The Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) recently hosted the 2010 Celebration of Excellence in honor of the educational achievements of youth in Georgia’s foster care system. More than 1,000 people attended the event at the Rialto Center for the Arts in downtown Atlanta, and Georgia Cancer Specialists (GCS) COO Dr. Wendy Lenz attended on behalf of GCS’s annual Totes 2 Tots suitcase drive for foster children.
“The celebration was truly uplifting and inspiring,” said Dr. Lenz. “Several of the graduates honored had to overcome great obstacles to achieve the feat of graduation, and it was an honor to join community leaders in recognizing this momentous occasion.”
Dr. Lenz presented college graduates from the foster care system with their own sets of luggage in honor of their achievement on behalf of Totes 2 Tots. The bags were purchased by DFCS, an invaluable Totes 2 Tots partner since its inception in 2003.
The star-studded night featured appearances from national and local celebrities, including actress and keynote speaker Victoria Rowell, singer Ne-Yo, Governor Sonny Perdue and First Lady Mary Perdue, and Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux. Celebrity supporters who were not able to attend in person congratulated graduates via video. They included comedian Steve Harvey, Elle Duncan of V-103, and former NFL player Billy “White Shoes” Johnson.
The Celebration of Excellence is held annually. It honors and celebrates the educational achievements of youth in Georgia’s foster care system that have graduated from high school or college. At the 2010 event, several organizations presented students with scholarships, including the Nsoro Education Foundation, the L.E.A.D. Foundation, Tree Sound Studios, School of Sound, Georgia Department of Human Services, Georgia Independent Living Program, Young Lawyers Division of State Bar of Georgia, Interfaith Children’s Movement, Gift for a Child, and Love & Living, Inc.
Launched by GCS in 2003, Totes 2 Tots has collected and distributed more than 22,000 new or nearly new backpacks, suitcases, duffel bags, diaper bags, and other age-appropriate bags to foster children in Georgia, many of whom must shuffle their belongings from home to home in garbage bags during frequent relocations. GCS partners with DFCS to distribute the bags in the counties in which they’re collected.
Georgia Cancer Specialists is the largest private medical oncology/hematology practice in the Southeast and a leader in advanced cancer treatment and research. The practice offers community-based medical oncology and hematology services and is the first private oncology practice to also provide a full range of support services for patients in Georgia, including nutritional counseling, pain management, wellness counseling, and home health coordination. The GCS research department, whose focus is bringing targeted cancer therapy to communities, is the first in Georgia to offer Phase I clinical trials, the most novel cancer therapies available. GCS has 30 offices, 42 physicians, and more than 480 support staff members located in Metro Atlanta, North and Central Georgia, Southeast Tennessee, and Southwest North Carolina, and provides care through approximately 205,000 annual patient visits. Georgia Cancer Specialists can be found on the web at www.gacancer.com. GCS is The Cancer Answer.