Do Well

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When Whitney Jaye moved from Virginia-Highland (an area so into fitness that, she says, “you might get run over by a group of runners anytime you’re walking down the sidewalk”) to West End, she was shocked by the lack of health resources near her new home. “It is night and day in terms of how engrained fitness, wellness, and health are in the community,” she says. “And it’s odd to me because here in West End, we have a high concentration of urban farms and community gardens, four vegan restaurants, and a general awareness of health and wellness, but no access to group fitness instruction or food literacy and education.” Jaye was inspired to fill that void and the idea for Westside Fit Club was born. This Saturday, that idea finally becomes reality as the organization hosts its official kickoff event. Fit Club’s mission and plan >>

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Today’s kids are less physically active than previous generations. They’re more likely to be overweight and are at higher risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and cardiovascular disease. One Atlanta mom has made it her business to do something about that by creating Cardio Kool Kids, an innovative (and fun!) fitness and hip-hop program for kids ages 3 to 12. We got in the exercise zone with CKK founder and ACE-certified fitness instructor Amy Head for this week’s Friday Five.

A tricky way to get kids to do chores and eat their veggies >>

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Beekeeping. Canning. Blacksmithing. Maybe you don’t aspire a Little House on the Prairie lifestyle, but there’s something to be said for embracing the heritage skills that kept our grandparents alive. The Homestead Atlanta teaches a sustainable approach to life through hands-on educational workshops on a wide range of subjects. No, you probably won’t quit your day job to make horseshoes, but you just might reconnect with the sense of pride that comes from making something with your own two hands. Want to know more? Bust out the butter churn for this week’s Friday Five with resident aspiring homesteader Kimberly Coburn, Founder and Executive Director of The Homestead Atlanta. Wanna learn some wood carving skills? Sure, you do! >>

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Urban Perform might look like your run-of-the-mill gym on the inside: Treadmills, free weights, that encouraging spin class instructor pumping up her students. But look a little closer and you’ll find it’s actually a nonprofit, bringing equipment and instruction to the under-served residents of English Avenue, Vine City, and Washington Park neighborhoods. Urban Perform’s Founder and Executive Director Laura Pritchard-Compton tells us more in this week’s Friday Five.  Eliminating fitness deserts and inspiring families… >>

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During this past year, our family has worked hard to nail down five values that would help us develop a family mission statement — values that would lead us in decision-making and character-building — and one of those values is gratitude. Since most of us will be sitting around a feast-filled table to celebrate gratitude tomorrow, I wanted to share some fun, family-friendly ways to explore gratitude. Practice thankfulness all year long. >>

Farmers Market
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Ah, the farmers market… the Saturday morning ritual that brings together early-risers, sipping coffee while perusing a bounty of fresh, bright produce, and friendly farmers, carefully placing the weighed selections into reusable grocery bags (that is, if you remembered to bring them this time). Sure, it seems idyllic. But if you’re on a tight food budget, it could also look expensive, even intimidating. Wholesome Wave Georgia is working change that perception by improving access to nourishing, locally grown food for our state’s SNAP recipients — all while supporting the farmers. WellATL had to hear more, so we caught up with WWG’s Executive Director Sara Berney for this week’s Friday Five. Here’s how WWG is bringing healthy, fresh food to more Atlantans.>>

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Every year, Georgia Gives Day raises money for good causes throughout the state. The initiative, created by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, encourages those whose lives have been touched by nonprofits (that’s pretty much everybody if you think about it) to donate to the cause of their choice. As of this writing, more than $1.7 million has been raised today for causes. Not sure which organization to donate to? The Georgia Gives website can help you choose, just click on the kind of cause you’d like to support. There are options relating to the arts, animals, kids, economic development, the environment, religion, disaster relief, homelessness, education, health, human rights, science and technology, and more. Find your favorite nonprofit and spread the love! What cause are you supporting today?

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The blow-up Santa in the middle Target has alerted me that the holiday season is officially upon us, and our family calendar shows that it’s certainly not difficult to find things to do together. We’ve got Snow Mountain, pictures with Santa, holiday shopping, and delicious feasts on the docket, and those are all very fun (at least until someone tips a glass ornament display), but they’re all about us. In order for us to turn our focus outward — to see what we have to give rather than get — I’ve been looking for some family-friendly ways to give back.

Here’s what I’ve found >>

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The word “tennis” can conjure up images of ladies in starched whites playing doubles at the country club, but The Atlanta Youth Tennis and Education Foundation is out to prove that tennis is for everyone, especially the kids of our city. By partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs, public schools, and City of Atlanta Parks and Recreation, this nonprofit not only teaches the game but also life skills. WellATL serves up this week’s Friday Five to Cee Jai Jones, Director of Community Outreach and Programs for AYTEF. Tips for your swing, the best courts in the city, and more. >>