Your monthly newsletter about The Place and how serving with purpose helps change lives. 

September 2022

Dear Cristy,

A crucial part of The Place’s mission is to help our clients become self-sufficient. I am proud of our Workforce Development and Education program, which is essential to attaining this goal.  

A better education opens doors to better jobs. We offer GED and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. We also provide parenting classes, training on budgeting, tutoring for Microsoft Office, and forklift driver training and certification.

Tara Hardwick, a certified career coach and resume writer, manages the program. In 2021, we assisted over 270 jobseekers and contributed more than $3,000,000 in salaries back into economy. This program also enables The Place staff to capture talent. Our own Hollis Meyer started in the Adult Training Program and was recently promoted to Young Adult and High School Coordinator. Hollis is now helping students work toward a brighter future every day.

If you’d like to help our clients achieve self-sufficiency, please consider a financial or time donation. We always need assistance with our classes, and sharing skills that come easy to you can help our clients learn new skills. Thank you.

Serving with Purpose,


President & CEO

The Place of Forsyth County

News and Events

Homeless No More

Through a very generous donation, The Place provided a young couple with a camper to call home. The couple lived in a tent for two years, stayed on a relative’s couch, and lived in their car for a time. Although homeless, both have been working better paying night shift jobs to make ends meet. They are expecting their first child in November.

In our current economy and real estate market, it’s extremely hard for people who are already struggling financially to secure housing.  The Place is blessed to have generous donors to help our clients achieve self-sufficiency.  

Please take a moment to hear this couple’s story.

What’s Your Favorite Thanksgiving Food?

Green bean casserole? Corn muffins? Turkey with stuffing?

In addition to providing food to our clients each week, The Place delivers extra items for a Thanksgiving feast so our clients can celebrate the holiday with their families. We are starting to collect:

  • Non-perishable food items - $20 (small/regular sizes of crispy fried onions, green beans, cream of mushroom soup, Jiffy corn muffin mix, gravy, stuffing, canned yams, and cranberry sauce)
  • Money towards a turkey - $20
  • Grocery gift cards - $25

If you are able to make a financial donation, click here.

To view a printable shopping list, click here. Drop off purchased items at 2550 The Place Circle Cumming, GA 30040 or The Place at RIC Rack at 829 HWY 9 North, Dawsonville, Georgia 30534.

To shop for items on Amazon Smile, click here.

Thank you for your generosity!

Holiday House is Warming Up!

It might still be hot outside, but planning for this year’s Holiday House has begun! If you are interested in sponsoring a toy drive for a group or company, please contact Kim at

Halcyon’s Witches Night Out Benefits The Place

Join us at on October 13 at Halcyon Mall for its annual Witches Night Out event from 6 to 10 pm. Gather your friends and have a great night of wine, dancing, games, and more! 

For information and to purchase tickets, click here .

Ukrainian Update

New School Year for Ukrainian Clients

In April, The Place welcomed its first Ukrainian clients. We are currently assisting 28 families, totaling 94 people, mostly women, children, and infants. We provide weekly food assistance, clothing, gas cards, diapers, and meet other needs as we can. We also assist with all applications for federal benefits, such as SNAP (food stamps), medical, and others.

Before the new school year started, Director of Client Services Paige Whalen held a question-and-answer session for the Ukrainians about our U.S. education system and Forsyth County Schools. Forsyth County Schools Title III Newcomer Support Specialist Diana Delaney joined the group to talk with the parents about what to expect and who to go to for assistance.  

One of the most frequently asked questions was “How will my child learn English?” Diana assured the parents the schools would have a dedicated person for the students in class to help them learn English.

If you’d like to know more about how you can help with our Ukrainian refugees OR if you are interested in being a sponsor by providing housing and financial support for a Ukrainian family, please contact Paige Whalen at

Generous Support for Ukrainian Families

Thanks to generous donations from the Rotary Club District 6910 and Central Congregational United Church of Christ in Atlanta, The Place can now assist with meeting application fees for work visas or applying for Social Security cards, each costing $410. We also can assist with medical bills not covered by any federal benefits.

Helping to pay for the applications takes away one burden, but the refugees might still have to wait up to 18 months to obtain a work visa or a Social Security number. They need one of these documents to legally work in the U.S. 

Workforce Development & Education

GED Classes Include Essential Ed Program

The Place rolled out a new program for GED® instruction called Essential Ed . While GED classes are held in person, students log into their portal on Essential Ed to complete an individualized learning plan. 

Essential Ed prepares students in each of the four GED subject areas: math, science, social studies, and language arts. Students take a self-assessment test in each subject area to determine what they need to study. Based on test results, Essential Ed creates a personalized learning plan for each student, bypassing skills they have already mastered.

