Local business a boon to OK for Youth

Nov. 16, 2009 – Bradley’s Bar and Grill in Marietta definitely does its part in supporting local Cobb County charities during a difficult economic time. Restaurant owner John Capone recently invited Cobb non-profit group Opportunity Knocks for Youth to call on supporters to enjoy a fun evening of dinner and fellowship, with a percentage of the proceeds returned to the organization. Known to hold fundraisers for various charitable organizations in Cobb County, the restaurant offered karaoke to guests after dinner.

Capone suggested passing a donation bucket throughout the evening, which allowed patrons, not associated with the OK for Youth event to donate and even match gifts. In all, the evening brought some $4,000 to the organization and new business to the restaurant. “We are a neighborhood bar and we love doing neighborly things,” said Capone. “We are grateful to OK 4 Youth for giving us an opportunity to give back. 

OK for Youth provides support to young people 13-19 years of age who are from low-income families, foster care and group homes. The organization provides one-on-one mentoring, educational encouragement, and life/work skills programs.

"OK for Youth is successful because of people like John Capone,” said OK executive director Dale Champion. “When business owners reach out to non profits in the community, it sets an important example. OK for Youth and organizations like us rely on donations, but thrive on personal involvement from the community.

In Georgia there are more than 13,000 children in foster care and only 15% are expected to graduate from high school. OK4Youth participants have a 75% graduation rate with teens currently attending Georgia Southern University, Albany State University and Chattahoochee Technical College.

“Mentor relationships are the most significant part of our program,” Champion continued. “The volunteers focus on personal responsibility, positive attitudes, making good choices, conflict management, and giving back.” The five-year-old OK4Y program partners with Cobb County Department of Family and Children Services, Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church and Cobb County schools to provide an innovative approach to support at-risk youth.