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The Gift of FREEdom

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day.

Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

The truth in this powerful statement unveils a compelling mandate to be creative in how we help those who are less fortunate than we are. The need for help is undeniable... look around, there are people everywhere who would benefit from an act of kindness. However, while a small act of kindness may satisfy a small need, it's human nature to want to go big... do more... make a difference. Preferably, a big difference. And that is where the old adage comes in... rather than give once, teach instead, so that those we want to help may become independent and able to provide for themselves and their families.

That's what's happening in a little city just outside the perimeter of Atlanta.

Clarkston, GA has become the "Ellis Island of the South." It was identified in the 1990s as an ideal place for resettlement of refugees, and since that time has become home to thousands of refugees from over 50 countries, earning it the distinction of, "the most diversified square mile in the United States."

In Clarkston, the plight of refugees has a common refrain: families separated and fleeing for their lives, leaving loved ones and oftentimes untold destruction behind. Clarkston is their refuge. It is there that refugees are forging new lives from the ashes of immense loss. And hope is growing.

Hope comes in the form of one Atlanta resident named Kelli Czaykowsky, who heard about their needs and felt a burden too great to ignore. Kelli formed a non-profit organization called Friends of Refugees Providing Empowerment and Education, aptly shortened to F.R.E.E. Through this organization and its many volunteers, Kelli is able to provide refugees in Clarkston with the gift of hope.

It starts with food.

For many, the lunches lovingly prepared and delivered by F.R.E.E. volunteers may be the only meal the refugees eat that day. Once bellies are full, shelter is found, and basic necessities such as clothing, mattresses, and furniture are provided. F.R.E.E. volunteers work to take refugees to and from doctor and dentist appointments, help them fill out forms and register for school, and assist in job searches. English as a Second Language instruction is provided in-home to adults, while children are taught one-on-one to prepare them to enter school.

These refugees are having their physical needs met, and through the education they are being given, they will be able to continue their new lives independently. Many of those who were among the first to come to Clarkston are now in a position to give back, and help others who are just starting their new journey in freedom.

Our help is still needed.

We can help by volunteering our time and/or our resources. In order to spread the word of this worthy and satisfying endeavor, F.R.E.E. is hosting a concert to raise money and awareness of the plight of the refugees of Clarkston, and the opportunities available to help those in need. "An Evening of Praise: Celebrating Unity and Diversity" is a benefit concert that will be held on June 16, 2017 at 7:00 pm at the Infinite Energy Theater in Duluth, GA. Dr. and Mrs. Meadows, through Meadows Surgical Arts, is the Platinum Sponsor for this event. Special guests who will be performing at this concert include Committed (an a cappella group, NBC's "Sing-Off" Season 2 champions), New Creation (Atlanta's own a cappella chorale), Steve Darmody (gospel vocal artist), Mariela Shaker (world-renowned classical violinist), and Avery Dixon (award-winning saxophonist). All of the concert proceeds will go directly towards the needs of the Clarkston refugees.

Call the Infinite Energy Theater at the number listed below, or click on the link below, to purchase tickets to this event, and join us as we celebrate the unity and diversity that is found in Clarkston, and help to empower the refugees there to put loss behind them and grasp the hope that a new beginning can bring.



Hosted by Friends of Refugees Providing Empowerment and Education (F.R.E.E.)

Sponsored in part by Dr. & Mrs. Meadows, Meadows Surgical Arts

Friday, June 16, 2017

7:00 pm

Tickets available at

Infinite Energy Theater

(770) 626-2464



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