The Value of Family

The Value of Family

The Value of Family

Eda Beacham

Importance of Family

At GCO, the impact area of Family, we always need volunteers. Since  we devote much of our time and efforts to family, we enjoy hearing what about family inspires people to volunteer.  

Eda Beacham is a current volunteer for GCO and we wanted to share her story with you.  Let us know in the comments what strength and or similarities you have in common with Eda. We invite you to send in stories about your family, too. 


Eda’s Inspiration

The makeup of my family has changed over time. Through marriage, divorce, birth and death, there has been an ever-changing clan at the Thanksgiving table. The birth of nieces, nephews and our own two sons added to the joy; and the passing of my mom and later, my husband, brought sorrow and some empty chairs. Then the grandchildren came, and they filled the empty spaces with laughter and love. The cycle continues today with this next generation, as it does in most families.


Families are always changing, but what holds them together? For me, it was my mother and her eternal optimism. Her life was not easy, but she always believed things would get better. With a limited education, she worked hard and put all her love and determination into raising a family. She came through the Great Depression and WWII, so she knew how to stretch a dollar and “make do.” She taught us values like hard work and sharing with others. She believed in God and made sure we went to church.


a family playing on the couch

Our family will likely have the greatest impact on our lives and play a critical role as we grow throughout our lifetime. 

Creating strong family bonds and healthy family relationships is key to family wellness, mental stability, and physical health.

Learn more about free tools and resources available in the community to strengthen your relationships. 

Overcoming Circumstances

When my dad left after 27 years of marriage, Mom’s faith took on a new freshness and devotion; and she ventured out in search of where she could be of service. She decided to sell everything and move into a home as cook and housekeeper for a man who had survived a brain tumor, but was left with the mind of an eight-year old. After this gentleman passed away, my mom began to dream about a little piece of land in the country where she could put down new roots and serve.  She found a small tumbledown house on two acres, so she  went to work making it a home. While working full-time in the nearby little town, she hosted home Bible studies, planted big gardens every year, served scrumptious down-home meals to family, friends, or whoever came by, and took in few strays along the way. Even though my mother never made much money, she found a way to help people who were down on their luck – a friend or family member who was out of work and needed a place to live, a relative in prison who received encouragement and hope from her letters, families who needed food or money in a crisis. In what turned out to be my mom’s last year, just shy of 66 years old, she had taken in her first foster child, a young teenage girl. My mother never stopped dreaming; she never stopped giving. And Mom saw her dreams come to life.


A renewed reason to celebrate this Fourth of July

A renewed reason to celebrate this Fourth of July

A renewed reason to celebrate this Fourth of July

This year we celebrated our country and one of its biggest values…family. 

For many the Fourth of July is more than just a celebration of our country’s birth—it is an opportunity to gather with family. An opportunity to connect and celebrate together. It feels like this past year, more than most, this was true as we came out of a period of social distancing and separation. 

While many areas of our state refrained from large gatherings, most people returned to having small gatherings of family and friends. Picnics and backyard get-togethers returned and with them came improved social, mental, and relational health for many of our families and neighbors.

As we have discovered over the past 12-14 months, these previously mundane gatherings with family are much more important to our community and personal mental health than we may have realized. We have taken for granted the value and the connections we need to sustain our lives. And we have had a reawakening to the requisite relationships that ground us and support us through hard times.

It is why family is one of the pillars of the success sequence which models the tangible ways that we can make strides in addressing poverty. It is a recognition of the importance of the role family has in creating stability and support. It is why we must continue to value it and why, I believe, it is directly connected to our national identity.


The Success Sequence provides an outline of how to reverse the cycle of poverty in our communities. 

But celebrating family happens outside of a single holiday (or even a nation). As the summer continues many of us will jubilantly gather and connect. It is as if the past year or so has reset our expectations and even our need to be with those we love.

I have seen many people recently post realizations of how much they missed being together and hugging someone. When it was part of our day-to-day, we just expected it. But since it was deprived from us for so long, we understand the importance of it.

Let us not forget the power of coming together. The strength we gain by being with one another and supporting each other. The power that comes out of family and relationships.


Connecting the Presence of an Honored Father

Connecting the Presence of an Honored Father

Connecting the Presence of an Honored Father

father and baby

Kenneth Braswell of Father’s Incorporated was recently honored on OWN’s Spotlight Celebrating Black Fatherhood. It brought back a positive memory of the dad event (The Dad Factor: Presence) hosted by the Georgia Center for Opportunity, where fathers and father’s to be from all walks of life, gathered in one place to see, hear and connect stories and strategies on being present
We were honored to have Kenneth Braswell as one our profound speakers.  He spoke to the men with humility and boldness about going beyond their profession as a father, the impact of a father’s involvement in his home, and the importance of being a role model to our youth.
Very few women were present at the event and as the coordinator, I was able to stand back and watch the energy in the room come to life when the men began to share their fatherhood stories of tragedy and triumph.
What I witnessed was uplifting and remarkable. It confirmed for me why the work of strengthening families and partnership is extremely important to families flourishing.


“They’re [children with present fathers are] more likely to have high-paying jobs and healthy, stable relationships when they grow up.”.

