Along the way, he chatted up President Barack Obama’s health care law with those affected at Midtown’s Mary Mac Tea Room, and attended a fundraiser for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn in a private Buckhead home.
Biden reportedly got a kiss on the cheek from a Mary Mac’s waitress, and received a football from a Cobb business owner. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, BG Ad Group Inc., President Darien Southerland praised the Obama administration for promoting a higher minimum wage.
While visiting the Smyrna-area business, located at 295 Plantation Road, Biden told Southerland, “With leadership and help from guys like you, we’re going to break through.”
The day began though with a surprise visit at the East Lake Early Learning Academy at the East Lake Family YMCA. The Early Learning Academy is the critical first step in the East Lake Foundation’s cradle-to-college education pipeline.
Biden met with representatives from Purpose Built Communities, whose goal is to stop the cycle of poverty across the United States by using the same successful community revitalization model that helped improve the East Lake neighborhood: cradle-to-college education, mixed-income housing and community wellness.
“I was honored to meet with Vice President Biden this morning,” Carol Naughton, senior vice-president, Purpose Built Communities, said in a news release. “We explained Purpose Built Communities’ holistic approach to community revitalization and our work with local leaders nationwide.”
The successful revitalization of the East Lake neighborhood began in 1995 and has shown consistent and remarkable improvement due to the dedication of community leaders and residents alike to transform their neighborhood. Today the results are striking:
· Education:Almost 99 percent of fifth graders now meet or exceed state reading and language arts standards, and 100 percent meet or exceed math standards. The neighborhood elementary school that originally ranked last out of 69 elementary schools in the city is now the top-performing elementary school, while the middle school is the third highest performing middle-school in the Atlanta Public Schools system
· Employment:Five times more adults work or are in job training in the community than in 1995
· Surrounding neighborhood: After experiencing nothing but disinvestment for decades, the revitalization attracted some $200 million in additional commercial investment including new grocery stores, banks, new and more varied housing options, neighborhood retail and restaurants
· Safety:There has been a 73 percent reduction in total crime, 90 percent reduction in violent crime and the crime rate in East Lake is now 50 percent lower than the overall city crime rate
“Vice President Biden’s visit helps bring a national spotlight to the East Lake Foundation and Purpose Built Communities’ efforts to expand opportunity and access for children in communities across the country,” Daniel Shoy Jr., president, East Lake Foundation, said in a release.