Located in the mountain town of Ellijay, Gracie Barra Ellijay offers Brazilian Jiu-jitsu classes to students of all ages and sizes. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is not only a fantastic workout, it is also packed full of strategy and techniques that help students sharpen their minds and develop discipline. Students are continually exposed to situations on the mat that develop character and resilience, as they navigate both victories and disappointments. Our students are well versed in the idea that self improvement is a lifelong journey, and our instructors and staff are dedicated to creating an encouraging and friendly learning environment for the journey. Known as the”gentle art”, jiujitsu has been designed to be practiced by students of any size or age.
A case in point, one of our most dedicated students, Braelyn Nelson, started practicing with us at the age of 4. His first instructors were Professor Daniel, and Coach Justin (who is now our head instructor). Now 11, Braelyn is a force to be reckoned with. He is both an experienced competitor and a helpful training partner for his fellow students. He takes his jiujitsu journey very seriously and meets challenges with enthusiasm.
In his spare time, Braelyn meets with other students for extra training. His goals in life revolve around his training and love of jiujitsu- he intends to earn his black belt at an early age, to own his own school, and to become an MMA fighter.
Braelyn states that although he sees each class as an accomplishment, one of his favorite Jiu-jitsu moments was reaching a major goal: winning his first pro-fight in 2019 via arm bar in 12 seconds.
Braelyn’s 1st belt test. Everything in town was closed due to the snow but a few dedicated students and instructors were determined to conduct the test and afterwards, a snow ball fight.
Fun fact: Braelyn felt honored to actually meet and train with Professor Rolles Gracie. Professor Rolles and Braelyn still keep in contact via Instagram. They video chat with each other.
He says that what he likes most about Gracie Barra is meeting new people and making friends. Now they are his family too.
Two of Braelyn’s biggest influences in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu are Professor Fabio Costa, our regional director, and Professor Marcia Carvalho, who manages Head Quarters.
You can never be too young to begin training in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, as illustrated by Braelyn’s early start. Some of our other students can also confidently state that you can never be too old! It’s a beautiful truth about this wonderful sport. Braeyln states that Jiu-jitsu has taught him discipline, respect, and determination. We can all stand behind, (and benefit!) from that.
Terra Pearson, Program Director, Gracie Barra Ellijay
North Georgia Wildlife Park is excited to announce the launch of Kids Animal Academy! This class will meet at the Wildlife Park on Thursdays, beginning October 8th. Kids in 1st-5th grades are invited, although if enough younger or older kids are interested, the park may open other classes. The class will be limited to 10 participants.
Kids will learn about a variety of animals, with a different animal(s) featured each week. This will be very hands-on for the participants and will include a wide assortment of both native and exotic animals. They will also learn valuable lessons about the importance of conservation issues. These classes will be led by professional animal educators from the Wildlife Park.
Kids can sign up for one-hour or two-hour classes. One-hour classes will meet 4:00pm-5:00pm or 5:00pm-6:00pm. Two-hour classes will meet 4:00pm-6:00pm. The topic will be same both hours, but the content will be different each hour. (The 4:00 class will begin the weekly topic/animal, and the 5:00 class will continue with more about that topic/animal.) One-hour classes cost $120/month for four classes/month, and two-hour classes cost $160/month for four classes/month.
A great way to learn more about Kids Animal Academy is to attend our “Animal Academy Open House” on Thursday, October 1, 4:30pm-5:30pm. Academy staff will do a short “demo” of what classes will include, plus answer all of your questions. You can make reservations for the Open House at https://www.northgeorgiazoo.com/kids-animal-academy.html
DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. – Firefighters are known for saving lives. Tomorrow they hope to save what would – under normal circumstances – be the community Easter Egg hunt and to put smiles on the faces of children all across the county.
When Emergency Services Director Danny Thompson learned the annual event was being cancelled due to the COVID-19 epidemic, he and his staff went to work to see what they could do bring a little joy back into the community.
Working with Kids Are Really Equal and the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, they came up with a plan for an Easter Egg Toss. The event will take place tomorrow (Apr. 11) From 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., firefighters wearing personal protective gear and mounted on fire trucks will toss Easter Egg bags in many Dawson County neighborhoods.
“I kept hearing how different Easter would be this year with no community Easter Egg hunt,” Thompson said. “So I got with staff on and we talked about what we could do to put something positive back into the community.”
Thompson added that this all came together in the last two days. “We first met on Wednesday and we got the circular out on Thursday,” he said.
It would be impossible for firefighters to go into every Dawson County community due to the limited number of fire trucks so, in addition to the neighborhoods they will visit, they selected two alternative sites where families can go to receive their Easter Egg bags.
Firefighters will visit the following neighborhoods at the stated times:
10 a.m. — Rainhall, Mensie Park, Biscayne, Deer Run and Bethany Trace.
11 a.m. — Redhawk, Oakmont, Highland Point, Amicalola Chase and Dawson Junction.
12 noon — Dawson Forest Apartments, Oak Forest and Blacksmill.
Families with children who do not live in neighborhoods can participate by visiting Fausett Farms (11336 Hwy. 136 West) or Fire Station 1 (393 Memory Lane) between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. All participants must remain in their vehicles.
While some may question the risk factor, Thompson said it is no different to picking up food at a drive through and it will give families something to smile about for a change.
