Monthly Archives: October 2011

Triathlete’s Advice to ACSS Graduates: “Build on Your Little Wins”

Triathlete Bishop Leatherbury found his inspiration in the affirmation of ACSS Class 13: "Powerful Warriors, Victorious Champions!"

“Take it one mile at a time,” Bishop Leatherbury advised graduates of ACSS Class 14. “Build on your little wins and when you get setbacks, take it in stride.”

Bishop is an ACSS board member, Southeast regional managing partner at Tatum Partners, LLC and, most recently, a successful finisher in the Ironman World Championship — a grueling triathlon in Kona, Hawaii.

He joined the competition to raise funds and awareness for ACSS, a non-profit organization that empowers homeless persons to gain meaningful and permanent employment through intense life skills and job readiness training programs. You can see his fundraising progress here:

While competing, Bishop says he was inspired by an affirmation coined by members of the previous graduating class (13): “We are Powerful Warriors, Victorious Champions!” With a thick black marker, Bishop inscribed “PWVC” on his hands, which he glanced at often for encouragement throughout the long triathlon.

The Ironman World Championship has a strict time limit of 17 hours. Bishop set a personal goal of 14 hours. See how he did in the video!


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Georgia State Panther Football: Be a Fan and a Philanthropist!

For the second year in a row, Coach Bill Curry and the Georgia State University Panthers are teaming up with the Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency to raise awareness and funds to help break the cycle of homelessness in Atlanta.

On November 5th, GSU will pay tribute to all 1st responders, active military personnel and veterans during their game against St. Francis at the Georgia Dome. A portion of the ticket proceeds will go to ACSS, a non-profit organization that empowers homeless persons, including many veterans, to achieve economic self-sufficiency and their ultimate potential to thrive in life. Join us for the game and become part of the fun… and the solution!

$15 tickets can be purchased online here. When ordering, please use promotions code: ACSS

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ACSS Inspires Triathlete: A Message from Hawaii

ACSS board member and triathlete Bishop Leatherbury

ACSS Board Member and triathlete Bishop Leatherbury is in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii to compete in the October 8 Ironman World Championship — a race that combines a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a marathon, all of which must be completed in less than 17 hours! As he embarks on this grueling triathlon, he hopes to raise funds and awareness for ACSS. Today, he emailed us this update from Hawaii:

IronMan World Championship race week is here and the race is now less than two days away! As we wrap up this phase of the IronMan World Championship fundraiser, more than 122 people have contributed a total of $17,815 to support the great work of the Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency. THANK YOU so much for your support!

On Friday, before departing for Kona, I attended the graduation ceremony for the 13th ACSS graduating class. It was a thrill to hear them enthusiastically and energetically yell their class affirmation “Powerful Achievers, Victorious Warriors.” I also had an unexpected treat – Mr. Hampton who usually hands the graduates their certificates of graduation was unable to attend and I had the honor and privilege to hand each graduate their certificate and congratulate him or her on achieving this important milestone in the journey to self sufficiency. It was really encouraging to see the energy and enthusiasm of our VIPs embarked on a new beginning.

I headed to the race on Saturday and arrived in Kona with my son Rob and my training partners Mike Wien (and his wife Nannette) and Michael Berger. There were quite a few athletes on the plane to Kona and I could feel the energy and excitement building as we arrived in Kona. Sunday morning, we took our first swim in Kona Bay – the water was crystal clear and we could see the coral reefs and schools of fish below as we swam. We start each morning with a swim and trip to the “coffee bar.” That’s right, during race week there is a Hawaiian outrigger catamaran anchored a half mile offshore, giving out coffee and a cookie to anyone who cares to swim out that far. On Monday, we rode our bikes to Hawi, the turnaround point in the bike segment. The road to Hawi is famous for its headwinds and crosswinds. The winds have been known to gust over 30 miles an hour and to knock the occasional competitor off the bike. The legendary winds lived up to their billing – this was my friend Mike’s fourth ride to Hawi and he said he has never seen them as bad. It was a bit scary but the good news is that I know I can handle it and the ride was real confidence builder.

Monday evening, I had a real treat. I was Mike’s guest at the IronGents banquet. This is a banquet for all the competitors over 60 years old. Almost 40 of the 150 men and ladies 60+ who will be competing on Saturday attended the banquet. This is truly an incredible group of positive and accomplished people. One of the real highlights was meeting and spending time with 81 year old Lew Hollander. This will be his 22nd IronMan World Championship race. He is one of my heroes and role models. I find it amazing that there will be four men in the race over eighty years old and they are as competitive as any other age group. By the way, the oldest lady competing is 76 year old Harriet Anderson. These amazing people are truly living the IronMan motto of “Anything is possible” and they are a real inspiration.

As the week progresses, people continue to pour into Kona. During our last two morning swims, I was surprised to see hundreds of spectators. The town is now full of competitors, friends and family supporting them and the volunteers. The volunteers are a really special group of people and many come back year after year. I met a volunteer from San Francisco yesterday who has volunteered at Kona for the last 11 years. The volunteers really do make it happen! There is a growing excitement and the positive energy is contagious.

As we head toward race day, I am a little nervous but feel well prepared. As with the 13th graduating class of ACSS, I plan to be a “Powerful Achiever, Victorious Warrior.”

If you would like to follow my progress on Saturday, you can go to and click on the Athlete Tracker. You can enter my name or my bib number (305) and track my progress. The race starts at 7:00 am (noon Atlanta time) and my goal is to finish in around 14 hours.

Friends, as they say in Hawaii, “Mahalo!” Thank you for your support of ACSS!! Without you and the many other supporters of our programs, the homeless men and women of Atlanta would not have this valuable and life changing resource to help get back on the right track and rebuild their lives. If you had planned to donate but have not yet had the chance, you can go to for more information and to donate. And again, thank you so much for all of your kind words of support and encouragement!

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ACSS Graduate Steve Foley: “A Transformation Took Place”

ACSS Graduate Steve Foley

Steve Foley, one of our VIPs (Visionary Innovative Partners) and president of ACSS Class #13, delivered this speech to our staff, volunteers, supporters and his fellow graduates at their Sept. 30 commencement ceremony.

Distinguished faculty, guests and COHORTS!

WOW!!! What a whirlwind it has been for the last four weeks. We have learned A LOT! We learned how important motivation is to starting our day.

Personal affirmations are essential to building our self esteem. We did this every morning during this process – and for me – the difference can be seen by others.

There was a transformation that took place. We changed from people who really didn’t know why they were here; to people who knew the purpose of self-worth, positive attitudes and a new found confidence in ourselves and our abilities.

The Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency staff has given us tools to give us the best chance possible of landing, not just a job, but to build a career.

Now, it is up to us to take those tools and build upon the solid foundation that we have gained here.

Another invaluable asset that we have gained from the staff is HOPE! This hope is of a great and rewarding future of self-sufficiency. This will happen because we will persevere. The reason for that perseverance is because “We Are Powerful Warriors and Victorious Champions!”

Our graduation ceremonies are always inspiring and a great way to experience the results of ACSS programs. If you would like to join us for a future ceremony, please contact us for the schedule.

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Filed under ACSS Awards & Accomplishments, ACSS Programs, CareerWorks