We Are Breaking the Cycle of Poverty








We are dedicated to our innovative approach to break the poverty cycle by focusing our efforts on individuals who are motivated to improve their lives and attain not just self-sufficiency, but long-term sustainability through education. ACTION partners with the community, service agencies, businesses and schools /colleges to participate in the success of changing lives. This is not a quick fix, but possible through education and training.       

Each program has dedicated Career Coaches who partner with the students as both a personal mentor and academic adviser to ensure they not only stay on track, but have someone who cares to give that extra push and help to build their confidence. The Career Coaches work with participants to conduct initial in-depth interviews and counseling to help identify strengths, weaknesses and life goals. We assist in developing detailed Education-Based Action Plans to reach short– and long-term goals, ultimately leading to high demand careers with upward mobility and commensurate wages. 

Each program provides:

  • Follow-up and support on at least a bi-weekly basis by a dedicated Career Coach/Mentor to discuss participants’ progress, any current life occurrences and next steps
  • Testing and counseling to identify personal and career choices
  • As determined, short– and/or longer-term assistance with educational costs and supportive services during their educational pursuits 
  • Comprehensive Employment and Life Skills training 
  • Ongoing budget, financial, rental and housing counseling
  • Tutors for educational assistance
  • Career-based guidance with short-term work experience opportunities.




Achieving Career Excellence, A.C.E., focuses on Special Populations including ex-offenders, veterans, seniors, SNAP recipients and individuals recovering from substance abuse. Participants must be focused on and committed to improving their futures by completing their GED and achieving a Certificate in a high demand fields offered through the local Technical Colleges.

To provide the very best opportunities for success to our participants, ACTION has partnered and collaborates with:

  • Probate Court
  • Athens Diversion Center
  • Jackson County Correctional  Institution
  • Newton County Sheriff's Office / Newton County Jail & Detention Center
  • The Potter’s House
  • Georgia Piedmont Technical College
  • Lanier Technical College
  • Athens Technical College

If you are committed to literally changing your life, then you may qualify for A.C.E.!


  • Academic and Career Assessment /Advising
  • Counseling Services
  • One-on-One and Small Group Mentoring
  • Dedicated Career Coaching
  • Financial Planning
  • Essential Employment / Life Skills Training
  • Tuition and Educational Assistance
  • GED and Certificate / Diploma Instruction
  • Academic Supportive Assistance which may include:
    • Transportation
    • Childcare
    • Testing fees
    • Tutoring services
    • Tuition, textbooks, and supplies
  • Shared Counsel between ACE partners
  • Continued Support for 12 months after completion


Participants will have an opportunity to achieve their GED. Even more exciting, the ability to continue with education-based training  opportunities in these High Demand Career Tracks are offered: 

  • Commercial Truck Driving / CDL
  • Forklift Operation
  • Manufacturing Technology 
  • Industrial Systems Technology 
  • Welding / Joining Technology
  • HVAC 
  • Ammonia Refrigeration
  • Automotive Technology
  • Engineering Technology
  • Mechatronics
  • Other Approved Training Courses


The High School Youth Program Serves individuals in Athens-Clarke, Barrow, Elbert, Greene, Jackson, Jasper, Madison, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe and Walton Counties

The High School Youth Program provides individualized case management services to high school youth identified as having a high drop-out risk. Our staff works side-by-side with each participant to ensure that each has the appropriate necessary supportive services to graduate from high school, while also promoting career and/or training opportunities to continue their educational path to College, Technical School, or to successfully enter the military or workforce. Each of the youth enrolled is assigned a Case Manager that meets with him/her on at least a monthly basis to provide counseling and other services within the program’s Fourteen Elements. As funding allows, each participant is also provided additional development opportunities to further enhance their future success.

The Fourteen Elements


Made possible with funding through the Regional Commission /  Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the High School Youth Program provides each participant with 14 elements of service: 

  • Tutoring, study skills and instruction
  • Alternative secondary school or dropout recovery services, as appropriate
  • Paid and unpaid work opportunities: summer, pre-apprenticeship, internships/job shadowing, and on-the-job training
  • Occupational skills training
  • Education offered concurrently with workforce preparation
  • Leadership development opportunities
  • Supportive services, such as financial assistance, as appropriate and approved
  • Adult Mentoring
  • Preparatory Activities leading to post-secondary education and training 
  • Follow-up for a minimum of 10 months
  • Comprehensive guidance and counseling
  • Financial literacy education
  • Entrepreneurial skills training
  • Services that provide labor market and employment information.


