Pebble Tossers’ Guide to Summer Fun in Metro Atlanta

Summer is quickly approaching, and keeping your kids active during the summer months can sometimes be a challenge. Not only is summer a good time for vacations and relaxation, but all of that free time also presents an excellent opportunity to volunteer and help out your community.

Getting a head start on service hours for schools and clubs is a great way to spend your summer. Why not make a positive impact in your community or learn something new while you have spare free time? Here are some suggestions from Pebble Tossers on ways to be productive and have the most enriching summer possible!

  • Participate in a River Cleanup with Chattahoochee Riverkeeper

    River cleanups are done by kayak or on land, to help preserve the natural beauty in your community.

  • Have a fun day at Stone Mountain Park

    Minigolf, Geyser Towers, a Dinotorium, even a Railroad! Stone Mountain has everything you will need for a fun day trip.

  • Take part in one of the numerous volunteer events organized by Pebble Tossers.

    Check our service calendar to see which volunteer opportunities work best with your schedule.

  • Visit the Farmers Market

    Metro Atlanta is home to quite a few Farmer’s Markets if you know where to look. Here are a few options for your next visit:
    • Grant Park Farmers Market
    • Peachtree Road Farmers Market

  • Visit the Food Truck Park

    What could be better than up to fifteen trucks all serving different tasty foods? Nothing! Visit nearby Underwood Hills Park for some time on the playground.

  • Join the Junior Ranger Program at any State Park in Georgia

    The Junior Ranger Program is a unique and fun opportunity to learn more about the wildlife and the people who take care of it at your local State Park.

  • See a Waterfall!

    There are more waterfalls near Atlanta than you think. Here is an article on three close enough for a day trip.

  • Hike the trails at the Dunwoody Nature Center

    Voted “Best Place for Kids to Have Fun” by the Dunwoody Crier in 2021. Pets are very welcome!

  • Support a locally-owned Bookstore

    Supporting your local Bookstore is a good habit yearlong, but during the Summer, many of these bookstores host children-focused author events and readings. Here is a list of some of our favorite spots:
    Little Shop of Stories
     in Decatur
    • Medu Bookstore
     in Greenbriar Mall
    • A Capella Books
     in Inman Park

  • Write Cards of Encouragement for a Local Senior Living Facility

    Pebble Tossers partners with several facilities that serve seniors or our community members in need. While many are not open for visitation due to COVID they do accept cards and letters of encouragement. Here is a list of current Pebble Tossers’ projects or simply reach out to a Senior Living Facility in your area:
    Atlanta Mission

  • Visit the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

    This is a great place to spend the day. There are indoor and outdoor exhibits, educational programming for kids, playgrounds, and more!

  • Visit The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library

    Located at the Carter Center, the Library also houses a museum dedicated to President Carter’s time in office. The museum contains a full-sized replica of The Oval Office and a cabin recreation of Camp David.

  • Check out a Rooftop Arcade

    Skyline Park at Ponce City Market has food, new and vintage amusement games, and mini-golf. Who wouldn’t want to spend a day there?

  • Go Camping

    Camping is the perfect way to connect with the outdoors, rest, and unwind. Here is a list of Campgrounds within an hour of Atlanta.

  • Visit The King Center

    The King Center is an excellent place to spend the day learning about the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The continued work and education this center provides is vital to the Atlanta community.

Download our Summer Bingo Card and see how many you can check off! When you have completed the card, be sure to take a picture and tag us and use #PTSummerBingo.

Click Here To Download PT Bingo

May Cause Area: Honoring + Serving Veterans in Metro Atlanta

little girl holding veterans day cardBeing a community resource by supporting our active and returning service members is of the highest importance for Pebble Tossers. Successfully reintegrating into society is sometimes a challenge for veterans who have completed their military service. The best way we can support them is to educate ourselves on the difficulties these veterans face and learn strategies to support the veterans in our communities. 

One in ten people experiencing homelessness is a veteran, and about 29 percent of veterans return with a service-related disability. The challenges returning service members face are varied and complex. That is why Pebble Tossers’ Cause Area focus for the month is US Troops and Veterans. May is National Military Appreciation Month, and we at Pebble Tossers are proud to shine a light on service members in the Metro Atlanta area.

