Congratulations to Pebble Tosser Sheza Merchant for being named a 20 under 20 honoree by Atlanta Intown and Reporter Newspapers



Pebble Tossers was honored to nominate Sheza, and are so proud of her accomplishments in our community. A Pebble Tossers volunteer since 2015, Sheza has participated in and led numerous projects to help those in need worldwide. Read more about her accomplishments and the rest of these amazing young people here.

Read More about Sheza and Others

Pebble Tossers hires Rebecca Sandberg as Finance and Administration Director

From volunteer to board president to staff, Sandberg continues a ripple of giving.

pebble tossers board of directors rebecca sandberg(Atlanta, GA, October 31, 2022)… Pebble Tossers, Atlanta’s leading youth leadership development nonprofit, has named Rebecca Sandberg as Finance and Administration Director. In this role, Sandberg will oversee all fiscal matters, including annual and long-term planning and forecasting, accounting, budgeting, and HR. She will also provide oversight on IT matters to ensure that Pebble Tossers has the right tools, systems, and technology to support a robust membership experience and a culture that promotes growth and innovation. Additionally, Sandberg will help track and identify key metrics to further the organization’s work and impact.

“Rebecca brings a passion for Pebble Tossers’ mission which sparked as she volunteered with her family. Her visionary leadership has proven invaluable to our Board of Directors. She brings a focus on data-driven decisions and a high energy level with a can-do mindset,” says Guynn. “We are excited about the future with Rebecca and her commitment to developing the next generation of servant leaders.”

Sandberg joined Pebble Tossers’ Board of Directors in 2018 and served as its President from 2019-2021. In her new role, Sandberg will report to the Founding Executive Director, Jennifer Guynn, as a critical strategic partner. She has 20+ years of diverse experience as a social sector nonprofit leader and community organizer, management consulting leader, senior leader in corporate finance, and assurance and consultative experience in a Big 4 accounting firm. Sandberg is a cross-functional collaborator across all levels of internal and external stakeholder organizations, a strategic thinker and problem solver, and a persuasive verbal and written communicator.

“I am excited to continue working with Pebble Tossers to achieve its mission to develop next-generation leaders,” said Sandberg. “My work with the Board of Directors and years of experience in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors have given me the expertise needed to help grow the organization in a structured and strategic way.”

Kelly Weber, President of Pebble Tossers Board of Directors, said, “Rebecca understands the vision and goals and is committed to helping Pebble Tossers achieve them, a true accountability partner. This new role will allow Pebble Tossers to continue to scale and grow and to support the needs of our members, nonprofit partners, and the communities we serve.”

About Pebble Tossers

Pebble Tossers is the premier local youth service organization in Metro Atlanta focused on providing families with a comprehensive path to youth development through service to others, from preschool to graduation. Customized programming empowers youth to lead by providing them with age-appropriate service opportunities infused with a unique service-learning curriculum focusing on social-emotional learning, positive youth development, social justice, and positive psychology. With Pebble Tossers, volunteers sign up, show up, and serve to create a ripple of giving in their community.


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Pebble Tossers Board of Directors welcomes Tifany Gilmore and Emmie Berberick

The 2022 board focuses on amplifying next-generation leaders
through service-learning and leadership skills.

(Atlanta, GA, October 5, 2022)…Pebble Tossers, Metro Atlanta’s leading youth development nonprofit organization, is pleased to welcome two new board members, Tifany Gilmore, VP Market Leader of Consumer Banking and Investments for Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, and Emmie Berberick, Project Manager, NCR Corporation.

“Our board is committed to expanding Pebble Tossers’ reach and influence throughout the community,” said Kelly Weber, Pebble Tossers Board President. “The experience, enthusiasm, and knowledge Tifany and Emmie bring to the board and our team will help us meet our goals and move into the next year.”

The new board members will jump in quickly with Pebble Tossers as programming offerings expand with more in-person opportunities, the third cohort of the Teen Leadership Program kicks off, and the organization begins its 14th year of empowering and equipping youth to lead through service.

“I am elated to join the Pebble Tossers Board and engage in service work from a new perspective. I hope to offer my skills and experiences to grow the organization,” says Berberick, who grew up volunteering and is committed to inspiring the next generation of youth leaders.

