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Navigating Families through Phoenix Pass

A familiar proverb claims, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." If that's true, then you might find Phoenix Pass' new executive director, Mollie Covington, baiting a few hooks.

Covington came on board this past August, bringing eight years of social work experience, from caseworker to supervisor, with the Department of Family and Children's Services. She and her husband, an associate pastor of youth and contemporary services at Conyers First United Methodist, moved to the area in 2007.

"I wasn't looking for a position. It was a complete God thing on his timing," said Covington. She had gone to Kenya earlier this year and enjoyed working in a women and children's group home. When she got back she "wasn't interested in the high volume in caseloads and wanted a more one-on-one relationship with women and children in need," she said.

"I've always enjoyed helping people grow and change," she said. "This is an opportunity to help families thrive in our community. It's also a chance for us to take care of some of own neighbors."

Phoenix Pass is a unique transitional program in partnership with Rockdale Emergency Relief and First Baptist Church. The program has garnered grants and support from the likes of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, HomeAid Atlanta, as well as numerous churches and donors. This is not an emergency shelter but a place for women and their families to live as they move from temporary homelessness to self-sufficiency. The women must go through a screening process and agree to participate in a minimum stay of six months. Covington's role to will be to guide the residents as they learn the skills to recover and rebuild their lives.

In a soft opening for the new program, three families were moved into three of the eight apartment units last week, along with a Rockdale County Sheriff's Office deputy in another apartment unit. Covington said she hopes to have all the units filled by the end of the month.

Phoenix Pass board member Ron Simpson said there was plenty of demand for the units and spots in the program. In the past three months, there were 75 calls of interested applicants and more than 25 completed applications.

The program continues to draw a lot of community support. The RYSA U-14 Select Girls held a book drive and delivered their donations. First Baptist of Conyers and Rockdale Baptist churches recently adopted the two families, providing furnishing to the apartments.

Upcoming campaigns and events include the "First Thousand Families" campaign and Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 4. First Thousand Families seeks 1,000 families to donate $10 a month, which would cover the yearly operational costs for Phoenix Pass. Details may be found at For more information, contact Mollie Covington at or at 770-760-1020.