Midtown Outreach Club provides service opportunities


Courtesy of East Atlanta Kids Club

The EAKC provides support and resources to the families of East Atlanta.

Emma Young

A new club promoting volunteer work and community service is coming to Midtown.

Juniors Brady Scheinfeld and Charles [CJ] Fucile are co-founding the Midtown Outreach Club. The club aims to connect Midtown students to volunteer opportunities at the East Atlanta Kids Club (EAKC) as well as host food and clothing drives to benefit the organization.

“Kids in our own community don’t get the help they need or enough awareness of their economic situation,” Scheinfeld said. “Our club helps the East Atlanta Kids Club and raises awareness for those in struggling economic situations in our community.”

The EAKC was founded in 1998 and is headed by Executive Director Ryan Downey. The organization provides after-school programs, summer camps and donated resources to the East Atlanta community.

“Our mission is to build up promising futures for the children of South East Atlanta, but the broader goal is to ensure that legacy families and folks that have been in this area for generations have an anchor in the community and have a place for the kids to be that is safe,” Downey said.

The EAKC serves over 50 kids through their afterschool program, which they run Monday through Thursday. Food distribution mainly takes place on Fridays, and they have many other programs throughout the year, like summer camp and holiday drives.

“There is a lot of focus on STEAM-based education and positive youth development through sports,” Downey said. “We have an internal cycling program, and we partner with Atlanta Youth Rugby and Girls on the Run. There are a lot of opportunities to keep kids healthy, happy and moving.”

Scheinfeld volunteered this past summer for the EAKC, and both Scheinfeld and Fucile have extensive volunteer experience with other organizations. They hope this experience will help them with running the Midtown Outreach Club.

“I volunteered as a summer camp counselor there, and I participated in food, clothing, and present drives,” Scheinfeld said. “I have volunteered for around 175 hours with the program.”

The club plans to have their first meeting soon. Social studies teacher Susan Salvesen, the club’s teacher sponsor, is guiding them through the process of starting a club and providing her room, C-319, as a place to hold meetings. 

“I’m going to facilitate community service events and help CJ and Brady organize things for the school, like donation drives for clothing or food and other materials that will benefit the community,” Salvesen said. 

Although they are a new club, Scheinfeld and Fucile hope their club will bring more volunteers to EAKC and have a positive impact on the Midtown community.

“I want this club to bring a community-helping initiative to Midtown and increase people’s mindfulness of how they can help their communities, as well as help people understand the situations of those around us,” Fucile said.

For many students, volunteering allows them to connect and interact with people, who may have very different lives than them. 

“When you participate in community service, it makes you have more empathy to certain communities who may need more assistance and will help you make the community you live in better,” Salvessen said.

Downey also believes that volunteering can be very beneficial to students, especially those who come from financially-supportive backgrounds. 

“You get to have some experience learning or some exposure with folks who live just blocks away from you but live in a completely different city in some ways,” Downey said. “I think this is critical for students that are well-resourced.”

In the future, they hope the club will gain more members and impact more people as well as other organizations within the Midtown community.

“We are going to grow the club by putting up posters and getting more people involved,” Fucile said. “We may also try to expand into other non-profit organizations that we can help, so we can improve our skills and reach.”

EAKC is grateful for the volunteers the club will provide. The extra volunteers will not only benefit the EAKC but will also provide opportunities for Midtown students to get service hours that are needed to graduate.

“This year, we have had around 116 youth that come to our program,” Downey said. “We’re always happy for more folks to volunteer, to play with the kids and help with activities. It’s important to make sure the kids have positive and aspirational peer role models.”