A mother of five and former school teacher, Buckhead’s Michelle Hodgson has full hands and an even more full heart. In 2008, Michelle founded Children Helping Children (CHC), a nonprofit developed in honor of her infant son, Cole, who passed away the prior year. The mission of CHC is to encourage children to identify their unique, personal gifts and find ways to use those gifts in community service. Ongoing projects of CHC include assembling and donating “Be Well Bears” to children in local hospitals and the Little Hands, Big LOVEFEST—a teen-led, service-based festival that shares inspiration and community fun.
“Children Helping Children inspires kids to give back to other kids in Atlanta,” Michelle says. “Our roots are based deeply in diversity as celebrating the uniqueness of each child. We connect children from different socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures, religions and abilities and put them in the driver’s seat by providing a platform for their ideas.” The ideas generated by these young people have been the catalyst for projects benefitting other nonprofits, such as Kate’s Club, Camp Sunshine, Atlanta Mission, StandUp For Kids, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emmaus House. The 2016 junior board has just begun to focus on this year’s Big LOVEFEST to be held October 30 at Park Tavern on Piedmont Park. While the kids plan the project, there’s still a need for adults to join in and support their programming through corporate and personal sponsorships that fund
Family and friends note that Michelle’s loving spirit pervades the organization as well as every other part of her life. She proclaims, “It’s more important to be peaceful than right. Ultimately, even the most aggressive problems have spiritual and peaceful solutions. We come from love, so be love and give love. Love is really all there is.”
That spirit of loving energy now extends to another program Michelle’s developed, called SHE for Spiritual Healing Energy. The SHE mission encourages women of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs to come together in support of each other. “One of my best friends, who lives in L.A., and I had multiple conversations about how we could connect and help women in our country,” Michelle explains, “to create a space where it was safe to be vulnerable, talk about real issues and love each other.” After much discussion and meditation, the first event was held in May. “Women from all over Atlanta came together and spoke their intentions, did a beautiful sunset yoga class overlooking Piedmont Park and ended the night with dinner, wine and a collective sharing in an energy circle we created. We’ve had females from multiple cities reach out already asking how they can be part of this beautiful group. We intend to bring it to whoever organically calls out to ask as we follow the energy.”
Around town, Michelle enjoys picking up new resources at Phoenix & Dragon bookstore and is really excited about the enhancement of Chastain Park. She counts Souper Jenny, Aria, Horseradish Grill and BarTaco among her favorite places to meet up with friends for a bite.