A committed supporter of youth and service, Gilmore shares a quote from Tony A. Gaskins Jr., “On the other side of fear is success. Don’t let fear hold you captive and keep you from your dreams. You were born to be more. Be ok with that and don’t doubt the process,” and believes this applies to youth volunteering for the first time. 

“I’m very excited to be part of Pebble Tossers, said Gilmore. “I love that the organization is  able to develop and connect youth with the community and instill the importance of serving at a young age.”

Gilmore and Berberick join a committed board of directors who include:


2022 Board of Directors, Pebble Tossers

Kelly Weber, Board President OneDigital
Brandy Brock, Board Vice President Google Cloud Business Solutions
Brian Sengson, Board Treasurer Bennett Thrasher
Neal Chatigny, Board Secretary WebMD
Matt Carr Amazon Web Services
Aaron Dixon Alston & Bird
Kris Manning Retired Teacher/Orton Gillingham Tutor
Elizabeth Rasberry ABB
Dana Redler H&R Block
Asher Royal Centria Healthcare
Rebecca Sandberg, Past President Management Consultant


About Pebble Tossers

Pebble Tossers is the premier local youth service organization in Metro Atlanta focused on providing families with a comprehensive path to youth development through service to others, from preschool to graduation. Customized programming empowers youth to lead by providing them with age-appropriate service opportunities infused with a unique service-learning curriculum focusing on social-emotional learning, positive youth development, social justice, and positive psychology. With Pebble Tossers, volunteers sign up, show up, and serve to create a ripple of giving in their community.

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Eight Books about US Troops and Veterans for children and teens

For Younger Children: 

Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond between a Soldier and his Service Dog
by Luis Carlos Montalvan, Bret Witter, and Dan Dion 

Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhood
by Valerie Pfundstein and Aaron Anderson 

H is for Honor: A Military Family Alphabet
by Devin Scillian and Victor Juhasz

Hero Mom
by Melinda Hardin and Bryan Langdo

Hero Dad
by Melinda Hardin and Bryan Langdo



For Teens: 


American Road Trip
by Patrick Flores-Scott

Beneath Wandering Stars
by Ashlee Cowles 

Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two
by Joseph Bruchac 

Heroism Begins with Her: Inspiring Stories of Bold, Brave, and Gutsy Women in the U.S. Military
by Winifred Conkling and Julia Kuo


If you do wish to order these books, please contact or visit The Little Shop of Stories in Decatur. This charming local buiness specializes in youth and teen books and their Booksellers would be happy to order any book from this list. 


Five Ways to Educate Yourself on Veteran Resources in your Community: 
  • Job Training Programs available through the Veterans Affairs Office
    • The VA partners with various major companies in the US to provide job training and employment opportunities to returning service members. Here is a list of the different programs offered by the VA; partnered companies include AT&T, General Dynamics, Prudential, and more. 
  • PTSD Service Dogs and Veterans
    • This is an informative and helpful article on the importance of service dogs for many veterans. Learning more about this topic is an excellent avenue to teach your children about the sacrifices many veterans make and the close bond they share with service dogs. 
  • Infographic on Veterans Experiencing Homelessness
    • This infographic is a good representation of the statistical facts about veterans facing homelessness. It includes information on the differences between subcategories of homeless veterans as well as presenting writeups on the most prominent challenges facing these veterans. 
  • Visit a Military Museum, Monument, or Memorial Park
    • The Metro Atlanta Area has a wide variety of Military Attractions to see. There are parks, memorials, and museums of all sizes. Taking a trip to see these is a great way to educate yourself on Veteran history in your community. Here is a list of Military Attractions in the Metro Atlanta Area. 
  • Learn the effects Military Service has on the families of Veterans
    • Family members of active-duty troops and returning service members have to make significant life adjustments. The temporary loss or drastic behavioral change of a parental figure can be extremely challenging and confusing for children. Educating yourself on the strain military service can sometimes put on families can help you be as supportive and understanding as possible. Here is an article that addresses situations like this. 

Service-Oriented Summer Arts and Culture Events in Metro Atlanta

Looking for a way to expose everyone in the family to some of the fantastic arts and culture of Metro Atlanta? Pebble Tossers has put together a list of some of our favorite concerts, festivals, events, and performances that are unique to Atlanta! We have included a variety of summer events with the hope that everyone can find something that interests them. Check out some of these recommendations for a unique and fun day of learning from the perspective of some of Atlanta’s most talented musicians, artists, and storytellers.

