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Around Cornerstone: News

Senior Riley Galat Demonstrates the Grace of Giving

Cornerstone seniors are required to complete a capstone project, during which they consider their God-given gifts, talents, interests, and passions as they explore a final in-depth service project.   

Components of the Senior Legacy Project include:

  • Community service focused on a social impact cause

  • Written research paper and reflection

  • Adjudicated oral presentation

This month, we interviewed Riley Galat about the Fall Festival Event that she created to benefit the refugee children of Clarkston, GA. 

Clarkston, Georgia - Ellis Island of the South

Known as one of the most diverse square miles in the United States and home to thousands of refugees, Clarkston is a suburb of Atlanta. 

In addition to nearly 13,000 refugees, Clarkston is also home to more than 90 unreached people groups. “I first learned about the city of Clarkston through West Ridge Church, where our family attends,” said Galat.  

Envision Atlanta

“West Ridge Church has been a solid supporter of Envision Atlanta in Clarkston, the ministry that I partnered with for my project,” added Galat.  

Founded in 2017, Envision Atlanta is a ministry that tackles the many needs of the people in Clarkston.

There are many religions represented in Clarkston; you will find a Buddhist temple, a Hindu temple, and a mosque all on the same street. These refugees are often tolerant of every religion, except for Christianity. This is why Envision Atlanta is passionate about advancing the Kingdom of Heaven in Clarkston.  

Leaving a Legacy 

“From the moment my parents and I started thinking about what I should do for my Senior Legacy Project, I had been thinking about Clarkston. I was beyond excited to be helping with the kids, particularly those who live in the apartment homes in Parc 1000,” said Galat. "I decided to plan a fall festival and trunk-or-treat event for the kids of Clarkston. The idea came to me as I was driving to school one Tuesday morning. I just wanted to create an opportunity to really just love on them in a way that they could enjoy themselves and just be kids,” shared Galat.

"As I talked to my mentor, Stephanie, about this idea, she suggested that I should not host this event around Halloween, as it may come across as offensive to some religions, says Galat.

Stephanie, who grew up in Africa as a missionary’s daughter, has a huge heart for the children of Clarkston. She is in charge of the events team at Envision Atlanta.

"As we started really planning what was going to take place for the event, it began to evolve into more of a fall family fair with games such as plunger toss, cornhole, and Plinko," said Galat.

Trunk or Treat Time! 

A Team Effort

The event took place on November 14, and Galat describes it as wonderfully organized chaos! 

“The children were always smiling and never had a frown on their faces,” recalled Galat. “One of my favorite memories from the experience was with a little boy named Khana. He was just overjoyed and happy to be alive and that really impacted me because he has very few material things, and he can still find joy every day,” observed Galat. 

Clarkston families enjoying the fall festival!

“I’d like to also thank my fellow Cornerstone seniors Alynda Sines and Gavin McCollum for being willing to help by adding their car trunks to the event, as well as to my good friend, Kennedy Kington, for helping me out,” said Galat. “We received lots of positive feedback from the kids, who absolutely loved the candy and the games!”  

Gavin McCollum (12) and Alynda Sines (12) help with the fall festival

“If given the opportunity to go to Clarkston again just to play with these children and interact with them, I would do it a thousand times over,” concluded Galat.

"This is My Commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

John 15:12

While planning and organizing isn’t everyone’s gift, we can all serve our local community.  Take time to think about all the gifts God has given you. How can you use these gifts and talents to serve others?  Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you! 




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