Can You Tell Us A Little About Yourself?
I became a full-time volunteer when my kids reached elementary school and I began to serve on the PTO Boards for their schools in Sandy Springs. I had a lot of high-level experience in the Broadway Touring Industry with marketing, management, and promotion that I have been able to use in these volunteer roles. I am currently the PTO President at Sandy Springs Middle and a Board member at North Springs High. Thursday night, March 12, I also started a food pantry through our Sandy Springs Middle PTO at Samad Grill just as the pandemic hit to provide food for the kids when the schools shut down.
How long have you lived or worked in Sandy Springs?
12 years! We moved to Sandy Springs from Baltimore in summer 2008 when my youngest was a newborn. I’m actually from Stone Mountain but was away from Atlanta for 17 years for college at Vanderbilt in Nashville and career in both Nashville and Baltimore before returning to the Atlanta area.
Who are the most interesting people you have met?
Jamal and Lesley Samad – the owners of the Samad Mediterranean Grill in Sandy Springs. They allowed me to put a food pantry in their restaurant which serves families from the North Springs cluster of schools two days a week now. He has essentially donated a quarter of his restaurant space for the pantry setup and refrigerator and freezer space for storage.
What do you love about Sandy Springs?
The people! They are so giving! Customers who are eating at the restaurant often come over to us to donate money. Whole Foods donates surplus food, City Bagel donates bagels, St Dunstan’s parishioners bring us carloads of groceries, B’nai Torah Congregation donates to us every week from the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and many times when I’m in a grocery store parking lot with two carts filled with groceries, a kind stranger will approach me, ask what it’s all for, then just hand me money for the food pantry. Many other people in the school and the surrounding community will shop and drop off food. It is so amazing!
What is something unique about you?
I have weird sleep patterns, noticed by many by emails sent at all times of the night. I don’t sleep much, though when I fall, I go down hard. In truth, I sleep more than everyone thinks I do! Also, I used to be fluent in sign language because of my exposure to deaf and hard of hearing students at Clarkston High School. I wish I still remembered it.
What advice would you give to people?
If you look around and think someone needs to do something about an issue you care about, be that someone. You’ll often find a lot of other “someones” who were waiting for someone to get it started. Our food pantry at Samad is made up of MANY Sandy Springs Middle parents, teachers, and community members from all around the area who pitch in to help every week.
What makes you happy?
Watching my daughter play softball, watching my son on set (he is a local actor), spending any moment with my husband, and seeing my efforts in a community project make a difference for someone else.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Still in Sandy Springs because it is such a close-knit community. We love the diversity of people and of ideas. We have dear friends “on both sides of the aisle,” and we have become part of a very special community that is nowhere close to the big city I thought it was and nowhere close to the “suburban life” I feared it would be. We love our kids’ schools, our neighborhood, the leaders of our city, and the multiple ways to be involved in helping and shaping our town.
.What words come to mind when you think of the word home?
Home is family, community, and togetherness