In the past, Pebble Tossers has honored our service members by helping to stock the Veterans Empowerment Organization pantry with needed supplies, and by making “Welcome Home” Kits for HOPE Atlanta to be given to veterans coming out of homelessness. In addition, we have organized birthday card workshops and gift bag assemblies for local veterans. We then send these thoughtfully made items to Trinka Davis Veterans Village, a clinic offering primary care and specialty health services in Carrollton.  We have also partnered with Operation Gratitude to send current troops handmade items like paracord bracelets, bandanas, masks, scarves, and cards. 

Veterans in America

Veterans currently comprise about seven percent of the US population, roughly 19.5 million Americans. Veterans of the Gulf War Era make up nearly half of that population, followed by around six million Vietnam War veterans. A little over one million people are veterans of the Korean War veterans, and around 326 thousand are World War Two veterans. Two million of those veterans are women, and Georgia has the ninth largest percentage of Veterans living in the United States. The US veteran population has declined significantly in recent years. Population decline coupled with the introduction of veteran support-focused legislature means we have a unique opportunity to focus more on personal care and hands-on treatment of veterans returning in need. A study by the VA predicts that by 2030, Georgia will be home to the fifth-largest percentage of veterans in the nation!

Challenges Veterans Face

Homelessness is one of the most prominent issues returning service members face. There are around 40 thousand veterans living without a home in America, 89 percent of which received an honorable discharge. The main reasons behind this sizable amount of homeless veterans is poverty brought on by home foreclosure, unemployment, substance abuse, and mental illness. 

But progress is being made to find every veteran in the United States a home. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, “More than 82 communities and the entire states of Connecticut, Delaware, and Virginia have effectively ended homelessness among Veterans”. This has been made possible by various government support programs such as the Veterans Affairs’ Supportive Services for Veteran Families program and Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program. 

The mental changes that occur upon returning home are also often a major obstacle. A write-up by the VA on veteran re-adjustment to civilian life puts the seemingly simple act of existing in civilian life into perspective: “The military provides structure and has a clear chain of command. This does not naturally exist outside the military. A Veteran will have to create his or her own structure or adjust to living in an environment with more ambiguity”. 

Resources Available for Veterans

Many veterans often look for structure in their daily life through a steady home life or a good working relationship with coworkers. That, as well as the obvious financial pressure, is why reintegrating into the workforce is vital for returning service members to fall into a familiar and comfortable routine.

The VA and other government entities provide a variety of programs intended to prepare veterans to rejoin the workforce. Job training, resume building, and even navigating office lingo are new concepts to a veteran whose only career has been with the military. Programs like Boots to Business are excellent resources to increase returning service members’ experience and confidence in joining the workforce. 

The many obstacles facing returning veterans make learning about the positive resources and programs available all the more critical. In addition to the Nonprofit Partners Pebble Tossers’ support, there are also multiple government-supported Veteran Service Organizations. These organizations include the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and more, located at the Atlanta Regional VA Office

There are many ways to show your support and honor the veterans in your family and community. Here are some simple tips on how you can support service members through words and actions listed in an article by Jamie Howard, Ph.D. at the Child Mind Institute

    • Acknowledge people who have been deployed, be it your neighbor, distant relative, friend, or colleague. 
    • Be available to talk and listen about things in general, including the important aspects of returning to everyday life—job, hobbies, activities, etc. 
    • Offer a job if you or someone you know is hiring.
    • Engage in community activities. Some military members return to a huge network of friends and family; others do not. Arrange outings to baseball games, museums, or the movies.
    • Offer help in specific ways. Rather than saying “Let me know if I can help…” say, “I’d like to babysit for you this weekend—you deserve a night out.”

Atlanta has multiple parks with monuments or memorials honoring veterans.  Planning a trip is a great way to teach the importance of US service members and veterans to younger children in a more physical way. Pebble Tossers is also hosting a few different service opportunities in May to benefit returning veterans. These include writing notes of encouragement virtually, Memorial Day remembrance, and more.  You can always check our Monthly Service Calendar to see what service projects are available. 

You can also contribute your time to one of our Nonprofit Partners. Here is a list of Pebble Tossers’ Nonprofit Partners focusing on assisting US Troops and Veterans. 

