart attack patients

Lawrenceville - Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC) has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® Silver Receiving Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes GMC’s commitment and success in implementing an exceptional standard of care for heart attack patients.

Each year in the United States, nearly 300,000 people have a STEMI, or ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, the most severe form of heart attack. A STEMI occurs when a blood clot completely blocks an artery to the heart. To prevent death, it’s critical to immediately restore blood flow, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication.

Hospitals involved in Mission: Lifeline are part of a system that makes sure STEMI patients get the right care they need, as quickly as possible. Mission: Lifeline focuses on improving the system of care for these patients and at the same time improving care for all heart attack patients.

As a “STEMI Receiving Hospital,” GMC meets high standards of performance in quick and appropriate treatment of STEMI patients to open the blocked artery. Before they are discharged, patients are started on aggressive risk reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, aspirin, ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers and they receive smoking cessation counseling if needed. Hospitals must adhere to these guidelines-based measures at a set level for a designated period of time to be eligible for the achievement awards.

“With our full continuum of cardiac care – beginning even before a patient arrives in our emergency department and continuing throughout the Strickland Heart Center,” said GMC President and CEO Phil Wolfe, “we are dedicated to making our cardiac services among the best in the country.  The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is helping us accomplish that by making it easier for our professionals to improve the outcomes of our cardiac patients. We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in cardiac care, and I am very proud of our team.”

About Gwinnett Medical Center

Gwinnett Medical Center is a nationally-recognized, not-for-profit healthcare network with acute-care hospitals in Lawrenceville and Duluth. Offering cardiovascular, orthopedic and neuroscience specialty care as well as a full continuum of wellness services, GMC’s 4,500 associates and 800 affiliated physicians serve more than 400,000 patients annually. To learn more about how GMC is transforming healthcare, visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org or follow us at https://www.facebook.com/gwinnettmedical, twitter.com/gwinnettmedical or youtube.com/gwinnettmedical.

About Mission: Lifeline

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program helps hospitals and emergency medical services develop systems of care that follow proven standards and procedures for STEMI patients. The program works by mobilizing teams across the continuum of care to implement American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology clinical treatment guidelines.  For more information, visit heart.org/missionlifeline and heart.org/quality. 


“Loving someone deeply gives you strength”  –Lao Tzu 

Perhaps Martin Luther King, Jr., said it best: “Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” The Georgia Laws of Life Essay Contest recognizes the need for such “true education,” and since its inception 14 years ago the contest has been in the vanguard of providing character education for Georgia high school students.2012-2013 

The Georgia Laws of Life Essay Contest is a program of the Georgia Rotary Districts Character Education Program, Inc. (GRDCEP), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. 

The state winner is Tania Canel, a 12th grader from Roswell High School. Below please enjoy her winning essay:

It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon. My mind races as we approach the parking lot of the mall, anticipating the thoughts and looks we will get from the people inside. It’s hard not being able to tell everyone how I feel and not being able to tell them what my life is really like. These are oblivious strangers and I can’t expect them to not judge me.

I slide open the door and help my younger sister get my brother’s wheelchair out of the trunk while my mom starts getting his seat belt off. I can feel it already: eyes watching as we get him ready. I can’t do anything about it. After my mom gets him in his wheelchair, I hook him up to his feeding tube. It’s time. We start for the door and I wonder if I am the only one who can feel the tension lingering in the air.

As soon as we step through the doors, I can feel all eyes on us, people turning and staring. My brother, Deandrei, doesn’t know what’s running through the strangers’ minds, but I do. They may be thinking of how sad our situation must be. These strangers don’t know how hard it is. They don’t know that the hospital is like a second home to my family. That we’ve spent holidays and birthdays in cold hospital rooms wondering if my brother was going to survive the visit. That I have spent many days waking up at 4 in the morning getting ready for school in cramped hospital bathrooms because I spent the night on a stiff sofa next to him. Each reason to visit was different from the one before: lung collapse, not eating, surgery, not breathing, lung collapse again, 45 minute seizure, not waking up, surgery, throwing up blood, seizure, pneumonia, surgery, tests, pancreatitis…

After Deandrei was born, maintaining his health became like a game of whack-a-mole: once we got past one obstacle, a new one came. Right when we thought the game was over, a new “mole” rose up. As he grew up, his conditions went from bad to worse. He was put in a wheelchair at 2 years old, he couldn’t and still can’t communicate, and he had to eat through a tube. The latter was probably the worst; for almost a year after his surgery he let out excruciating shrieks of pain that were also reflected in his eyes.

Now, as we walk through the mall, Deandrei is ten years old. All aspects of life are not what I thought they would be before my brother was born. I was forced to grow up much faster than anyone leading a “normal life” would have to. I have experienced a spectrum of emotions—such as sorrow, confusion, panic and happiness—that I didn’t know existed at such extremes. Though I have missed out on joining clubs and sports, hanging out with my friends, and vacations due to the amount of effort that it takes to even pack all of the things Deandrei needs for a simple car ride, I now know that you have to make sacrifices because “loving someone deeply gives you strength.”

As my brother and I grew older, he helped me develop into a more mature, understanding, and nonjudgmental person who I don’t think I would be if he wasn’t here. Deandrei has helped me realize that people face all kinds of problems. And despite the growing hardships and health problems, he has always had a smile on his face. I try to do the same every day and try my best at everything I do because I have the ability, potential, and privilege to, unlike my brother.

I continue through the mall with a new perspective. Although these people think our situation is sad, I think it’s blessing. Their looks remind me of how lucky I am and that’s the magic in moments like these. When I watch pitying strangers, I realize how my brother has shaped my life into something wonderful.

Dance Mixer Magic
By Beth Volpert

Love really does show on the faces of couples who are in love. That is exactly how this writer found Donna and Charles Broome. Their love for one another was obvious on a rainy, cold January morning when I walked into Parkside Bakery to meet a friend. In fact, it was magic enough to compel me to interrupt their breakfast to ask them how long they had been married.