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Meet Clara!

Updated: Sep 12, 2022

Meet Clara! To do the work that we do at PAWKids, we rely on the help of amazing people who truly understand our mission and embody our values. This week, we have the ability to get a closer glimpse into Clara! Clara is one of the people who enables PAWKids to effectively work within the Grove Park community. Clara began serving at PAWKids as a part of a service fellowship program called “Repair The World.” Clara has spent much of her program investing in this organization. We are incredibly grateful for the selfless work of Clara!

Clara, how long have you been interning at PAWKids?

I began working with PAWKids on a part-time basis in September of 2020. Primarily, I help with the food pantry. The food pantry itself is open each Monday and Thursday. Although we have people coming by for meals during our open hours, we service a lot more than just people who are walking up at this time. Since we know many people are not available during these hours nor do they have the resources to get to the food pantry, we do a lot of drop offs at nearby senior living homes and schools. In many cases, acquiring the food is not an issue. We have a lot of generous people and organizations who help supply goods. In many cases, the most challenging part is coordinating logistics and ensuring we have everything in place to get the food where it needs to be to have the most impact!

My fellowship program with Repair The World will continue through July. Through working at PAWKids, I have developed some of the deepest friendships I have in Atlanta.

What has made you stick with PAWKids throughout the last 2 years?

The relationships I have developed with the PAWKids team have been incredibly life-giving. When I began at PAWKids, I tried to have a posture of both humility and curiosity about PAWKids and the Grove Park community. In a short amount of time, I simply clicked with the team. Having the ability to watch LaTonya build something amazing in Grove Park is a really unique and inspirational opportunity. I feel so grateful to be learning under someone who is so passionate and driven.

How has your perspective changed about Grove Park over time? How has your perspective changed about the world through your time at PAWKids?

Being able to spend time within the Grove Park neighborhood has honestly made me become a more hopeful person. More than anything, I have learned a ton about the power of resiliency. Regardless of the circumstances, humans can be so resilient. I am inspired by the hope that individuals within the neighborhood have in their ability to find fulfilling opportunities. Unfortunately, the world often looks to Black women last for their wisdom and leadership. LaTonya continues to break through those barriers by leading this organization with discernment and grace. Another thing that gives me an immense amount of hope is watching children as they begin to excel in their classes and develop greater decision-making skills.

What do you think everyone should know about PAWKids?

I think everyone should realize how complicated it is to make a single program come to fruition on any given day. For many activities, including giving out meals at the food pantry, there are many things that happen behind the scenes including donation of products, coordination of volunteers, and community outreach that are required in order for these things to be successful. Because of that, it is so important that we have help from volunteers that we can really trust. We are so grateful for the volunteers that we have and their commitment to being reliable and helpful on a regular basis.

What would you want to say to people who are thinking about getting involved at PAWKids in some capacity?

I wish for people who are not familiar with PAWKids to have the courage and humility to take time and learn about the organization and the Grove Park neighborhood. As you get to know the neighborhood of Grove Park, make an effort to focus on the assets that each individual has, not the deficits.

One thing that I have been amazed by is the dignity and respect that PAWKids has towards every one that they work alongside. How do you think that PAWKids has continued to speak and act in a dignified manner towards the neighborhoods that they are working with?

The team at PAWKids is never too busy to talk with the people that are put in their path. Whether we are giving out food in the community or have an unexpected visitor drop by, we understand that any person who comes along is a valuable part of the community. In addition, the people at PAWKids are really in touch with their own needs. When we recognize our own needs, we are better able to realize the needs of others. We can come together to help one another in various ways. When we have a humble approach, we understand we are not just helping others, they are helping us. Having a flexible and spirit-driven demeanor goes a long way. Both the team at PAWKidsand the individuals in the community are constantly seeking to meet their own needs and simultaneously providing for the needs of others.

We are so thankful for Clara, the team at PAWKids, and the volunteers that help us continue to be fruitful in the Grove Park neighborhood. Clara, thank you for your commitment over the last few years. We value both your wisdom and your friendship!

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