Nonprofit Partners 

Doc’s Healing Hives and Honey Foundation: 

  • This organization aims to familiarize and educate veterans of the Atlanta metro area with beekeeping and the art of harvesting honey. They also sell this honey at local farmers’ markets. Doc’s primary goal is “helping veterans heal through the vocation of beekeeping.” Learn more here

Operation Gratitude: 

  • Operation Gratitude operates all over the country with the primary goal of creating and sending care packages to service members and veterans. They organize workshops to fill these care packages, such as letter-writing campaigns, knitting, and even hacky sack making. 

VA Atlanta Healthcare System: 

  • The VA is integral in supporting our returning veterans. Here service members can get the medical treatment they need, be it mental health treatment or something as simple as battery replacement for a hearing aid. Learn more here

Veterans Empowerment Organization: 

  • The VEO is dedicated to helping returning service members reintegrate into society as efficiently and easily as possible. They focus on providing housing, wellness programs, and workforce training and placement services for veterans. Learn more here

Environmental Education 101: Helpful resources for all ages

Pebble Tossers proudly offers a variety of service projects each month that have made a positive impact on the Metro Atlanta environment. While these projects and our environmental cause area blogs, as well as the information on our website, are filled with learning opportunities, there is so much more information available on a variety of methods to become more eco-friendly in your day-to-day life. 

To start, here is a list of some of our favorite books that deal with environmental education and sustainability: 

For Younger Children: 

For Tweens and Teens:

We’ve also compiled some additional resources for the entire family: 

  • Oceanic Plastic Pollution Effects 
    • An informative interview with local artist and Professor Pam Longobardi about a new art display made possible through worldwide beach cleanups. Her organization, The Drifters Project, works to reduce ocean-based pollution.
  • Chattahoochee River Information 
    • Here is some helpful information from our nonprofit partner Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. This write-up has fun facts as well as challenges and threats facing the area.
  • Georgia Water Coalition Dirty Dozen Report 
    • Mentioned in an earlier blog, this is the yearly report detailing the twelve most harmful factors affecting Georgia’s water quality. Pay special attention to the section on climate change.
  • Outdoor Atlanta Trip Guide
    • This is a comprehensive list of outdoor recreation sites in the Metro Atlanta Area. Full of fun day trip ideas and something for every member of the family.
  • Endangered Species List 
    • An extensive list of many different species in different stages of endangerment from critical to near threatened. Each species has their own writeup on why they matter within their habitats, as well as efforts being made to prevent their extinction.
  • Recycling Guides
    • The CHaRM recycling facility in Atlanta is a vital community resource that focuses on specialized recycling. Here is a link to their site on where all of that waste ends up. You can also share this kid-friendly guide to recycling with any young environmental activists.
  • Home Garden Starting Guide
    • Starting a home garden is one of the best ways to get hands-on education and learn the value of caring for the environment. Here are some resources on a home garden’s importance, a guide to starting one, and some fun gardening ideas for younger children.
  • Renewable vs Non-Renewable Resource Facts
    • It is important to educate yourself and others about sustainable usage of the Earth’s resources. Here is a write-up detailing the differences between renewable and non-renewable resources. 

Ten Ways to Support Metro Atlanta’s Environment

1. Start a Home Garden

This is an effective and rewarding way to live sustainably. This is also a great project to get the whole family excited about being eco-friendly. 

2. Limit Driving

Anyone who has spent time in Atlanta knows the amount of traffic can be overwhelming at times. Carpooling with a friend on the way to school or work reduces greenhouse gas emissions by a sizable amount. 

3. Take an environment focused virtual education course 

Trees Atlanta provides a variety of online learning opportunities for kids and adults alike. There are programs on climate change effects, local wildlife, and even educational storytimes. 

4. Stop using plastic bottles for drinks 

Plastic bottles make up a significant amount of waste worldwide. Use a refillable water bottle or purchase cans/glass that are more easily recycled. Bonus points for accessorizing with your favorite stickers.

5. Eat Less Meat

Cattle are the number one agricultural source of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The reduction of red meat consumption on a mass scale would lead to a substantial decrease of those negative emissions. How about being a weekday vegetarian? Here’s a link to get started: Why I’m a weekday vegetarian. 