In order to be accepted and enroll in the High School Youth Program, each participant must be:

  • Enrolled in high school and on track towards graduation
  • Meet eligibility criteria which includes income guidelines
  • Must be committed to completing an educational program and participating in monthly activities
  • Must be committed to entering post- secondary education, which includes enrolling in Technical School or a College / University upon graduation 
  • OR Upon graduation, must be committed to entering the military or workforce.



Our newest program, Opportunities to Excel!, focuses on expanding our High School Youth Program.  Our Career Coach partners to transition students from High School and into College or Technical College.  Our goal is to help each student to realize their potential and achieve success by graduating from high school, continuing on to and graduating from College or Technical College, and ultimately succeed in a career offering future progression and sustainable earnings.

ACTION's dedicated Career Coach first begins by receiving recommendations from students' high school Career Coaches / Advisors while students are in their junior year.  Our Career Coach then meets with each candidate and his/her parent or guardian to assess financial eligibility, program eligibility and commitment to achieving the goal of graduating from College or Technical College.  At the point of forming a success-based partnership, our Career Coach works on-on-one with each student  throughout their senior year to transition them  successfully into College or Technical School and, following the  transition phase, continues partnering  throughout the participant's post-secondary education to help ensure success.  

ACTION also works with Foothills Charter Schools and other collaborative partnerships to identify students who have demonstrated success and commitment to achieving their high school diploma.  

Our Career Coach provides:

  • Intensive Case Management
  • One-on-One Mentoring
  • Academic and Career Coaching
  • Career Assessment to help identify careers most suited for their future
  • Helping to Identify and assist with obtaining qualified support while in the program
  • Financial and other supportive services as identified and as available 
  • Life Skills, Budget and  Financial Coaching
  • Interactive Support

Who Are Our Participants?

Our primary participants are recommended by Career Coaches and Advisors from the high schools in our ten-county service area, along with students from Foothills Charter Schools and other collaborative partnerships.  Each student must be income eligible and committed to successfully graduating from College or Technical College.  Additionally, each student must agree to:

  • Communicate with the Career Coach / Mentor on an agreed-upon schedule
  • Submit all grades and progress evaluations as earned
  • Submit official transcripts
  • Participate in tutoring as determined by the Career Coach / Mentor
  • Community Service / Volunteer Opportunities as arranged by Career Coach/ Mentor 
  • Abide by a financial academic plan


The Educational Reentry Program Serves individuals in Barrow and Jackson Counties

The Educational Reentry Program provides case management services to youth who have dropped out of high school, and will enroll in Lanier Technical College to achieve their GEDs and  enter certification programs in high demand career fields which offer sustainable wages. Participants may also choose to pursue certificate and diploma programs offered by other area Technical Colleges, NHMI and other approved programs of study in order to successfully enter the workforce. We help our participants access training, employment, education, and support services to succeed in the labor market and provide competitive skills to compete in a global economy.

By matching a dedicated Career Coach to work one-on-one with each student, we provide a comprehensive support system to help them to  realize their greatest potential.  By participating in this program, students receive:

  • Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling
  • Adult Mentoring
  • Work Readiness, Life/ Soft Skills, and Financial Literacy Training
  • Work Experience and Internship Opportunities
  • Supportive Services as eligible, including Childcare Assistance and Gas Allowance
  • Career Counseling and Assessment




One Opportunities in ACTION program, Opportunities Now, is committed to helping individuals make strategic long- term life changes. We have dedicated an entire department, focused activities and \ objectives, and are working with schools / colleges, businesses and other agencies to participate in the success of changing lives. This is not a quick fix and is accomplished by providing intensive case management, essential employment and life skills training, mentoring and hands-on involvement by a committed Career Coach and staff.

Who becomes a part of Opportunities Now?

Someone who is committed to entering and completing an educational track including: 

  • High School 
  • GED
  • Technical School 
  • Certificate Program
  • Technical School 
  • Diploma Program
  • Community  College
  • College/University


The staff of our Opportunities Now program are dedicated to partnering with participants to identify their educational and professional goals, and then work step- by-step to map out a plan of action that will lead to a successful outcome. 

We are committed to:

  • Intensive Case Management
  • One-on-One Mentoring
  • Academic and Career Coaching
  • Career Assessment to help identify careers most suited for their future
  • Identifying and assisting with obtaining qualified support while in the program 
  • Life Skills Training and Financial Workshops which includes Financial Counseling and Credit Repair

What is Required?