Ways to Make a Positive Impact in Metro Atlanta while Enjoying Arts and Culture this Summer: 

  • Bring a small trash bag to every event you attend this summer. Festivals and concerts often draw a large crowd, and even larger piles of trash left behind. Help your community by staying after for a few minutes and picking up some trash.
  • Carpool with friends and family to events! Going to an art exhibit at the park with some friends? Why not carpool! Not only does it save money on gas, but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • Research the causes the summer event supports. Many of the summer events listed above benefit a nonprofit organization or charity. Educating yourself on the missions of local nonprofits is a great way to learn the specific needs of those less fortunate in your community.  
  • Donate your time or money to the causes supported by the Summer Event! Nonprofit organizations like Pebble Tossers are vital to many people and community efforts in Atlanta. The surest way to ensure we can continue to serve Metro Atlanta is by helping out for a few hours on a weekend volunteer project or contributing whatever you can. Here is a link to our Service Calender and our donation page
  • Bring a reusable water bottle! Eliminating the need for disposable bottles and cups on those hot summer days is an easy way to be a responsible attendee of any summer event.
  • Pack some care packages for anyone experiencing homelessness at the event. Many of these free events, like summer concert series, attract a few members of the community experiencing homelessness. Having a few homemade care packages to distribute is a great way to support those in need in your area. Here is a link to an article detailing what to include in a Care Package.


Pebble Tossers’ Arts and Culture Book Recommendations

Picture Books for Children:

Books for Teens:

If you do wish to order these books, please contact or visit The Little Shop of Stories in Decatur. This charming local business specializes in youth and teen books, and their Booksellers would be happy to order any book from this list. 


Six Reasons Why the Performing Arts in Atlanta are worth Supporting:

1) Adult and Child-focused Classes offered by places like the Spruill Center for the Arts introduce ways for anyone in Atlanta to become involved in the Arts!
Why not learn a new artistic skill or bring the family to a workshop or event? Here are some ways to support the Spruill Center. 

2) Atlanta has one of the most distinct and well-known hip-hop communities in the world! They also love giving back to the communities where they grew up.
Rappers like Lil Baby and Gunna have made a major difference in Atlanta with their various charitable efforts. Atlanta native Lil Baby has helped refurbish a basketball court in Oakland City Park and gifted over 200 bikes to children in the neighborhood. He also hosted a back-to-school drive where he gave out much-needed laptops, clothes, and school supplies. Gunna opened up a needed items closet at his old high school, Ronald McNair High, containing food, clothes, toiletries, and more.


3) The Woodruff Center Hosts three of Atlanta’s most exciting performing arts productions: The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, and the Alliance Theatre.
The Alliance Theatre has put on musicals, children’s theatre, hosted Ballet Companies, and many traditional plays! Just this year, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is performing the music of John Williams, the Polar Express, and is also hosting famed conductor Nathalie Stutzmann! Supporting your local performing arts organizations is vital to the continued success of the Atlanta Arts Scene. Here is a link to the various volunteer opportunities available at the Woodruff Center.


4) Atlanta has venues for all kinds of Performing Arts!
In the mood for something funny? Visit the Whole World Improv Theatre, Dad’s Garage, or the Punchline Comedy Club. Want to be blown away by the skill and dedication of local dancers? Enjoy a night at the Atlanta Ballet. See a high-profile visiting performer at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center or enjoy a timeless classic at the Atlanta Shakespeare Company


5) There are many Performing Arts productions featuring youth performers!
Metro Atlanta is home to a variety of youth-focused choirs. Notable groups include the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, based out of the Woodruff Center. There are also the Atlanta Young Singers, Gwinnett Young Singers, and Georgia Boy Choir. Enjoy a show from one of these groups, or consider encouraging your child to try out for one of the many local choirs! 


6) The Atlanta Film Community is supportive of each other and are Atlanta’s biggest cheerleaders.
The Atlanta Film Festival is an excellent place to meet talented local filmmakers and crew members working to bring Atlanta’s unique neighborhoods to big and small screens. Prominent local film studios like Tyler Perry Studios and indie studios alike encourage young actors and filmmakers to visit Atlanta, which in turn brings revenue to local businesses. Plus, who doesn’t want to see a street or building they walk past every day featured in the next big Marvel movie? 