6. Donate Used Clothes

Donating used clothes not only gives a second life to your unwanted apparel, but also keeps it out of landfills. Here are a few links to locations in Atlanta in need of donations. Atlanta Mission, SafeHouse Outreach, Foster Care Support Foundation

7. Visit a Park or Nature Preserve

Spending some time in a preserved outdoor space can put into perspective why protecting the environment is so crucial. Atlanta has a number of fun public parks and Georgia is home to eleven national parks. Plan a visit soon.

8. Buy Local Produce

Produce farmed locally doesn’t create nearly as much transportation pollution as its big box store counterparts, which are often transported hundreds of miles across the country. And who doesn’t love supporting local farmers? Here are some links to local farmers markets and suppliers: Martin’s Garden, Atlanta Farmers Market, Full List

9. Participate in a River Cleanup

The Chattahoochee RIverkeeper puts together at least one river cleanup a month. This can be one of the most noticeable ways to keep your community beautiful. 

10. Volunteer your time with Pebble Tossers or one of our Nonprofit Partners

The Pebble Tossers monthly service calendar is filled with opportunities to make a positive impact on your environment and community. You can also check our monthly cause area resource page.


April Cause Area: Pebble Tossers’ Guide to Environmental Conservation

Earth Day isn’t the only time to think about the importance of protecting our environment. But it can be intimidating to dive into a field so vast as the environment. After all, doesn’t that pretty much cover every natural cause on earth? 

Pebble Tossers is committed to reducing our environmental impact. We follow consistent environmental sustainability practices on every service project we are a part of. Here are some examples of how Pebble Tossers has prioritized environmental sustainability within our organization: 

    • Creation of efficient ways to reduce negative impact on the environment. 
    • Reduction of pollution and wasted resources like water and energy. 
    • Efficient usage of necessary materials and an emphasis on recyclability when possible. 
    • Proper education on sustainable practices within Pebble Tossers. 
    • Continuing environment-focused service projects in needed communities.

By creating a system of accountability and tracking our impact on the environment, Pebble Tossers prioritizes this cause within our organization. These eco-friendly practices should be evident in our attitude during service projects and encourage partnered organizations to act likewise. Feel free to visit our monthly cause area resource page to see a list of the various environmental service projects Pebble Tossers is a part of this month. You can also find some fun tips and activities to minimize your daily ecological impact.

Environmental Conservation encompasses many different focus areas, including habitat, soil, marine, energy and more. Pebble Tossers wants to take this April to highlight many of the various causes associated with Environmental Conservation. We also want to highlight some partnered sustainability-focused organizations that positively impact the Atlanta community. Through learning about the history of environmental conservation and seeing the progress made by these efforts, we can become better stewards of our environment in the Atlanta area and worldwide! 

History of Environmental Conservation

Efforts to decrease our negative impact on the environment have been ongoing for hundreds of years. Modern Environmental Conservatism gained momentum during the Industrial Revolution, spurred on by unprecedented amounts of pollution. Scientists of the era realized that important resources like wood and coal would not last forever and expressed concern over the ever-increasing reliance on them. 

Later in the 1900s, severe over-hunting threatened the populations of many diverse species in different parts of the country. During this time, the populations of the Carolina Parakeet, Eastern Cougar, Labrador Duck, and many more were permanently extinguished by overzealous hunters and habitat destruction. 

While the disappearance of one or two species may not seem like a big deal, it can have a massive effect on the surrounding wildlife. Taking even one critical species out of an ecosystem can have major unforeseen consequences. Luckily, some mass extinctions were prevented by the founding of the National Park Service. Many of the new natural parks provided a place animals such as the grizzly bear could live without the risk of being over-hunted. Today, visiting a local or national park can be a great way to see wildlife unique to your area. Georgia is home to many species not found in other parts of the country, like the woodchuck and flying squirrel. 

Climate Change

One of the most well-known causes associated with Environmental Conservation is the fight to reduce climate change. This is an ongoing problem that affects every part of the planet. It has brought about the gradual destruction of countless wildlife habitats through rising temperatures, increasingly destructive storm patterns and much more.1 

The effects of climate change can very much be felt in Atlanta.  A yearly report released by the Georgia Water Coalition expressed concern over the harmful effects climate change will bring to Georgia. This report predicts future heatwaves and severe droughts in the Atlanta area and Georgia.2 Studies like this stress the importance of making simple changes to ensure a sustainable and bright future for generations to come. 

