“Fast 5” with the Westside Volunteer Corps

This August, the Westside Future Fund’s Westside Volunteer Corps arrives on the Westside to get to work!

Since the June announcement of the program – a collaboration with United Way of Greater Atlanta, made possible through the generosity of founding sponsor, Chick-fil-A Foundation – our team has been hard at work preparing for our big “Day of Service” launch event, set for Saturday, August 26.

The day will include service projects throughout our four target neighborhoods, hosted by 12 of our more than 60 nonprofit partners, such as Atlanta Police Foundation/@Promise Youth Center, Goodr, HouseProud Atlanta, Historic Westside Garden, Quest Community Development, Raising Expectations and Truly Living Well.

The service projects will last from 9 a.m. to noon, wrapping with an after party from noon to 2 p.m. to celebrate a hard day’s work.

Click here to register for the Westside Volunteer Corps “Day of Service.”

As we countdown to kick-off, meet the powerhouse duo behind the Corps, Em Clarke and Jovonda Howard.

Check out their “Fast 5 Q&A” below, including their Top 5 Reasons to Join the Corps!

Meet Em Clarke – Westside Volunteer Corps’ Program Manager

  1. Favorite spot on the Westside? I’ve been known to trade in my heels for a pair of Nikes and walk around the AUC. The history of the Westside is so evident and even tangible at times, especially in terms of education. Our Historically Black Colleges and Universities have brought leaders and change makers to the front lines of our country’s most divisive issues. The AUC continues to shape the future leaders of not just our city, but also our nation. I am humbled to walk the same streets and paths as those before me and those to come.
  2. Last meal you had on the Westside? The blackberry cobbler at Busy Bee is my go-to! And why not have dessert first, right? But the last meal I had there was the pork chops and corn muffins…mmmm.
  3. What are you most looking forward to for the Westside Volunteer Corp’s “Day of Service?” Over the past several months, we have been meeting with nonprofit innovators, Neighborhood Planning Units, reverends, business leaders, and all-around Westside advocates. I can’t wait to see all these players come together for a common cause. To create long lasting, sustainable change, it takes us all investing our time, talent, and treasure. Let’s continue to build our Beloved Community together!
  4. What do you enjoy most about your role with the Westside Volunteer Corps? I love hearing that our work allows nonprofits to more easily fulfill their mission. When we meet with our nonprofit partners, there is a moment of relief that washes over their faces. We have engineered very specific streams of volunteer support, including the familiar one-time beautification projects or clean ups. With this initiative, we intend to go further by match-making individuals to skills-based volunteerism that can support our partners with business plans, financial bookkeeping, technical support, and more. Our partners are so thrilled to hear how targeted our program is and that their greatest needs can be met. How exciting!
  5. What is your hope for the Westside? I hope that more people from Greater Atlanta will see the Westside and the value of its people. For some families, their roots go back more than four generations. They are the literal documentation of the Civil Rights Era and that means something. I hope as interest in the Westside grows, whether it be in volunteerism, home ownership, or simply walking the Beltline, that the history and culture of this community is always present.

Meet Jovonda Howard – Westside Volunteer Corps’ Program Coordinator

  1. Favorite spot on the Westside?  Mattie Freeland Park & Urban Fresh Garden.
  2. Last meal you had on the Westside?  Raw beets, fresh green beans, and watermelon straight from Urban Fresh garden on Joseph E. Boone.
  3. What are you most looking forward to for the Westside Volunteer Corp’s “Day of Service?”   I’m excited about all 10 service sites happening on this day! But most of all I am excited about meeting more residents and other members of the Corps who care about service and empowering the Westside communities.
  4. What do you enjoy most about your role with the Westside Volunteer Corps?  Connecting with the residents in our 4 core neighborhoods, learning about their legacy, as well as listening to their needs, hopes, and desires for the future of the Westside; then being able to help execute those hopes and desires through volunteerism.
  5. What is your hope for the Westside?  To see this area maximize its potential and live up to its legacy.

Em and Jo Share their Top 5 Reasons to Volunteer with the Westside Volunteer Corps!

  1. “Be the Change!” Take pride in knowing that your service helps those in need locally, right here in Atlanta. Your involvement may also inspire others to get involved too!
  2. It’s your chance to be a part of the revitalization of Atlanta’s historic Westside, supporting the work of the community’s long-standing nonprofit organizations. By offering your time and talent, you are providing valuable services so more money can be spent on other organizational needs.
  3. Learn more about the history and culture of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Beloved Community.”
  4. It’s good for your health! Did you know that volunteers are happier and healthier than non-volunteers?! So skip that extra hour in the gym, and join the Corps!
  5. Meet other Atlantans who have a heart for service like you! As a member of the Corps, you become a part of an awesome – and DIVERSE – group of volunteers united around a common goal.

**Bonus: You get one of our snazzy Westside Volunteer Corps t-shirts!


Ready to join the Corps?! If so, click here to register for our “Day of Service” launch event, Saturday, August 26 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. All individuals, families, groups, and companies are welcome to join us!

Want to learn more? Click here for more about the Westside Volunteer Corps.