Individuals interested or referred to this program must be income eligible. The first step involves completion of the application process and, if selected, to continue the screening process by participating in an interview to determine overall commitment and need for optimal success. Participants must sign a contract agreeing to:

  • Attend Life Skills courses
  • Communicate bi-weekly with the Career Coach / Mentor
  • Submit all grades and progress evaluations as earned
  • Submit official transcripts
  • Participate in tutoring as determined by the Career Coach / Mentor
  • Community Service / Volunteer Opportunities as arranged by Career Coach/ Mentor 
  • Abide by a financial academic plan

Our Program Principals

  • Goal Setting & Strategic Thinking 
  • Accountability
  • Responsibility 
  •  Financial Literacy
  • Professional Development 
  • Asset Building
  • Development of Life Skills

our community-based programs





community services


ACTION provides services that lend a helping hand. Each county has a dedicated staff member who is available to help those who have experienced an unforeseen hardship in their lives or are in need of employment support. We assess both the need and the solution to getting them past the current situation, which may seem too insurmountable to focus on long-range goals. Our services may include help with rent, energy and mortgage expenses, or essential employment supplies. 

We work with individuals to help them through an immediate ‘crisis’ situation that has caused them to become behind in their bills. In order to encourage financial sustainability, along with independence and responsibility, we have measures in place requiring individuals to: 

  • Have experienced a financial crisis / hardship through no fault of their own that has caused them to become behind on their financial obligations. Examples include:
    • Being laid off from work
    • Experienced an unforeseen medical expense
    • Their husband / wife / significant other left the home
  • They must be able to show their ability to pay their bills and remain current within two months following receiving financial assistance
  • We are able to assist with rent, mortgage and energy bills for no more than a 30-day period.
  • The hardship has to have occurred within 60 days of the individual coming to ACTION to seek help
  • Our financial assistance is limited to 50% or a maximum of $100 of the past-due amount 
  • Individuals may only receive assistance one time in a 24-month period
  • The individual is required to complete a full application and provide documentation about themselves, their hardship and monthly financial obligations. 
  • We also provide REFERRALS to every individual who seeks assistance as other partnership agencies may also be able to provide assistance and guidance.



The Full Plate Program is the only food rescue and redistribution program in Northeast Georgia. 

For over 20 years, Full Plate has reduced the food budgets of our partner meal-service sites by over 33%. Our service translates into real monetary savings to these agencies, allowing them to focus their staff, financial resources and programs on providing the best services those in the most need.

With a staff of only two, Full Plate picks up excess prepared and perishable food from commercial kitchens, restaurants and grocery stores in Athens-Clarke, Barrow, Jackson, Oconee and Walton Counties. The food is then quickly delivered to agencies dedicated to serving the low income, abused, and homeless. 

Each and every week, our two staff members are able to touch over 700 individuals and enhance the services they receive from our partnership organizations! 



  • Starbucks 
  • Longhorns
  • The University of Georgia
  • Outback 
  • Carrabbas 
  • Chipotle
  • Golden Pantry 
  • Red Lobster
  • Pizza Hut 
  • Krispy Kreme
  • KFC  
  • Chick-Fil-A
  • Cheddars Au Bon Pain
  • Olive Garden Red Lobster
  • The Classic Center
  • Epting Events Catering & Design
  • Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority
  • Chi Omega Sorority


The Full Plate Program partners with human service agencies serving a diverse population, including at-risk children and youth, domestic violence survivors, those recovering from addiction, and the homeless. 

In calendar year 2017 alone, Full Plate delivered over 161,562 pounds of food to provider agencies that resulted in a $269,809 cost savings to the partnerships.   With a staff of only two, ACTION touches over 700 lives on a weekly basis.

Some of our partnership agencies to which we deliver include:

  • Salvation Army   
  • Our Daily Bread
  • Project Safe  
  • Peace Place
  • Boys & Girls Clubs   
  • Project Adam
  • Cornerstone Church  
  • Bigger Vision
  • The Palm House   
  • Potter’s House
  • Lanier Gardens 
  • Foothills Charter Schools
  • Athens Area Homeless Shelter
  • Area County Senior Centers
  • The Sparrow’s Nest
  • N. E. Georgia Veterans Homeless Shelter



As a HUD Certified agency, our housing counselor is experienced with services including foreclosure prevention, rental counseling, homebuyer assistance, homeless counseling and home maintenance education. We also provide individual and group counseling and workshops on issues including budgeting, credit repair, and home maintenance. We are committed to educating every individual in financial literacy and being money smart!


Our Comprehensive Housing Counseling Program provides services completely free of charge. 


Our dedicated Housing Counselors offer one-on-one counseling sessions and group education workshops on several topics which include:

  • Pre-Purchase Home Buying Readiness and preparation for home ownership
  • Fair housing education
  • Budgeting and credit counseling
  • Loan product and feature comparison
  • Purchase procedures and closing costs
  • Home maintenance
  • Home inspections
  • Alternative sources of mortgage options
  • Down payment assistance programs
  • Money management
  • Foreclosure Prevention / Resolving or Preventing Mortgage Delinquency or Default 
  • Restructuring Debt
  • Managing household finances
  • Reestablishing reinstatement plans
  • Seeking loan modifications/forbearance

Our focus is to assist clients affected by predatory lending, and/or who are pursuing loss mitigation strategies. For clients facing foreclosure, our counselors will be actively involved in direct negotiation with the lender with the goal of preventing foreclosure.