While the many different causes associated with Environmental Conservation may seem daunting to get involved in, there have been quite a few success stories made possible by the movement. Several important species have been brought back from the brink of extinction. The bald eagle, humpback whale, grey wolf, and many more species are around today thanks to the efforts of environmental conservationists worldwide.3 

Impacts of Georgia Based Environmental Conservation

Conservation efforts have also been successful in Georgia, including multiple projects in Atlanta organized by Pebble Tossers. Service projects such as forest and trail maintenance at Big Trees Forest Preserve, the Beltline Beautification Project, and recycling event volunteering opportunities are offered monthly. Check our monthly service calendar here for a list of projects organized by Pebble Tossers and partnered organizations. There are also successful ongoing efforts like cleaning up the Chattahoochee River and the hundreds of thousands of trees being planted statewide by Trees Atlanta and other organizations. 

Many of the environmental issues that face the world are also a concern in the Atlanta area. Making a positive impact on the environment isn’t an easy thing to do, but finding ways to work these changes into our daily routine is hugely important. Sometimes the most meaningful effects you can have on the environment around you can be done with the simplest of actions. Educating yourself about recycling, getting involved with an environmental nonprofit, even switching to a reusable water bottle are all easy steps to become an advocate for the environment. 

Pebble Tossers is proud to partner with many organizations that focus on environmental conservation. These local organizations focus on various environmental issues, such as wildlife conservation, youth and adult education, and the preservation of many of Atlanta’s uniquely beautiful outdoor spaces. Here are some of those organizations and what they do in the Atlanta area. 

Nature Preserves: 

The John Ripley Forbes Big Trees Forest Preserve: A 30 acre Tree, Plant and Wildlife sanctuary and Urban Forest Education Center located in Sandy Springs. In 2021, the Forest Preserve was designated part of the Old-Growth Forest Network, a national network of mature forests that are protected, native, and publicly accessible.  Find more information here

Blue Heron Nature Preserve: Here you can enjoy the three mile Blueway Trail on unique wetland trails home to a variety of wildlife! Blue Heron also hosts multiple art, education and conservation programs. Find more information here

Chattahoochee Nature Center: A 127 acre natural space located on the Chattahoochee river. Lots to do here, like guided river canoe trips, summer camps, and multiple private event spaces. Find more information here

Dunwoody Nature Center: Dunwoody Park is a great place to spend the day enjoying nature. Also home to the Dunwoody Beekeeping Club, which hosts monthly meetings and classes for current and future beekeepers of all ages. Find more information here

Lost Corner Nature Preserve: A great space to enjoy some quiet time in nature. Here you can help out in the community garden, walk the trails, or even attend the native plant sale in the Spring and Fall. Find more information here

Community Engagement: 

Park Pride: An organization that provides programs, funding, and leadership with the goal to improve every park possible in the Atlanta and Dekalb area. A great organization to get involved with if you want to learn more about how parks can benefit the community and the challenges of establishing a new park. Find more information here

Trees Atlanta: A nonprofit organization that focuses on forest restoration and tree care and planting. Trees Atlanta has planted over 140,000 trees in the Atlanta area and has no plans on stopping! Find more information here

Atlanta Beltline: An urban development program focusing on “connecting 45 intown neighborhoods via a 22 mile loop of multi-use trails, modern streetcar, and parks – all based on railroad corridors that formerly encircled Atlanta”. Find more information here

ChaRM (Center for Hard to Recycle Materials): An important drop off facility that specializes in hazardous waste and other materials that may be difficult to recycle. Not only an important community resource, but also a site for youth and adult education programs such as Sustainable Material Management, Sustainability/Environmental Education, and Recycling 101. Find more information here

Chattahoochee Riverkeeper: Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s mission is to educate, advocate, and secure the protection and stewardship of the Chattahoochee River. Programs are dedicated to protecting and restoring the Chattahoochee river basin. Find more information here



Pebble Tossers Board of Directors welcomes Kris Manning and Dara Redler

Pebble Tossers Board of Directors welcomes Kris Manning and Dara Redler
The 2022 board is focused on expanding offerings, diversifying its community base and helping youth develop leadership skills.

(Atlanta, GA, February 3, 2022)…Pebble Tossers, Atlanta’s leading youth development nonprofit organization, is pleased to welcome two new board members, Kris Manning, Retired Teacher and Orton Gillingham Tutor, and Dara Redler, Chief Legal Officer, H&R Block.

