Georgia business owner mentors ten kids

Mark Collins also donates gift cards for teachers, sponsors field trips for children with special needs and provides care packages for families devastated by house fires. (Image: Buffy Hemphill)

A business owner in Catoosa County is shaping the young minds of students. He's mentored several kids for nearly a decade.

On this week's Pay It Forward, Newschannel 9's Jessica Harthorn surprises him during a special meeting.

Catoosa County school leaders say 35% of children are being raised in single parent homes and many are in desperate need of male mentors.

Mark Collins has always answered the call. He's mentored ten students and even got many of his employees to do the same.

He's now one of 200 local business owners who supports the Catoosa County Public Schools Partnership Program.


The kids are all smiles at Woodstation Elementary.

The singers performed during the Catoosa County Public Schools Partnership Program meeting, thanking local business partners for their contributions.

They help the counties 17 schools by donating money, supplies, volunteers, mentors and planning events.

That's business owner Mark Collins sitting in the back.

"He's absolutely awesome, he mentors two students, helps fund field trips, provides backpacks for students in need," said CCPS Partnership Program Coordinator Buffy Hemphill.

Buffy says Mark also donates gift cards for teachers, sponsors field trips for children with special needs and provides care packages for families devastated by house fires.

And like today, he's always present during Partnership Program meetings.

But this one was interrupted by Superintendent Denia Reese.

She called Mark forward as Buffy walked in with a special announcement.

"Catoosa County Partnership would not be what it is without your support. You're the first to answer the phone, answer an email. We are so grateful for what you do for students in Catoosa County, and on behalf of Newschannel 9 and the McMahan Law Firm, we would like to Pay It Forward 1, 2, 3, 4, $500," surprised Buffy.

"Thank you. Thank you," said Mark as the group members clapped.

Mark says all it takes is 30 minutes a week and it can change the course of a child's life.

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"I have a heart for children, whether its trying to supply them with clothes, shoes, food or just time," said Mark.

And he says seeing them succeed is music to his ears.

Do you know someone who deserves $500 cash for helping others? Nominate them here!

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