Community leaders meet to network, celebrate ‘Spirit of MLK’ at Riverside EpiCenter

Cobb County Commissioner Lisa Cupid (second from left) speaks with, from left, Paula McPherson, Melissa Jones and Barry Smith. -- photo by Haisten Willis

The Riverside EpiCenter, a community gathering spot affiliated with Bishop Dale C. Bronner’s Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral, was the site of a networking and community engagement event on the eve of MLK Day 2018.

Organized in part by We Thrive in Riverside Renters Association Executive Director Monica Delancy, the gather was attended by representatives from groups like the South Cobb Lions Club, First Christian Church of Mableton, SoCo Fellowship, Amateur Advocate Association, Austell Community Task Force and Keep Cobb Beautiful, and by Cobb County District 4 Commissioner Lisa Cupid.

“This is all about the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said Leroy Tre Hutchins, a community leader with SoCo Fellowship and State of Our Schools. “The groups I’m involved with try to teach families that advocating for our kids has to be intentional, and we work to increase family and parent engagement at area schools. The state of our city is the state of our schools.”

Hutchins is also part of an effort to incorporate Mableton as a city, and will be part of a meeting on that subject which will also be held at the EpiCenter at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18.


Community organizations meet at Riverside EpiCenter — photo by Haisten Willis

Delancy, whose group co-hosted the networking event along with SoCo Fellowship, said she aims to help area residents, many of whom are renters, empower themselves.

“The South Cobb community is a place where a lot of people have moved from other places, it’s not their first home,” said Delancy. “They’ve moved here and set up, and are raising families here, but they usually don’t know about civic organizations outside of their church. We’re hoping people can come here and network, and know they can connect with these other groups.”

Barry Krebs, who is involved both with South Cobb Lions Club and Keep Cobb Beautiful, was on hand to promote some of the cleanup efforts he helps organize, such as adopt-a-mile.

Barry Smith, executive minister with First Christian Church of Mableton, touted some of the efforts of his church, located across the street from Pebblebrook High School. The church has adopted a mile of Old Alabama Road, hosts events where it feeds Pebblebrook students and provides support to area teachers.

Commissioner Lisa Cupid was on hand along with a few of her staff members, and Amateur Advocate Association’s Albert McRae showed up as well to promote his group, which organizes youth sports and festivals.

“I’ve lived in Mableton since 1983 and I’m an alumni of Clay Elementary, Lindley Middle and Pebblebrook High School,” said McRae. “We hang out with Monica and partner with her on a number of events. When it’s time to get together it’s always good to build friendships, build community, get together and coordinate what’s needed for the community.”

First Christian Church of Mableton Executive Minister Barry Smith chats with, from left, Amanda Altena, Breeve McPherson, Mauricio Peraza, Paula McPherson and Melissa Jones — photo by Haisten Willis