“Our board is committed to expanding Pebble Tossers’ reach and influence throughout the community,” said Kelly Weber, Pebble Tossers Board President. “The experience and knowledge Kris and Dara bring to the board and our team will help us meet our goals.”

Along with the existing members, the new board members will work to guide Pebble Tossers as it engages in new projects, developments, and partnerships that serve the mission of empowering and equipping youth to lead through service.

Kris Manning, Retired Teacher, Orton Gillingham Tutor

After teaching 13 years in public school, Kris became a certified Orton Gillingham tutor. She currently works with students who struggle with reading, writing and comprehension. Kris and her wife, Melinda, have been married for 28 years and have a 12-year-old son.“I am humbled and excited to join the Board of Pebble Tossers, said Kris. “After experiencing the events of the past couple of years, I am yearning to find deeper connections and to push myself in new ways. I hope to gain more compassion and understanding by making an impact in the lives of others.”Kris’s most memorable service memories are from organizing two different school fundraisers. They provided her with immense satisfaction as they were both were wildly successful, fun, and positively rallied the local community. 


Dara Redler, Chief Legal Officer, H&R Block

Recently named Chief Legal Officer for H&R Block, Dara holds a Juris Doctor from Duke University School of Law and two bachelor’s degrees from The University of Pennsylvania, one in Marketing from the Wharton School, and one in global studies from the College of Arts & Sciences. Dara and her husband, Dan, have three sons.“I am excited to join Pebble Tossers’ Board of Directors and help continue building on the ripples of doing good for the community,” said Dara.Dara’s most memorable service opportunity comes from annually serving with her family to lead a clean-up of the Chattahoochee River during the International Coastal Cleanup through the Ocean Conservancy. She loved working together as a family to pull out tons of trash and was inspired by how much of an impact could be had in just one day.


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
Heather Housley Bank of America-Merrill Lynch
Kris Manning Retired Teacher/Orton Gillingham Tutor
Elizabeth Rasberry ABB
Dana Redler H&R Block
Asher Royal Davita Kidney Care
Rebecca Sandberg, Past President Management Consultant

About Pebble Tossers
Pebble Tossers is the premier local youth service organization 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 resources and age-appropriate service opportunities. With Pebble Tossers, volunteers sign up, show up, and serve to create a ripple of giving in their community.

Click Here For Download Press Release



“A Day On, Not A Day Off”

What exactly is “a day on, not a day off?” Unlike other national holidays, Martin Luther King Day was established to honor Dr. King and his service and commitment to the improvement of our nation.

Naturally, here at Pebble Tossers we embrace this commitment and like to think that every day is a potential day for service and to support our community. It’s a key aspect of our teen leadership program initiative: serve. lead. succeed.

While currently in our second year of our Teen Leadership Program, our first-year alums shared with us what they learned about leadership from the program’s speakers and service projects.

“A leader is someone who makes a change by being different. They have to be confident enough to stand out and stand up.” – Nupur D.

“In the past, I always thought of leaders as being more dictatorial which is why I often shied away from that role. Being a part of the TLP showed me that I can be a leader while still listening to others and uplifting the voices of my teammates.” – Ainsley M.

A key element of leadership is to build up those that work with you to achieve your goals. Our mission at Pebble Tossers is to empower and equip youth to lead through service and we believe it is making a difference.

Thank you for serving on this national holiday in honor of Dr. King and his mission and throughout the year to support and build our community.

Our cause area for the month is Citizenship + Social Justice. To learn more about it and service opportunities surrounding its focus, please click here.

Here are a few resources on the MLK Jr. Holiday:

The King Center History of Martin Luther King Jr. Day King Institute TIME Magazine: Man of the Year

A look at the origins of GivingTuesday

The countdown to the world’s most significant day of generosity is upon us as GivingTuesday falls on Tuesday, November 30th this year. If you’re not familiar with the origins of GivingTuesday, here’s a breakdown. It is, at its core, a global generosity movement unleashing the power of radical generosity. Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Since then, it has grown into a year-round global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. 1

On GivingTuesday, nonprofits receive a tremendous amount of attention which translates into record fundraising events. When we review 2018 – 2020, the day resulted in tremendous results and increases. In 2018, $400 million was raised in total for Giving Tuesday, a new record. Then, in 2019, 511 million was raised which when compared to the previous year, was a 28% increase. In the year 2020, an astonishing $2.47 billion was donated to U.S nonprofit organizations by a reported 34.8 million people on Giving Tuesday.2 The National Today data science team surveyed 1,000 people about their Giving Tuesday habits and found that 25% of Americans plan on participating in Giving Tuesday.