Eight Educational Resouces on Metro Atlanta’s Arts and Culture

This month’s cause area, Arts and Culture, can be applied to so many different artistic styles, movements, and nonprofit organizations. That is why Pebble Tossers has put together this list of resources covering as much of Atlanta’s broad arts and culture scene as we could. We hope you enjoy looking through these articles, infographics, and videos; and that you can learn something new about the importance of the arts! 

1. Understand the Unique Makeup of the Atlanta Art Scene

Artbase’s Dan Ketchum discusses why Atlanta is critical to the American Arts Scene in a recent article and showcases the importance of the Atlanta art scene. He provides some great recommendations for places to visit in the city as well as ways to support local artists and museums. 


2. Familiarize yourself with Local Artists

This article from Atlanta Magazine shines a light on three prominent artists in the metro Atlanta area. It also shows some examples of their work and where to see some of their displayed art. Jezebel Magazine provides another piece showcasing the work of seven additional Atlanta-based artists.


3. Maximize your Museum Trips

Going to a large Museum for the first time can be overwhelming or intimidating. This article contains some great tips on getting the most out of your Museum trip and provides an insider tip from Nick Gray, founder of Museum Hack, to “Walk the space, understand where things are, what you might be interested to come back and see, and then, go to the cafe.Try out some of these suggestions at Atlanta’s excellent Art Museums! 


4. Find out how Public Art Benefits your City

Can the arts help your mental health? Yes! Magazine provides an interesting discussion on the importance of Public Art for community well being. As we mentioned in an earlier blog, Atlanta has a wide variety of murals and public art to check out. Read up on the positive benefits that impressive artwork provides to help you feel inspired and envigorated. You can also watch this short video on the career of Atlanta-born muralist Alex Brewer. 


5. Educate yourself on the Arts throughout History

Familiarizing yourself with Art History may seem complicated and time-consuming, but understanding the story behind what you’re looking at can vastly improve the experience of a Museum visit. This infographic from Lori McNee tracks the different art movements throughout history starting with Prehistoric art from 40,000 B.C. and hopefully will give you a better idea of what to look for on your next visit.  


6. Visit some of Atlanta’s best Street Art

Atlanta has been developing a reputation for amazing street art. Pebble Tossers’ section of the Atlanta BeltLine has two outstanding examples. Atlanta Magazine provides a great list containing the best street art in Atlanta, organized by neighborhood. It also includes some helpful information about the artists responsible for the artwork. This would be a neat article to go over before planning a trip to any of Atlanta’s neighborhoods. Pebble Tossers has been proud to work directly with local artist Wallace Kelly on public art projects with Livable Buckhead.


7. Reflect on why Art is Important to You 

This is an interesting opinion piece from Tunedly on the importance of Art and individuality in our society. While some of these points were brought up in previous Pebble Tossers blogs, the writer also makes some excellent new points that “art helps us emotionally, financially, psychologically, and even helps to shape individual and collective personality”


8. Check out more resources from Pebble Tossers

You can visit the June Cause Area section of our website for more ideas on ways to benefit your community through acts of service. It is updated monthly with new resources relevant to the monthly cause area. 

June Cause Area: Arts and Culture in Atlanta

Atlanta is one of the most well-known cultural hubs in the country. Talented artists of many styles and formats call this city home. For the month of June, Pebble Tossers is focusing on the importance and uniqueness of the Arts and Culture in Atlanta. Arts and Culture is a wide-ranging subject with much room for interpretation. This month, we will highlight talented local artists of all disciplines, cultural and artistic initiatives that benefit the community, and why a focus and respect for the arts is so beneficial.

Pebble Tossers has a long history of supporting the arts and culture of Atlanta. We partner with multiple nonprofit organizations that prioritize art education and art-related community engagement. In the past, Pebble Tossers’ has provided volunteer docents for the  Woodruff Arts Center and provided holiday and summer camp counselors for the Spruill Center. In 2021, we partnered with the Spruill Center to install a 2021 origami dove exhibit that contained over 2021 handmade doves! We also have a longtime partnership with the Foundation for Hospital Art and have assisted in volunteer opportunities for a variety of their projects. Check our monthly service calendar here to see what volunteer opportunities Pebble Tossers has to offer. 


