APS Receives 2019 HOPE Award From Wellspring Living for Initiatives at Forrest Hill and Phoenix Academies

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

Wellspring Living, a non-profit organization founded in 2001 to provide victims of domestic sex trafficking with recovery services, has presented Atlanta Public Schools (APS) with the 2019 HOPE Award. Wellspring Living recognized APS because of the innovative and transformative work being done through the District’s partnership with Wellspring Living at Phoenix Academy and Forrest Hill Academy.
At Forrest Hill, the Women’s Academy provides comprehensive services enabling women to move toward a pathway to living wage employment.  At Phoenix Academy, a comprehensive model supports students by providing case management, therapy, and access to food and clothing. The school has its own food pantry and clothing boutique. Wellspring Living also hosts parent empowerment and healing circles at Dunbar Elementary. The organization estimates that the lives of over 300 individuals have been impacted as a result of this partnership.
“I cannot say enough about how essential, how healing and restorative, and how life-affirming the work we’re doing at Forrest Hill and Phoenix Academy through our partnership with Wellspring Living is to literally hundreds of our young women,” said APS Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen. “I was so humbled and honored to accept the 2019 HOPE award on behalf of APS because along with effectively educating our students so they are prepared to live choice-filled lives, our chief priority is making sure they are safe.”
In accepting the award, Dr. Carstarphen dedicated it to Dr. Evelyn Mobley, principal of Phoenix Academy, whom she called the District’s “Merchant of Hope.”
Wellspring Living’s vision is to see a world where every victim of sexual exploitation has access to transformative care. The organization provides specialized recovery services through three residential programs and two community-based programs. The programs provide transformative care through therapeutic services, education, life skills, and personal and professional development.
APS is committed to working with the community to put an end to domestic sex trafficking by educating its students, teachers, administrators, school staff, and other employees about the dangers of child sexual exploitation and trafficking. Over a year ago, the District mobilized in advance of Super Bowl LIII to educate and protect students and staff through comprehensive training and by working with the community to share the potential indicators of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking.