Cynthia Frisina often thinks back to what experts told her when her second daughter, Cathryn, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy just before her first birthday in 2002. She wouldn’t walk, they said, and she would have difficulty with cognitive function. The news was devastating, and Frisina’s efforts to gather reliable information about cerebral palsy provided no solace. “I assumed that, like most other disorders, there must be a national parent organization that would provide information,” fifty-three-year-old Frisina says. “But there wasn’t one. It amazed me.”
In 2005, Frisina and Anna Marie Champion, who also has a child with cerebral palsy, launched Reaching for the Stars: A Foundation of Hope for Children with Cerebral Palsy. Today, the organization is the largest parent-led pediatric cerebral palsy nonprofit in the world.
As the foundation grew, so did Cathryn, who eventually wanted to participate in sports like her older sister. “There wasn’t a pathway for her,” Frisina says. “She was often left out of PE, and there were no school teams for her. It was not an inclusive environment.”
Frisina soon discovered BlazeSports America, the legacy organization of the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games that gives children and adults with physical disabilities the chance to play adaptive and recreational sports. Frisina signed Cathryn up, and in 2015, she found a new professional calling as executive director of the Norcross-based organization. Under her leadership, BlazeSports offers more than forty opportunities for Georgians who are disabled to join sports teams or enjoy recreational activities. The organization has also brought humanitarian sports programs to eleven countries.
A year later, the White House named Frisina one of ten “Champions for Change” for her work. Moving forward, she hopes to encourage other parents. “When you’re faced with incredible adversity, it can change your life,” she says. “Sometimes we don’t find our story. Sometimes the story finds us.”
When former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell approached Camille Russell Love in 1998 about directing Atlanta’s cultural programming, she turned him down. She told him she was happy as the owner of her eponymous Buckhead art gallery, which she’d opened six years before. But as time passed, Love couldn’t seem to shake the idea of shaping the city’s cultural events, and she eventually closed her gallery and took the job. Ever since, she says she’s found immense satisfaction serving as executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.
“I have always felt that access to arts and culture is beneficial to everyone,” says Love, sixty-seven. “My primary goal is to expand the availability of cultural experiences to those in Atlanta who might not otherwise have the opportunity to access them—and I want to make sure they are available at no cost.”
Upon accepting the position, Love inherited a number of programs, including the classes at Chastain Arts Center, the city’s Public Art Program, and the Atlanta Jazz Festival—one of the nation’s largest free jazz festivals. But she was determined to create even more artistic options. In 2005, she spearheaded the Cultural Experience Project, which provides every Atlanta Public Schools student with one major cultural outing each year. “It helps children learn the cultural ecology of their city,” she says.
Love also oversaw the 2014 opening of Gallery 72, a municipal gallery that, six times a year, showcases an eclectic mix of artwork. Not only does it provide an exhibition space for emerging artists, but it also gives the city a way to spotlight the accomplishments of the visual arts community.
After nineteen years on the job, Love says she’s just getting started. “There has been an explosion of creative energy in Atlanta,” she says. “And it is heartwarming for me to be the steward of the cultural assets the city has to offer.”
Can’t decide if you’re in the mood for a quiet country escape, an exciting city adventure, or a majestic mountain getaway for your next vacation? Fortunately, thanks to a nearly fifty-mile stretch along South Carolina’s U.S. Highway 178, you don’t have to choose. All you have to do is hop in the car and head out for a road trip that will leave you feeling like you’ve seen and done it all. With stops in three cities along the way—Belton, Anderson, and Pickens—you’ll find an array of can’t-be-missed sites and attractions. When you get home, you’ll probably find it hard to believe that you only took one vacation. With three amazing and unique experiences, you’ll be ready to hit the road again soon.
Belton: Country Comfort Off the Beaten Path
Grits and Groceries Housed in an old country store at Saylors Crossroads, this much-loved restaurant, owned and operated by Heidi and Joe Trull, is proud to offer “real food, done real good.” From Cajun and Creole to straightforward Southern cooking, it’s comfort food at its finest. Saturday brunch has become a local tradition, drawing crowds from as far away as Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina. gritsandgroceries.com
Callaham Orchards This 120-acre family farm yields some of the most delectable fruits and vegetables in the area. Harvested peaches, strawberries, nectarines, plums, watermelons, muscadines, tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, and more can be purchased at the farm’s famous roadside stand. You can even pick your own blackberries and figs when they’re in season. agriculture.sc.gov/agritourism-farms/callaham-orchards
Anderson: A Sparkling Time in the Electric City
The Bleckley Inn Located in the heart of Anderson, this elegant boutique hotel is as cozy as it is sophisticated. The inn’s fourteen well-appointed rooms offer a host of creature comforts—and who doesn’t love a free breakfast? It’s an ideal place to stay when visiting the Electric City, a moniker bestowed upon Anderson in 1895 when it became the first city in the South to transmit electricity over long distances. bleckleyinn.com
Palmetto Moonshine For something unique, visit South Carolina’s first legal moonshine distillery. Free tastings of Trey and Bryan Boggs’s 105-proof White Lightnin’ moonshine (made on-site in copper moonshine stills), as well as their peach, blackberry, and apple pie varieties, will add a kick to your trip. And stop by the gift shop to purchase a few Mason jars of moonshine to take home. palmettomoonshine.com
Split Creek Farm This Grade-A goat dairy is located less than twenty minutes from downtown Anderson. Pop over to see the farm’s 350 goats in action, and pick up some award-winning feta and goat milk fudge. You can also enjoy the farm’s products at local restaurants such as the upscale Sullivan’s Metropolitan Grill or the casual SummaJoe’s Searing Pans & Homemade Pizza. splitcreek.com
Pickens Environs: Blue Ridge Mountain Majesties
Jocassee Gorges (Lake Jocassee and Devil’s Fork State Park) Comprising more than 43,500 acres, the Gorges are a natural wonder marked by rugged forests, mountain streams, and one of the largest concentrations of waterfalls in the eastern United States. National Geographic included the area in its “50 of the World’s Last Great Places.” Devils Fork State Park, nestled along the shores of Lake Jocassee, offers access to kayaking and hiking, as well as boat tours that take you right up to the lake’s renowned waterfalls. Owner and guide Stephanie Couch of Lake Jocassee – Keowee Boat Rentals offers a four-hour tour that is not to be missed. dnr.sc.gov/managed/wild/jocassee
Three Pines View A ten-minute drive from the Lake Jocassee’s main access point is Salem’s Three Pines View, a five-star guest-rated boutique lodge owned and operated by Steve and Diane Hayes. With panoramic mountain views from four spectacular rooms, Three Pines View is intimate and inviting. In harmony with nature, the owners grow organic produce for their gourmet breakfasts (try the eggs benedict) and even planted 300 trees on the property. threepinesview.com
Aunt Sue’s Country Corner Right off Scenic Highway 11 is Aunt Sue’s Country Corner, a charming restaurant where you can have fried green tomatoes and a juicy burger with a side of spectacular mountain views. Sit in one of the high-backed rockers on the large porch and enjoy a set list of folk songs played by local musicians. Then peruse the on-site shops for a selection of mountain crafts from quilts and jewelry to handmade wooden toys. And snag a fresh whoopie pie from Aunt Sue’s Kitchenware & Bakery. auntsuescountrycorner.com
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