The Old Fourth Ward, often abbreviated O4W, is a neighborhood on the east side of Atlanta, which is best known as the location of Ebenezer Baptist Church and the Martin Luther King, Jr. historic site. While the O4W has become a symbol of gentrification; the area along Boulevard area has the highest concentration of Section 8 housing in the Southeastern United States. Today, there are currently 1,368 residents who live along the Boulevard corridor in the Village of Bedford Pine subsidized housing community; statistics reveal that 96% of households are headed by unmarried females; 48% are under the age of 18; 87% of the population is under 37 years of age; and 99% of the households have an annual income of below $10,000. In the face of such daunting socioeconomic statistics and without direct intervention programs, youth and adults in the O4W and King Historic District face extraordinary challenges and obstacles to success and self-sufficiency. In January 2012, City Councilman Kwanza Hall revealed the "Year of Boulevard" strategy to revitalize the corridor which includes crime prevention, job training, education reform, economic development and summer youth programs to turn Boulevard into a "living laboratory for innovation," and even a model for other cities. Operation P.E.A.C.E is an integral part of the revitalizing strategy and stands at the forefront when serving the youth in the community.
Founded in 1995 by 33 college students and the Assistant Property Manager at the Village of Bedford Pine, Edna Moffett, Operation P.E.A.C.E. started as a homework club for 20 students and now provides year-round programming that includes an after-school and summer program that serves more than 100 youth annually. Our program goals and objectives are to promote academic achievement through the provision of quality out-of-school time (after-school and summer) programming; assist residents in attaining literacy, vocational or technical skills to help them become self-sufficient; and encourage residents to remain actively involved in the community.
Our programs include:
The After-School Program offers tutoring/homework assistance, arts and crafts, reading, yoga, recreational and academic enrichment activities Monday through Friday from 2:30-6:00 p.m. Daily children are feed a nutritious snack and dinner to ensure no child goes to bed hungry. Our program also provides transportation from local feeder schools (Hope-Hill Elementary, Intown Academy and Inman Middle School) to the after-school program site and home.
The Summer Academy is an extension of the after-school program and is designed as a summer bridge program that incorporates academic excellence with recreational fun. The eight week full-day summer program operates from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Each day participants are required to spend an hour of academic instruction in reading, math and science, they are also exposed to a wide range of experience to include yoga, arts & crafts and theatre. Other summer program offerings include:
- Operation PEACE's Cultural Enrichment Tour (CET) is a four day trip designed to expose inner city at-risk youth to museums, colleges, historical sites, the arts and other cultural experiences. The criteria for participating in the CET are school attendance; model behavior and fulfillment of a five-hour community service requirement for parents. Youth have traveled to: Richmond, VA; Virginia Beach, VA, Raleigh-Durham, NC; Birmingham, AL; Memphis, TN; Myrtle Beach, SC; Albany, GA; Savannah, GA; Thomasville, GA; Jekyll Island, GA; Macon, GA; Tallahassee, FL; Jacksonville, FL; St Augustine, FL; and Charleston, SC.
- NFTE Teen Entrepreneurial Program serves teenagers, ages 13-16 and is a hands-on, experiential methodology that engages young people and helps them improve their academic, business and life skills. Staff is certified by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) to deliver this proven curriculum.
Workforce Development Program is designed to offer Village of Bedford Pine residents one-on-one work readiness coaching prior to referring candidates to be considered for employment or job training opportunities. We currently work with Jamestown Properties/Gay Construction, Atlanta Medical Center and YearUp.