Latoya Gaines (center), with daughters Tyleama, 12, and Ireana, 6.Casey Templeton Photo
Ireana runs past the visitor sitting next to her father, Will Gaines, in the Greater Fulton Neighborhood Resource Center's library. She bumps the chair, and Gaines admonishes and instructs, "Um, excuse me, please?"
"Excuse me, please," she says, sliding into a couch. A NRC Montessori graduate, Ireana is at Chimborazo Elementary now, and when asked if those classes are as enjoyable as the ones here, her head shakes emphatically enough to sway her braids.
Stamped With Success
"No," she explains. "Because there, somebody's always getting the class into trouble. We can't do anything and have to stop."
Ireana, one of Gaines' four children, is 6 years old. And she's quite pleased with her straight "A" report card, results that make her father proud. Their youngest, Allyson, is enrolled in the preschool now.
Gaines and his wife, Latoya, a Fulton native, have lived in the community for seven years with their children. After the post office closed, Will started seeing hand-lettered signs in the windows.
"I came in to check out what was going on here," Gaines recalls. "And I looked in on the Montessori class, and it was so different from what I knew. The kids were happy, enjoying themselves — and learning."
The differences in their children's behavior are notable. Allyson is offering to use the vacuum cleaner and asks to do chores around the house.
The center's presence also makes a visible difference in the neighborhood, Gaines says. There are fewer kids on the streets and even less litter. "That misbehavior has been reduced tremendously."