The Arts in Atlanta

Since the early 1900s, metro Atlanta has been one of the most influential cities to continuously encourage artistic expression in the United States. Most notably, Atlanta has seen its fair share of musical movements. From being a prominent country music hub in the 1920s to southern rock in the 1970s, and even punk rock in the 1980s! Starting in the 1990s, Hip Hop and Rap coming from Atlanta-based groups like Outkast began to dominate the charts. Nowadays, Atlanta is known for its uniquely powerful and expressive rap scene, being the home to many artists at the top of their game like Gucci Mane, Cardi B, 2 Chainz, and many more.

Atlanta is also known for its moniker as the “Hollywood of the South”. This is partly due to the lower cost of living, diverse landscape, and experienced local crew members. In 2018, the government of Georgia estimated an economic boost of 9.5 billion dollars thanks to tourism and job opportunities created by the local film industry. Current movies and television filming in Atlanta include Cobra Kai, Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Ozark, Stranger Things, and more!

If it’s art museums you’re looking for, Atlanta has plenty to offer. There are galleries that feature local artists and exhibitions, like the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center and the ZuCot Gallery. In addition, there are institutions like The High Museum of Art that contain pieces from international masters such as Monet, Pissaro, and Matisse. If those examples are a bit too intimidating for the younger ones, try the Center for Puppetry Arts, home to the world’s most extensive collection of Jim Henson artifacts. 


Positive Affects on Arts and Culture on the mind and the  Community

The cultural importance of art-based education and other enriching programs hosted by organizations like ArtsGeorgia and Spruill Center for the Arts cannot be understated. The positive effects of art activities on the mind are especially impactful for children. According to an article posted by Michigan State University, young people practice fine motor, math, and language skills when participating in art-related activities. They also have significant cognitive development after engaging in activities like painting and coloring. A focus on creativity and artistic expression as a child creates a more open-minded adult. This leads them to be better equipped to find inventive and original ways to solve problems in their everyday life.

Historically, the arts have also been a critical method for members of underrepresented communities to express themselves and share their stories. Many use the arts to work through their own thoughts and feelings about the world around them. While others create as an avenue to vent their frustration, tell a story of their community, or paint a hopeful picture of the future. Noted performance artist Luis Alfaro said this about his goal as an artist: “The goal is the create the world that you want to see…That’s always, always, always a challenge”.

A focus on the arts is not only beneficial for the mind, but also for your community. Street art, murals, statues, and even the layout of a public park would not be possible without talented local artists. While it may seem simple, giving a seemingly mundane street corner or a nondescript building some color and character will contribute to the overall identity and uniqueness of your city in a very noticeable way. The Arts also provide significant economic benefits to the surrounding community. Whether it brings out-of-town visitors keen to see the work of local artists or new employment opportunities for locals, the impact of a booming art scene is consistently positive. Joan Compton articulated the economic importance of the arts to Atlanta during a 2017 forum on Arts and Economic Prosperity, saying “ The arts are an employer, a driver of the economy, and a catalyst of growth”. 


Nonprofit Partners:

The Woodruff Arts Center
This incredible community resource is home to the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the High Museum of Art Atlanta. Whether you want to see a show or enjoy some local or international artwork, this is the place for you! Find more information here

Foundation for Hospital Art
A truly unique organization with an awesome goal, the Foundation for Hospital Art aims to encourage patients and volunteers to create art to hang in hospitals. Doing this not only helps the patients to spend their time expressing themselves artistically, hanging the art in their room also creates a more comfortable space. In addition to hosting painting events at hospitals, the Foundation also provides kits for at-home painting. Find more information here

Spruill Center for the Arts
According to their site, “The Spruill Center will be a beacon for the community by providing access and opportunities for all to create and enjoy the arts.” The Spruill Center hosts a variety of Adult and Children’s art classes and workshops, as well as special events like educational panels and discussions on exhibits housed within the Center. They also have yearly Summer Camp programs! Find more information here 

Pebble Tossers interview on Veteran Support and Doc’s Healing Hives with Tim Doherty

Pebble Tossers recently interviewed Tim Doherty, founder of Doc’s Healing Hives. Tim’s organization teaches and equips veterans with the materials needed to keep bees and harvest their honey. Many of these veterans have suffered traumatic brain injuries received as a result of their service. The primary goal of Doc’s Healing Hives is to help heal and reintegrate former service members into their community through the vocation of Beekeeping. The conversation focused on the progress made to create more opportunities for Doc’s Healing Hives to serve the Metro Atlantas veteran community and the importance of volunteers within the organization itself. Tim shared incredible advice on how we can all do better to make lasting friendships with the veterans in our lives. 


