Ponce Press - August 2019

Ponce & Peachtree Covering Peachtree, Piedmont, Virginia Highland, Morningside, Little Five Points, & Grant Park • LOCAL, POSITIVE COMMUNITY NEWS H ometown N ews A tlanta Previously Ponce Press and Midtown Messenger Volume 29, No. 8 • AUGUST 2019 W-Underdogs Gives Kids and Animals a Second Chance Grace Hamlin is the Founder and Executive Director of W-Underdogs, a nonprofit she founded to teach at risk- youth to care for and train dogs. “I started this work to break the cycle of gangs,” said the U.S. Army veteran. When Hamlin moved to her south Atlanta neighborhood she says she saw dogs on chains, trash and kids without any place to go or anything to do. “I have been rescuing dogs for 15 years,” she said. “My first year in Atlanta I rescued 5 dogs off the street. I thought maybe I can teach these kids how to take care of these animals, learn a little about compassion and empathy and just keep them out of trouble. Most kids they just want an opportunity, a choice. There’s a lot of violence in their own lives, a lot of violence on the streets that is ignored so I thought that maybe by helping animals it would teach these kids to have a voice.” Hamlin invited a couple of the neigh- borhood kids being hurt by gang violence to help with her dogs. “I just saw such kindness and compassion in them. Then they told their friends, hey you can walk During the 1960s Atlanta born jazz pianist and composer Duke Pearson played a crucial role in shaping the hard bop direction of the Blue Note record label. Hard bop is style of jazz incor- porating influences from rhythm and blues, gospel music and blues, especially in saxophone and piano playing. Preferring to let his music do the talking Pearson, known for his soft lyri- cal approach on piano and his exacting arrangements may not be as well-known as other jazz greats but he had his hand in many influential recordings of the era. Pearson’s nephew Gerald Ford said. “He would always say I don’t want to be in the spotlight. I just want to lay back and make good music and that’s what he did. He wasn’t a rich man when he died or when he lived, that’s who he was, a humble person.” Continued on page 19 Duke Pearson Avoided Spotlight While Shaping Direction of Jazz Music in 1960s Duke Pearson (Photo courtesy of Gerald Ford) Continued on page 5 W-Underdogs founder Grace Hamlin (Photo: Dean Hesse)