The mentoring program Girl Talk is among the nonprofits hoping to benefit from Georgia Gives Day on Tuesday, Nov. 28. CONTRIBUTED BY GIRL TALK

Georgia Gives asks us to support nonprofits in our lives

“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”

If you’re truly thankful on Thanksgiving, perhaps you should put your money where your mouth is.

Georgia Gives and Giving Tuesday urge you to do just that, each year, on the Tuesday after Turkey Day.

Giving Tuesday, a national day of sharing, was created five years ago by the 92nd Street Y, right around the same time that Georgians kicked off their own campaign called Georgia Gives Day (or GAgives).

The two ran along parallel tracks until this year, when they decided to join forces.

“Ours was always bigger, but the more we looked at it, the more we thought it would amplify our message if we collaborated,” said Karen Beavor, president and CEO of the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, which founded Georgia Gives.

Georgia Gives Day has raised $15 million since 2012, all of it donated in five short, 24-hour windows.

“It’s a 24-hour flash mob of giving,” said Beavor.

Now on Tuesday, Nov. 28, Georgia has a chance to up its game.

Though there are 3,000 nonprofits that can benefit from donations made to Georgia Gives (at GAgives.org), the website allows those who have a particular concern or a particular region in mind to search for causes in their own backyard.

One of those might be Girl Talk. The mentoring program for teenagers was created by Haley Kilpatrick in Albany, Ga., back in 2002, when she herself was a teenager. It has now spread throughout North America and serves 60,000 girls in 500 chapters. Fifty of those chapters are in Georgia, with 20 in metro Atlanta.

Like many middle school girls, Kilpatrick questioned her own abilities, wondered why she didn’t feel competent, why she felt left out.

“The heart behind Girl Talk was learning that I wasn’t the only one,” said Kilpatrick. “I didn’t learn that until I got to high school.”

Sage advice from a high school girl helped her get through that passage. Then she recognized that she could repay the favor. At age 15, Kilpatrick recruited colleagues to serve as mentors to middle school girls, to help the younger students navigate those rocky years.

Later research revealed that middle school girls are in a tough place — “the perfect storm,” Kilpatrick calls it — when their self-confidence is waning while academic demands increase and social pressures intensify.

When a small group of high school girls is put together with a larger group of middle school girls, both sides benefit. The younger girls get great guidance, and the older girls learn by teaching, she said.

Most younger members of Girl Talk stay on and become mentors when they enter high school.

Kilpatrick, a north Atlanta mother of one girl (with another on the way), said Girl Talk’s goal is to raise $50,000 on Georgia Gives Day.

The group has a promise from the Bell Family Foundation to match all donations up to $50,000, which could mean $100,000 in revenue for the organization.

The Wren’s Nest, the West End house museum that was once the home of Joel Chandler Harris, is also looking for help on Tuesday.

“Our goal is to raise $5,000 for the spring semester Scribes workshop, to help middle school students find their voice through creative writing,” writes Wren’s Nest executive director Melissa Swindell.

All the nonprofits that are part of Georgia Gives Day are registered with the secretary of state and are bona fide 501(c)(3) organizations, said Beavor.

The AJC’s own Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich has made a tradition of creating a drawing for Georgia Gives Day, and this year’s drawing will be among the prizes available to donors.

For more information, go to www.gagives.org/. 

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