Your donations can make all the difference for nonprofits, especially smaller ones. For instance, when you donate to Pebble Tossers, it is used to support our mission of empowering and equipping youth to serve through leadership. The first step in that initiative is to create meaningful, safe, service projects for members of all ages. In doing so, Pebble Tossers provides all the materials and supplies needed for projects, including snacks and refreshments for our volunteers and those we serve. Additionally, Pebble Tossers provides trained staff resources, and timely and relevant information and logistics for each project so volunteers know what to expect before they arrive (preparing for the service project, parking instructions, clothing attire, and more).

Beyond the day-of-volunteer experience, Pebble Tossers offers members a personalized dashboard to track volunteer hours and favorite service projects and provides printed transcripts of volunteer service. Pebble Tossers also offers youth leadership and character development workshops, as well as “Toolbox Resources” for youth and families, including “Table Talk” and “How-To” sheets for families to discuss and process together issues such as serving those experiencing homelessness or working with the elderly.

Pebble Tossers empowers our youth through service thus leaving them with a sense of community awareness and learned responsibility that they can make the world a better place. We also provide hands-on opportunities for learning that build confidence, teach collaborative efforts, and develop the initiative. Giving youth opportunities to lead at an early age provides safe opportunities to make mistakes and learn from them.

To donate on this GivingTuesday, please click here.

1 Giving Tuesday
2 National Today

November Cause Area: How to Help Curb Hunger in Our Community

Did you know that Georgia has the 10th highest food insecurity rate in the county and that 1 in 5 children struggle with hunger?1 For most of us, hunger can be solved by a trip to the kitchen. Mealtimes often revolve around planned ingredients, thoughtfully purchased during weekly grocery runs, or include impromptu restaurant visits. But for many Atlantans, food is an expense that has to take a backseat to more pressing needs. For these individuals and families, there isn’t regular access to adequate or affordable food—it’s a chronic problem known as food insecurity.2

“A household is food insecure when they’re unsure about where their next meal is coming from,” said Jon West, VP of Programs at the Atlanta Community Food Bank. “This may be due to a lack of resources—money, a place to buy food or transportation to get there.”3

Food insecurity does not just affect children and families in the city but it also affects individuals living in rural areas. People who live in rural Georgia face hunger at higher rates, in part because of the unique challenges living remotely presents. These challenges include an increased likelihood of food deserts with the nearest food pantry or food bank potentially hours away, job opportunities that are more concentrated in low-wage industries, and higher rates of unemployment and underemployment.4

Our partners at HOPE Atlanta, the Atlanta Mission, Open Hand Atlanta, and the Atlanta Community Food Bank are working hard to thwart those statistics and we’re glad we can help by hosting a variety of service projects for our members including food drives, serving as delivery drivers, helping pack and sort food donations, making sandwiches, preparing a meal for a youth shelter, and more. Our current service calendar has 10 projects for this cause area with nearly 100 project dates and times available to members.

Data has shown that in the state of Georgia more than a million children in Georgia do not have consistent access to enough nutritious food. This can have long-term effects on their health and future. Kids who are food insecure are more likely to be held back a grade in elementary school, more than likely to be sick and hospitalized and more likely to have growth and developmental issues.5

Here are a few highlighted upcoming projects for Pebble Tossers members:

Thanksgiving Meal Boxes
InCommunity needs volunteers on Wednesday, November 17th to sort and fill Thanksgiving Meal Boxes for its 43 group homes. The items donated at our food drive on November 6th will be used to fill these boxes. InCommunity provides opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities to participate in meaningful activities within their communities. All volunteers must be at least 8 years old.

S’mores with SafeHouse Outreach
This will be our 9th year providing the S’mores for the Chili Outreach. Pebble Tossers volunteers will make and serve the S’mores and help with the entire event. All supplies are provided and we will be serving and visiting with the community from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday, November 27th. This is a great way to extend your Thanksgiving and is a wonderful family project.