Serving Athens-Clarke, Barrow, Dekalb, Elbert, Greene, Gwinnett, Jackson, Madison, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Rockdale and Walton Counties

ACTION’s main goal is to assist both individuals and families in their efforts to maintain safe, energy efficient housing.   The services ACTION’s Housing Department provides include Weatherization Assistance,   Emergency Home Repair and Housing Preservation. 

Our staff completes an on-site energy and safety audit of each home to determine the scope of work and most cost effective measures to give the highest return.

By achieving greater energy efficiency in the home, owners are able to realize real monetary savings in their energy bills, resulting in cost savings in their already-limited budgets.


The Purpose of the Weatherization Program is to increase the energy efficiency and safety of the home.  Energy Conservation services may include:

  • Wall Insulation
  • Attic Insulation
  • Foundation Insulation
  • Air Leakage Reduction
  • Caulking
  • Weather stripping of leaky doors
  • Window Repair
  • Other minor repairs
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
  • Furnace & Hot Water Heater Repair or Replacement


  • Call the ACTION office in your county of residence to schedule an appointment to complete a Weatherization Program application.
  • The contact number for each county is located in this website under Contact Us
  • If you are income eligible and your home has not been weatherized since 1994, our staff will call to schedule an inspection of your home.
  • Once the inspection has been finalized, if your home is determined to be eligible based on your weatherization needs, a Weatherization contractor will schedule the work to be performed. 
  • Upon completion, a post-inspector will schedule an inspection of your home to evaluate the weatherization measures installed and to make sure you are satisfied with the work performed.






This is an area that is very important to us.  At one time, most of our departments operated very separately.  We are now dedicated to operating as a true team and ensuring that we are focusing on an integrated, holistic approach to our services. 

By working to touch multi-generations of families as well as transitioning individuals from one program to another, individuals are much better equipped to not only help themselves, but to move their lives forward beyond self-sufficiency, to true sustainability. 

An example of INTEGRATING SERVICES occurred when our Housing Counselor, when working with an individual to help prevent foreclosure, broadened the conversation to include their educational and career goals.  Our Counselor connected the client with one of our Opportunities Now Career Coaches to further pursue enrollment into a technical school diploma program.  

Another example is with our High Youth Program.  As our High School Youth successfully graduate, their need for mentored support does not necessarily end. For these youth, they are able to continue with our support through our Opportunities Now program. An example of this is Felisa, a young woman who originally began in our High School Youth program.  A couple of years after graduation, she called us and, through the continued Mentoring, Coaching, Support and other services offered such as tutoring through Opportunities Now, she has graduated from college with her B.S.N. and is successfully employed!





Mayor Kelly Girtz

Athens-Clarke County

Commissioner Isaiah Berry

Barrow County

Commission Chairman Tommy Lyon

Elbert County

Commissioner Gary Usry

Greene County

Commissioner Kevin Poe

Jackson County

Commissioner John Scarborough

Madison County

Commissioner Donald Harris

Morgan County

Commission Chairman John Daniell

Oconee County

District Commissioner Tracy Norman

Oglethorpe County

Commissioner Kirklyn Dixon

Walton County



Tommy Lyon, Chairman

Melvin Davis, Vice Chairman

Kim Mattox, Secretary

Ricky Cosby, Treasurer


Trevor Jones

Athens-Clarke County

Open Position

Barrow County

Mary Clark

Elbert County

Ricky Cosby

Greene County

Linda Foster

Jackson County

Open Position

Madison County

Velde Hardy

Morgan County

Delena Brockmann

Oconee County

Jody Zeuke

Oglethorpe County

Dessa Morris

Walton County



Kim Mattox 

Athens-Clarke County

Eugene Thomas 

Barrow County

Doyle Thornton 

Elbert County

Leroy Crawford 

Greene County

Lila Mason 

Jackson County

Paul Boykin

Madison County

Sylvia Milling 

Morgan County

Melvin Davis

Oconee County

Kirrena Gallagher

Oglethorpe County

Dena Huff 

Walton County


Athens-Clarke, Barrow, Elbert, Greene, Jackson, Madison, Morgan, Oconee, Oglethorpe and Walton Counties

The High School Youth Program also serves Jasper and Newton

Weatherization also serves Dekalb, Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale