reading rockets

Zerik Samples, Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority chief development officer, reads a book to students in the Head Start program, where Reading Rockets plans to expand their program.

Success stories consist of more than milestone celebrations.

In between graduation ceremonies, birthdays and anniversaries, small victories are taking place that will eventually build into great accomplishments.

Coastal Georgia Community Action Authority intends to celebrate all the small achievements that create community members’ success stories. The nonprofit organization will host the third annual Voices of Success Fundraising Gala this Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Jekyll Island Convention Center, located at 75 Beachview Drive North on Jekyll Island.

Tickets for the gala are on sale now.

“There are two parts to the Voices of Success Gala. One is to inform the community about Community Action and the work that we do,” said Zerik Samples, chief development officer of Coastal Georgia Community Action. “It also allows us to tell the story of those individuals who have reached self-sufficiency or are well on their way to self-sufficiency.”

The black tie affair will aim to bring light to the hard work of individuals and families who have been supported by Coastal Georgia Community Action.

The event will include a silent and live auction and fine dining experience. The Golden Isles Youth Orchestra will also perform.

Local success stories will be shared, and the Leonard Dawson Self-Sufficiency Award will be presented.

“I encourage every last person who cares about the community to be there and to be a part of the great changes that’s happening in Coastal Georgia,” Samples said.

Coastal Georgia Community Action serves local families through the federal Head Start program, weatherization assistance, Georgia’s pre-K program, energy assistance, income tax filing assistance, workforce development, affordable housing assistance and youth development programs.

“We found that a lot of people don’t understand Community Action and the work that we do,” Samples said. “And we want to celebrate those individuals … We celebrate birthdays, graduations and what have you, but we don’t celebrate the individuals that make smaller milestones.”

But those milestones, he said, also lead to significant change in people’s lives.

“We’re celebrating the success of those individuals moving toward self-sufficiency,” he said.

One success story that will be shared this weekend is that of a family who has long been a part of the Head Start program and other services offered by Coastal Community Action Authority.

Now, through a partnership with the organization, the family is building their own house.

“There are so many stories we can share,” Samples said.

Limited on-site registration will be available at the event. Organizers ask that those planning to attend register in advance.

Tickets can be purchased online at

Samples also asked that attendees come to the event with a heart for giving.

“It’s a fundraising gala, so be prepared to be a part of the change with a donation,” he said.

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