Dads are not alone and need support

The men in that room, on that specific day, received confirmation from other men in knowing that they were not alone.
At GCO, we know that dads are not alone and need support which is one of the reasons we offer relationship education classes, workshops and resources to dads and families. Research indicates( that when a dad is present and engaged in their child’s life they are less likely to drop out of school or wind up in jail compared to children with absent fathers or male caretakers or role models.
Take a moment to look at the dad crisis absence brochure when fathers aren’t present from The Father Source.
It is great to know that Kenneth Braswell of Fathers Incorporated continues to do the work that helps fathers be
present as fathers and as community leaders.
Call our offices at 770-242-0001 to find out more about our relationship education/training resources.


Still celebrating my father!

Still celebrating my father!

Still celebrating my father!

A celebration of fathers.

Since Father’s Day is upon us, I am sure many of you are thinking about the presence or lack thereof your father in your life.  Hopefully some of you are thinking about the father that you are or want to become. No matter where you land, take it from an adult woman in her 50s that my dad still plays an important role in my life. He has long gone from this world—he passed in July 1997—but he impacts my decisions daily. He was an impact in my dating decisions, in my choice of who I married, and his influence continues to this day to guide me.

I am sure I sound like a daddy’s girl—and for the record I am! No one had a dad more special than mine. My dad was the type of man everyone loved. Whenever you asked him how he was doing, he would yell out “MAGNIFICENT!” I am the youngest of three girls. Everyone knew that I was his favorite. We both were the youngest of our siblings so we had a special bond. It wasn’t that my dad was a huge talker—in fact he was quite low key. However, he taught us a lot by his actions. He was a hard worker, he went to church regularly, and he was an entrepreneur.   He loved Christmas and loved family. It is no coincidence that I married a man that is a lot like him and is also a great dad too!


A family sitting on the floor together




As a root cause for poverty, we knew we had to focus on building healthy families if we wanted to help individuals flourish—and strengthen our communities and state.

A father’s impact cannot be understated

The reason that this is so important is because it speaks volumes about the man when he can still impact his daughter even when she is older. I suppose that remembrance can go both ways: While my dad has a positive impact on me, other women are living out the consequences of their dad not being present in their life. Research tells us that father-absent girls display a host of outcomes including increased sexual promiscuity, higher rates of teen pregnancy, and unhealthy relationships.

As we move into another year of celebrating fathers it is always great to remember the value a healthy relationship with your father can bring. While we know not all people have access to a father like I had, it is still something we can and should strive for. The stability and value of fathers is why we have a day to recognize them. We celebrate the role because we recognize the significance  of it.

This is just another reason why I love working at the Georgia Center for Opportunity. We help those who do not have that foundation. We have workshops that help to give you a baseline of what is really important in life. You can reach us across all social media and maybe you would like to go one step further and let us know how your dad is still influencing your life.  I would love to hear about him! 


Origins of the Georgia Center for Opportunity: Why we choose to focus on healthy families

Origins of the Georgia Center for Opportunity: Why we choose to focus on healthy families

Origins of the Georgia Center for Opportunity: Why we choose to focus on healthy families

As an organization whose mission is to alleviate poverty in communities across Georgia, we are sometimes asked why we choose to focus on healthy families. After all, some of the most contentious flash points in our culture today center on the divergent views Americans hold about the definition of marriage and the role of family in society. 

This is why many groups working on poverty alleviation sidestep the crucial role that family plays as the bedrock of society and instead focus on resolving the presenting symptoms of poverty—as important as they are—rather than the root causes.    

But back in 2005, the Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO) was asked to participate in a healthy marriage initiative. In considering our involvement, we looked at the research on stable, intact, two-parent households and saw that this type of family structure is optimal when looking at a wide variety of social metrics—including poverty alleviation. 

And while there’s no doubt that single parents often do a great job raising children who become highly productive members of society, the data clearly show superior outcomes for children who come from loving, low-conflict, two-parent households—and that this family structure is key to dismantling generational poverty and building thriving communities. 

The bottom line is that while poverty can still be experienced in the context of two-parent households, it’s less likely to happen than in single-parent households. And as a root cause for poverty, we knew we had to focus on building healthy families if we wanted to help individuals flourish—and strengthen our communities and state.  

This is why GCO has invested heavily over the years in programs that offer relationship education to men and women. And this is why we have worked hard to build coalitions of nonprofits, faith groups, and local businesses to go into communities and lovingly address factors that destabilize marriage and family like divorce, out-of-wedlock births, and domestic violence.

The Success Sequence provides an outline of how to reverse the cycle of poverty in our communities. GCO uses this as a framework for much of our work.

Learn more about the impact GCO is making on families within our state. 

To this end—thanks to a federal grant from the Bush Administration—we were able to offer training to help couples overcome barriers and strengthen their relationships. Through this healthy marriage initiative, we certified 1,000 trainers to go out into their communities and teach more than 5,000 couples how to improve the quality of their relationship and stabilize their families.  

Today, GCO continues to move forward with a holistic and comprehensive solution to poverty that takes aim at its root cause—family instability. And while we continue to offer relationship education, we have expanded our focus beyond romantic relations with our Healthy @ series that works with churches, schools and businesses to examine healthy relationships in other areas of life, including education and work. 

Our goal at GCO has always been to remove barriers to human flourishing. And as we know through the PERMA model that an underlying barrier to overcoming poverty is improving the quality of relationships. 

By focusing on healthy families, GCO helps people recognize and regulate their emotions, learn how to effectively communicate with family members, identify unhealthy behaviors and relationships, and establish appropriate boundaries. More than anything else, learning these skills changes the trajectory of individual lives. And this is how generational poverty is defeated and communities are transformed—one life at a time.