By Pearl Hall
I believe in “community service for the people.” I have participated in many activities to reflect my passion for the Athens-Clarke County Community. This includes the following initiatives, but not limited to: created a local group called the Wonderful Ladies of Athens, served as Team Captain for Relay For Life, served as the Interfaith Coordinator with local churches, organized Back to School Supply Drive for all schools, organized Shoe Drive with Athens Alliance (collected over 1000 pair of shoes), volunteered for Ringing of the Bell for Salvation Army, served on LSGT at Classic City, and served as coordinator for the Homeless Shelter.
I also possess the following credentials as a mayoral candidate: attended Morgan State University and received certification in Administrative Law, attended Gainesville State College and received certification in Administrative Procedures, attended Albany State Technical School and received certification in Paralegal Studies and Certification in Supervision and Management II, attended the University of Georgia and received certification in Victim Advocacy, attended Truett McConnell College and received certification in Child Development.
In addition to my educational experiences, I have retired from the Clarke County School district where I served as an administrative assistant and clerk, served as Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Career Coach for ACTION, Inc at Clarke Central High School, served as a Camp Director for the Rocksprings and Jack R. Wells communities through Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services, and currently serve in a part-time capacity with CCSD as a receptionist with different schools.
While at Hilsman Middle School, I was elected Secretary of the Year, and elected Paraprofessional of the Year.
So, what led me to the decision to run for mayor of Athens-Clarke County?
Well, it was a Saturday afternoon, and I was driving down Hancock, watching the many fans lined up on the right side of the street with pom poms in their hands. And as I looked to the left, there was a homeless family that included a single mom and her kids. The little girl longed to go to the other side of the street and participate in all the fanfare. However, her mother pulled her nearer to keep her safe and to keep moving. The slower I drove, the more this situation left an imprint on me. I began to cry, and cry, and cry for the little girl because all she wanted was a chance to go to the other side of the street and participate in the celebration that we often see on UGA game day. As I laid down that night, my spirit just wouldn’t let me rest because I realized that something needed to be done to help those less fortunate. Thus, I decided that night that I could make a difference, if I were to run for Mayor.
So why am I running for mayor? I want to have a positive impact that will help others enjoy a better quality of life. Not just for the homeless, but for all citizens of Athens Clarke County. I want all stakeholders to be a part of the decisions that are made that affect everyone. Most importantly, I want more support for our senior citizens and youths.
I realize that one of the important ways we can help improve the quality of life is to look at pay grades for city workers. There are many departments who are essential to our community. Some areas impacted by the low pay include: city workers such as our leaf and limb pickup services, solid waste and recycling services, transportation and public works for road repairs, (especially roads in low-income neighborhoods), and sewage and drainage services employees. By increasing the pay for these individuals, we can begin to address some poverty issues in Clarke County.
Another emphasis is providing more opportunities for citizens to be informed about the politics of Athens Clarke County. We need to make sure that we use all platforms to inform the community when decisions are being made concerning their neighborhoods. Transparency is the key! Creating forums to expand collaboration amongst ACC and CCSD. This includes our Local School Governance Teams collaborating with City Government Teams.
In addition, it’s important that we address the needs of our senior citizens and youths. We need to ensure the safety of our Senior Citizens so they can go out into our community without feeling fearful. For example, I suggest creating a personal number our seniors can call to ask for extra protection when feeling unsafe when leaving their home. As for our youths, it is important that we create youth activities that will help them choose better alternatives than violence. In other words, we need to find creative and productive ways for our youths to participate in a safe environment that provides opportunities for learning. i.e., activities that promote literacy such as Books and Basketball, or Tennis, or Soccer- combine sports with reading to promote literacy, such as the Citywide Battle of the Books Competition and activities that promote social skills (Teen Bowling Teams and Reinstate Grand Slam).
The last and greatest area of concern is the growing need for creating facilities to address the growing mental health issues among our youths that are 12 and under. State resources are needed to help this age group that are in crisis mode. We can also create facilities that will house children 12 and under for longer periods to assist with mental health, and assists the parents of these children.
I realize that the needs are many, but if Pearl Hall is elected Mayor of City Hall, I will work diligently to address the needs I have highlighted above because as I stated previously, I believe in “community service for the people.”