Pebble Tossers: I’ve seen that you are in the process of building a new Veteran Learning Center. What new opportunities do you hope this space will provide for members of your organization?

That space should be finished by the end of April (2023?). And it will allow me to run anywhere from two to four courses a year teaching veterans how to keep bees, and then will also be a retreat for them. And then I can also serve them individually. I actually had a veteran call me today and say, “Hey I’d like to learn how to keep bees, can you come to my farm?” And I said, “Well, how about you come to my farm, and I’ll teach you how to do hive inspections where there actually are bees.” Getting it built has been a three-year process so we’re very excited.

Pebble Tossers: Is the Veteran Learning Center going to be a place where veterans can stay overnight?

Tim: That’s the next phase, one that I really would like help with, is building a lodge. We have one tiny home that could house two veterans and I’d like to build two more container homes that would host another 12 veterans. So close to 15.

Pebble Tossers: Your Facebook page shows that Doc’s Healing Hives makes tequila honey that you sell at the local Farmer’s Market, and other flavors as well. What’s the process of infusing that unique flavor into the honey harvest?

Tim: It’s fun. I started with my regular honey, which is the best honey in the state of Georgia as judged by the Georgia Beekeepers Association at the Fall Conference this past year. And then I took that honey and another wildflower honey, blended those two together with bourbon and created my Bourbon Honey, which is amazing. Everybody loves it. And a lot of people wanted that and people suggested tequila. So I tried tequila and everybody loves it. The alcohol makes the honey sweeter. And then at the end, you get a slight finish of tequila. So it’s just a pleasant experience, everybody is very excited about it.

Pebble Tossers: What role do volunteers play in the daily operation and events you put on at Doc’s Healing Hives?

Tim: Well, there’s a variety of roles and it’s gonna expand because it used to be that it was just the instructors because I didn’t have a host facility. So now that I have my own facility, more volunteers are needed. From hosts, people to help serve food, to greeters, to people that help in the registration process, to people who just help to make the veterans feel comfortable. Because for a lot of them, the PTSD element, is huge. Most people don’t know this but Winnie the Pooh is based on PTSD. The author of Winnie the Pooh had PTSD. If you look at Piglet, he is always anxious. Rabbit can never sit still. Owl is always thoughtful. Eeyore is depressed. Those are all elements of PTSD that a veteran can experience at any different time. So when you do something like this, not only do you have to be the subject matter expert, you also have to be able to meet the needs of individuals that are experiencing these challenges. So that’s something that hosts or volunteers can help with, which will be new for me because I  never operated the host facility, I was just the program facility coordinator.

Veteran Learning Center

Pebble Tossers: What are some of your favorite parts of the work you do with your organization? What’s rewarding to you?

Tim: It’s a combination, I love just being with the bees, getting into the beehive. Because whatever is bothering you completely goes away and all you’re thinking is “this is amazing”. I’ve got anywhere from 20 to a hundred thousand bees looking at me and you get an entire life cycle in every frame of bees you pull out. From pupa to larva to bee, it’s just incredible. And I don’t know how else to explain that. Then getting to share that experience, it’s amazing.

Pebble Tossers: It seems like a great conduit to have fun and also make important connections with veterans and anyone wanting to get involved.

Tim: It helps the veterans reconnect to their own families and to their own communities. And that’s the whole point, that when you go into combat, you get connected to that lifestyle, that purpose. Then when you come home you don’t have that anymore. So it reconnects them to a new purpose, which then helps them integrate back into their own community.

Pebble Tossers: What are some of the ways Doc’s Healing Hive has been able to interact and become a resource to the surrounding Atlanta community?