Thanksgiving Love Feeds on November 19th
Love Beyond Walls focuses on raising awareness of the realities and needs of those experiencing lack and vulnerability and using that vehicle as a way of mobilizing people to take part in those stories. Love Beyond Walls is preparing for the Thanksgiving Love Feeds – they will be collecting the following items: turkeys, boxes of cornbread, boxes of mac & cheese, boxes of stuffing, boxes of desserts, and drinks. If you would like to donate any of the items listed below, please click here to sign up with Love Beyond Walls for a time to drop them off at their office

1 HOPE Atlanta
2 Southface
3 Southface
4 Georgia Food Bank Association
5 Georgia Food Bank Association

Benefits of Serving Goes Full Circle

It’s more than just hours: many serve for the smiles. Service equates to smiles! No matter the situation, when you walk into a room, someone smiling at you instantly helps you to feel at ease. That same smile offered to those whom we serve can make their day! When Pebble Tossers volunteered at My Sister’s House, two of the teens shared their experience in serving. They learned that you can do something as small as saying thank you and it can make someone’s day. Being a friendly face makes those in need feel at ease and, in turn, makes volunteers happy seeing them happy. Smiles come from knowing your actions and words helped someone. These smiles start a ripple of smiles and culminate in our tagline:- #startingarippleofgiving

Community service is commonly defined as voluntary work intended to help people in a particular area. However, anyone who participates in community service understands that the benefits are not only one-sided. Serving the community is a mutually beneficial process; those served receive much-needed supplies and resources while those serving develop social and emotional skills that last a lifetime. Developing relationships with those in need teaches compassion, empathy, and brings communities closer. 

Communities enjoy benefits far beyond the financial aspects when youth contribute to service projects. Youth who volunteer just one hour or more a week are 50%  less likely to abuse alcohol, cigarettes, become pregnant, or engage in other destructive behavior. Youth who volunteer are more likely to do well in school, graduate, and vote ( Young people involved in community service are more likely to have a strong work ethic as an adult. When youth volunteer, adults tend to volunteer also, resulting in a lifelong volunteer community ( The community also gains a generation of young people who care about where they live and are willing to make a commitment to improvement. Teens say the benefits received from volunteering are: 

  • learning to respect others;
  • learning to be helpful and kind;
  • learning to understand people who are different;
  • developing leadership skills;
  • becoming more patient;
  • better understanding of citizenship. ( 

Overall, youth volunteerism in their communities is a tremendous win-win situation for the young volunteers, the organizations, and the communities they serve. The benefits are reaped now and in the future. 

More specifically, there are numerous volunteer opportunities that prove just how beneficial these interactions can be. Youth who work with the elderly develop a deeper sense of empathy for a generation they would otherwise be wholly separated from. It is mutually beneficial as the elder feels connected to society and the teen learns more about the past along with nuggets of wisdom. Volunteers learn to respect their elders, and just walking through the door and being present brightens their day immensely. There is so much to be learned whether they are a family member or not; family history, historical world events, life lessons, generational culture, and much more. The transfer of knowledge between these generations provides new perspectives and creates lasting relationships.

Those who volunteer within the education/literacy area are also able to develop an increased sense of empathy. They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes and begin to understand the diversity of childhoods present in their community first-hand. They develop gratitude for the opportunities they had growing up and connect with members of the community they may otherwise have had no communication with. Volunteering with animals is one of the most enjoyable forms of service. Kids love interacting with animals and animals thrive off of their high energy levels. It empowers and inspires individuals to influence their community in a positive way. The experience helps volunteers, especially young individuals, develop empathy and patience. Helping animals in turn gives back to the community as they are able to become stress relief and service animals to interact with individuals in need. The animals also become better socialized and are more likely to be adopted. 

Overall, it is essential to remember that volunteer work benefits both those serving and those being served. Keeping this in mind leaves both groups feeling respected and supported. The skills and developmental assets gained by people who volunteer translates to future benefits for them personally, professionally, and for society. Eighty-one percent of Americans who have volunteer experiences when they are young give to charitable organizations as adults ( Pebble Tossers is honored to play a part in such a special relationship that brings so much joy to communities experiencing hard times. As members of the Pebble Tossers family, we thank you for serving alongside us and inspiring those around you to get involved. It only takes one individual with a smile to inspire a ripple of giving.