Giving back: I co-founded the Johns Creek Historical Society after realizing historic structures and links to early farm families were disappearing - and with them the history of the area. In a diverse city with predominantly residents from other areas of the country and world, I’ve found that the history of the land where they now live, work, and travel daily can be a unifying and effective to way engage them in the community. We collect records and stories of the past to create both a physical and digital archive to preserve and share Johns Creek’s history. We also have several preservation projects including working with the City of Johns Creek to improve and preserve a small historic abandoned African-American cemetery. Much of my time volunteering is spent researching local history, preparing programming, acquiring donations of historic documents and artifacts, making connections with those that have long roots in the area, and answering requests for genealogy information.
Pivots: Sharing local history is an important part of the mission. Ordinarily, the Johns Creek Historical Society would hold monthly meetings plus present additional history programming throughout the community. While these normal ways to keep members and the community engaged are on hold, we are collaborating with other organizations to present limited-capacity history presentations at unexpected outdoor venues and experimenting with online programming. Research is relying more on online sources and less on in-person visits to genealogy and history archives.
Giving thanks: This year I’ve added a new item to my usual list of thanks – for all the technology and online platforms that facilitate coordinating projects with co-workers and provide a way to stay connected with family and friends.
Around my table: Due to the pandemic, we’ll enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving foods, but will most likely be sharing the table virtually with family and friends located in other states.
Joan lives and gives in Johns Creek.
Shirley E. “Bella” Borghi
Giving back: I serve as the Executive Director and Co-Vice Chairman the Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia. The HHCGA is a 30+ year old 501(c)(3), which has humbly served the underserved and under serviced minority populations within the Hispanic, Latino, and Hispanic/Latino Black populations in the mission of better overall outcomes as relates to all chronic diseases, behavioral sciences, access to a healthy life and access to healthcare, (cultural and linguistic expertise), non-partisan health policy and advocacy organization focused on our constituents regionally, nationally, and beyond.
Pivots: COVID-19 has been a driving force in addressing complex issues such as transportation, food deserts, access to testing, accessing to vetted information, language and culturally competency, education, and overall uplift of our population through difficult and ever changing times. The pandemic as asked each of us to look in the mirror and evaluate what is truly important in life and valuable priorities to support the Community, especially two of our greatest assets- children and elders.
Giving thanks: Family and loved ones are the foundation which allows one to find gratitude, compassion, and the uplifting of others in our community. The foundation serves as a solid anchor to build upon in all other areas of your life. For that I am hugely thankful.
Around my table: I have been very blessed in life to have amazing parents who instilled those characteristics in me before passing to Heaven. It is with this I will share my Thanksgiving table with the warmth of their legacy and my most amazing husband David who resonates all those unbelievable characteristics and continually serves as a great aspiration, role model, and partner on my journey.
Bella lives in Roswell and works in Alpharetta.