Tim: One of my favorite stories is the Shepherd Center, we’re a nationally approved Shepherd Center activity. To be part of the Shepherd Center Share Program you have to have a traumatic brain injury and PTSD for a traumatic brain injury. So what that means is when a veteran checks into the Shepherd Center, they do an inventory for something that they might be interested in. If they choose Doc’s Healing Hives or beekeeping as something that they’re interested in learning about then I will meet with their recreational therapist and the veteran at a Park in Buckhead that we created with Livable Buckhead and Buckhead Rotary for this exact purpose. To be a training center for veterans that were in the Share Program. So we’ve created this educational bee garden in Buckhead, and then that’s been extended to becoming a Share Activity for the veterans going through the Shepherd Center Share Program. And then any time I’m at a farmer’s market, I’m always raising awareness. Do you know how many veterans kill themselves every day?

Pebble Tossers: No, I do not.

Tim: It’s 22. There was one this past Saturday that I know personally that killed himself. That was another veteran farmer. People just don’t realize that there’s such a disconnect between a deployment lifestyle and then turning back to your civilian lifestyle, that it’s hard for the veterans to adjust. So creating that awareness that veterans need help. A little bit of empathy, a little bit of community.

And then the other side of that is we always do pollinator education, which people don’t understand the importance of bees. There are only around 2 million bee colonies in America, and almost all of those are required to pollinate just the almonds in California. So almost every beehive in America goes to California every almond season to pollinate the almonds. Or the fact that 40% of your food is created by the pollination of bees. So if you didn’t have the honey bees pollinating the vegetables and the fruit, then your diet would look completely different.

Pebble Tossers: Do you have any advice for someone looking to get more educated and more supportive of the troops and former service members in their community

Tim: It’s not really that complicated. All of us know a veteran, and it’s as simple as talking to the individual and spending time with that person. One of my best experiences this past year, I haven’t been to a major sporting event since I deployed in 2015-2016. And I had not been to anything larger than a high school football game. I had been invited to baseball games, basketball games, football games, and I always declined because the environment was just too much. This past College Bowl season, my friend Mike told me “Michigan State is going to the Peach Bowl here in Atlanta”, and said we should go. And I said, “well that’s going to be a lot for me buddy, but I’ll give it a try”. So he and I went, it was the first big sporting event that I had been to in five years, which meant that I could now do it again. But before, the anxiety of being around that large of a crowd prevented me from attempting it. But having the invitation, “do you want to come over and grill a hamburger”, and just having those casual conversations shows you actually care. It really isn’t that complicated. Wanting to be invested and asking specific questions, as opposed to “how are you doing”. Because if you ask us how we’re doing we’re just going to tell you “fine” because that’s what we’ve been trained to tell you. But we’re not. So when you dig a little bit deeper and you show a little bit more investment. I don’t know, going to that football game was a big deal for me.

Pebble Tossers: I think everyone wants to be a better friend, however they can.

Tim: I think you just summed it up, be a better friend, right? I think that’s what’s so hard for us. That communities were very different and people lived in the same community and you came home to your community and there was a different kind of welcoming, or a different kind of connection and that doesn’t necessarily exist anymore.


Pebble Tossers:  Anyone can read that and feel like they can do that.

Tim: He broke a barrier for me. When my daughter said, “Hey it’s Daddy Daughter Day at UGA, we’re going to a basketball game do you want to come”. Before I would’ve said, “I don’t know”. But because Mike said “I think we can do this, nobody’s gonna be there”, I could. It was the encouragement and the support and basically just being a good neighbor.

Pebble Tossers: Is there anything that you want readers to know about Doc’s Healing Hives, the work that goes on there, or anything at all?

Tim: I think it’s important for people to be kind. It’s hard being deployed, your brain becomes rewired. We can’t help the way we are.

Pebble Tossers: That’s a great advice. Thank you so much for that, I think that’s a great way to end the interview. That’s an important note to end on that really ties it all together, what we’ve mentioned about being a community resource and how we can be more supportive. Be kind, be a better friend, be supportive, be a neighbor.

Tim: And make sure every time you spell “bee”, you use two E’s. Bee kind, bee a better friend, bee supportive, bee a neighbor!


Here is a link to the Doc’s Healing Hives Facebook page, where most of the organization progress and updates are recorded. Doc’s Healing Hives also has a Gofundme page fordonations for the Veteran Learning Center..