According to The Place’s Workforce Development and Education Manager Tara Hardwick, “This program is the best thing we can offer our students. We are so thankful that we have put this program in place. We also provide Chromebooks for each student to use during class.”

The classes are held from 6 to 8:30 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays starting September 12 through May 17, 2023. They are held at East Forsyth High School. Participants must be 18 years old to attend.

To register, contact Tara at or call her at 770-887-1098, ext 224. 

English as a Second Language Classes

The Place is offering English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for anyone who lacks proficiency in English. The classes are held on Mondays and Wednesdays from September 12 through May 17, 2023. The classes are held at East Forsyth High School. Participants must be 18 years old to attend.

To register, contact Tara at or call her at 770-887-1098, ext. 224. 

Parenting Classes Start in September

The Place is sponsoring the popular “Love and Logic” Parenting classes on September 7, 14, and 21. They will be held at Local Church Dawson at 31 Successful Way, Dawsonville, GA 30534. Class times are 6 pm to 8 pm. The classes were taught in Spanish in August.

The classes teach parents or caregivers how to “learn a loving and balanced approach to managing your kids. We demonstrate how to practice discipline without losing love and respect for your child.”

To register, contact Tara at or 770-887-1098, ext. 224. 

Staff News

Paige Whalen Promoted to Client Services Director

Paige Whalen, who joined The Place as Client Services Manager in March, has been promoted to Director of Client Services. Paige oversees the team that handles client benefits, financial assistance, The Cottage program, young adult and high school Initiatives, and workforce development and education.

Client Services’ responsibility is to meet the immediate needs of clients, and to work with clients over time to help them become self-sustaining and successful. 

The Place President and CEO Cristy Ferencie said, “In the time Paige has been with us, she has demonstrated exceptional leadership and compassion as Client Services Manager. Paige shows strategic thinking and has great knowledge of nonprofits and of the community. Her management skills and kindness have made her the perfect fit for the Director of Client Services position.”

Partnering with Purose

Amicalola EMC

Local Church Dawson

Paradise Valley Resort

South Forsyth High School Football Team

To learn how your organization can help support the programs and services at The Place, contact Lisa at (Forsyth County) or Amy at (Dawson County). 

Want to Participate in a Collection Drive?

If you, your church, or your organization would like to participate in a collection drive that benefits The Place, please click here to see drives for September. 

For more information, contact Lisa at (Forsyth County) or Amy at (Dawson County). 


Why I Volunteer

Cynthia Lopez is a volunteer in The Place’s Workforce Development and Education program. She is the advisor for the popular “Love and Logic” Parenting Classes, and teaches the classes in both English and Spanish.

What does volunteering mean to you? 

"Volunteering for me means taking up space in the community where you can utilize your gifts to complement a need or group that is already doing great things. Volunteering is a “boots on the ground” effort and involvement instead of solely words and helping spread the information."

What do you like about volunteering with Workforce Development and Education at The Place?

"I love the organized communication between the department and the volunteers. The constant gratitude expressed and the sense of belonging is genuine. I love having the opportunity to meet people in the community and provide resources to improve their relationships and well-being. I look forward to teaching “Love and Logic” every week because it’s rewarding to equip the families with effective and practical ways to have better relationships with their children."

What would you say to people who are considering volunteering at The Place?

"Stop considering and jump in! Volunteering with The Place is rewarding, efficient, and impactful."

Become a Volunteer!

The Place was voted the best place to volunteer in Forsyth County in 2021! If you’d like to join our amazing team, please fill out an application and attend a one-hour orientation session at The Place.

To fill out a volunteer application, please click here. You’ll be able to sign up for an upcoming orientation session during the application process. For more information, contact Thank you!

Pantry Needs

Click here to shop our Amazon Smile food list.

Click here to open a printable food list and shop locally.

Bring locally purchased items to The Place, 2550 The Place Circle, Cumming, GA 30040 or The Place @ RIC Rack at 829 HWY 9 North, Dawsonville, Georgia 30534.

Give a Gift Today

Your continued support is needed and appreciated so we can continue to help our neighbors in need. Please consider a gift a today.

You can help advance our efforts by:

  • Providing monthly financial support
  • Making The Place of Forsyth your favorite charity at
  • Adding a bequest in your will
  • Giving the gift of a percentage of your estate or a specific asset
  • Naming The Place as a beneficiary in your life insurance or retirement plan
  • Creating a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) and direct your IRA distributions to a qualified 501(c)(3) charity

The Place of Forsyth County, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, EIN 58-2355072.

The Place of Forsyth County, 2550 The Place Circle, Gumming, GA 30040

The Place of Dawson County, 517 Allen Street Dawsonville, GA 30534 and RIC-Rack at 829 Hwy 9, Dawsonville, GA 30534