Mission Statement: Presencia provides tutoring, mentoring and leadership development for the children of immigrants in Atlanta's Buford Highway Corridor.
Impact Statement: At Presencia we start with kids at a young age, teaching them how to lead with love by being present in their lives, tutoring, mentoring, and giving them opportunities to serve and lead in their own community as they grow. The day in and day out of our programs are now run by young leaders who began as recipients of our program. Now they are the ones teaching the next generation to lead with love.
We have four main values we aim to grow in our children, youth and leaders at Presencia: kindness, generosity, respect and responsibility. Our leaders teach these values by being a present example.
We demonstrate kindness by using good, uplifting words and putting others before ourselves. We demonstrate generosity by sharing what we have and giving what we do not need. We demonstrate respect by listening carefully when others are talking, waiting our turn to be heard and leaving things neat and clean, like we found them. We demonstrate responsibility by taking ownership of our actions and doing what we say we will do.
We measure our progress in these qualities by the type of leaders we see grow out of our program.
When you donate or purchase Presencia products, you partner with us through three initiatives:
- Homework help, lessons, and meals for over fifty children of Immigrants in our Neighborhood Kids Club.
- Neighborhood leadership development through our Youth Mentoring Program
- Job Creation for graduates of our program who want to help in the neighborhood work
About our shop:
At Presencia, we make all kinds of handmade crafts, like cards, magnets, jewelry and small knick knacks. All our metals are hypo-allergenic. Our fresh, bohemian and retro-rustic designs are created by Atlanta locals. Ruth Ann North, our Executive Director is our main designer. Local artisans volunteer to create our products and support the good work of mentoring, tutoring and youth development for the children of immigrants living in Atlanta's Buford Highway Corridor.
How we use our resources:
In 2009, my husband, Ian North, and I decided to leave our lives in Chicago and move into an under-resourced, immigrant community in Atlanta. We were inspired by the passage of scripture found in Matthew 25:31-46 and came with the desire to meet with Jesus by caring for the tangible needs of those around us.
After moving into the neighborhood and finding part-time jobs to supplement our community work, we started raising support through the North American Mission Board. We began offering homework help in the afternoons, and the six or seven kids who started with us grew to 30 students.
I began making jewelry as a way to support the work and engage my community. I started a sole proprietor business called Refugee Beads for marketing and selling the jewelry. At that time we were primarily serving refugee women through the jewelry making. When we needed more resources and support, we joined up with a local non-profit collective in Atlanta called FCS Urban Ministries and our support raising and jewelry sales as Refugee Beads moved under their non-profit administration. After several years, we decided to partner more closely with our local church, Open Table Community, and we moved our finances and administration under their umbrella.
In 2015 I attended the LEAD Institute's one year program for Executive Directors of non-profits. I graduated feeling motivated, inspired, and ready to begin forming our own, new and re-envisioned 501c3, taking what we had learned from the past and starting fresh with a greater focus on young leader development through tutoring and mentoring. This was were we had seen the most impact through our work.
We developed an advisory board, refocused our work on what we were most successful at, re-branded, sought advice, and learned from other leaders for about a year.
In May of this year we put all of efforts together and formed a new 501c3, Presencia Inc., and we are thrilled about what the future holds!
Ruth Ann North,
Thanks for visiting, and please be sure to let us know if you have any comments or questions about Presencia!