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“We hope this will get people asking questions,” said Lea Santom, Region 1 prevention coordinator for the center. She said abuse crosses socioeconomic and racial boundaries and people need to know that the mantra “stranger danger” doesn’t apply to most abuse cases.
“The people you think couldn’t be doing that, might be the ones doing it,” she said.
Turning social media blue will hopefully get people asking questions, she said.
This is important because people don’t want “to think about it because it’s ugly and awful,” said Santom. “They don’t want to think about it happening to their child.”
What they are turning April blue
Since all events had to be cancelled, at least in-person events, Santom said the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy has been getting creative.
They are hosting “Prevention Palooza” on their Facebook page, where they post tips on recognizing abuse and what to do. They will post tips daily through April.
The famous pinwheel gardens that often pop up in communities during April will now sprout online. GCCA will be posting directions on how to make pinwheels and are encouraging families to snap a picture and post it on their Facebook page. Look for details on April 15.
They have already hosted a flag raising ceremony to commemorate children who died as a result of abuse.
Starting next week, Santom said they will be posting interviews with various people involved in the process of investigating cases like social workers and forensic interviewers.
“It’s not just about abuse, it’s prevention and education,” she said.
Why it’s important
“Reports are way down in Georgia,” said Santom. “It’s not because the abuse isn’t happening, it’s because it’s not being reported.”
Schools closed in March, in an effort to stem the rise of COVID-19, along with other child-service agencies like Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, and other venues with mandated reporters.
“Most abuse is reported by the schools, followed by other service organizations,” said Santom. “Those are the safety nets.”
To off-set this, Santom said they are using the means they have available at the moment — bus drivers.
Many bus drivers in Georgia have been delivering food to children while the schools are shut down, making them the only mandated reporter to be in contact with children, even if it’s only for literally a minute or two.
“Gordon County and some others have really taken off with this,” said Santom, saying they have gotten the criteria of what to look for to eight main things.
According to Georgia State University, in 2017, the latest year available, 122,752 reports were received by child protective services in Georgia with 10,487 substantiated cases, including 97 fatalities. Georgia ranks 38th in the nation for child well-being.
“It is estimated that 1-in-10 children experience sexual abuse by their 18th birthday,” said Santom. “Those are reported cases only. The number of unreported is much higher.”
Santom said they have had success in educating people about the signs of sexual abuse because so often, abuse doesn’t cover one type of abuse and 90-percent of sexual abuse is a 1-on-1 incident.
“If we target those, we are actually eliminating more abuse than just sexual,” she said.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Many of Towns County’s most vulnerable residents, its senior citizens, are facing an added burden from the COVID-19 outbreak; loneliness. Brasstown Manor Retirement Community in Hiawassee closed its doors to visitors March 16, and the facility is requesting mail from the community to brighten its residents’ days during this difficult time. With students on leave from on-campus school, the gesture could provide a creative and meaningful exchange for children as well.
“Why not write letters/draw cards for the elderly communities that are not able to see their loved ones during this difficult time,” Marketing Director of Brasstown Manor asked. “With that being said, the staff of Brasstown Manor will be accepting any letters/cards that children (or adults) would like to send! Feel free to drop them by the front door or you can mail them to the following address:
Attention Hannah Allen
108 Church Street
Hiawassee, GA 30546
“We would absolutely love to see the smiles that cross their faces and we will even post pictures of their reactions,” Allen said. “Let’s spread some joy and love during this extremely trying time.”
Do you know of good things happening in Towns County? Email [email protected]
UNION COUNTY, Ga – As a precaution against COVID-19, children across Union County, and much of North Georgia, are home for the week and potentially even longer. For parents or guardians looking for ways to keep their children entertained, the community is offering some options.
Those individuals responsible for children are advised to create a schedule in order to make the transition easier. However, don’t feel pressured to stick to do. Students obviously need to complete their COLD packets for the week, but structure will assist in keeping children on-track and focused.
Also, a child’s COLD packet might not take up an entire day, so it’s good to have options ready for that possibility.
Of course, it’s also important to keep children physically active when possible, if the day is nice, make time to play in the yard or create an activity space in the house.
Crafting is another way to keep children entertained if parents, guardians, or babysitters have the materials readily available.
As equally important is alone time, if everyone is stuck at home, it could quickly devolve into fight night. To prevent that from happening, try to schedule a time for everyone to separate for an hour or two. This way children and parents or guardians can entertain themselves in the manner they see fit.
Some additional online learning options are available outschool.com covers a wide range of topics and brainpop.com focuses on STEM courses. Scholastic is also offering 20 days of free learning courses for children.
Storyline Online is a free literacy program where celebrities read to K-5 children and associated activities.
Blairsville Dance is offering online streaming classes to their students and opening several to the community for free. Children two and up can sign up, just follow the link.
The Art Department Studio is offering an in-person art camp for children from 9 to 13 for $35 per day from March 16 to 20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The businesses said a 10 a.m. drop off is fine and an early pick-up with prior notification. Parents or guardians are asked to send children with lunch, snacks, and drinks and to not enroll a child who is feeling sick.
“We have soap and water and kids will be washing hands regularly, but feel free to send them with hand sanitizer if you wish. Also, we must be notified of any allergies. A parent/guardian will be requested to read/fill out/sign a form with your information. For info or to sign up, call the studio at (706)225-9713 or stop by! We are in Victoria’s plaza by the movie theatre/bowling alley. Thank you and stay healthy!” – The Art Department
Fetch Your News will continue to update this article with more opportunities as they become available.