Donna Carson, a faculty member in the Department of Pediatrics
in the School of Medicine recently received the 2002 Biography Community
Hero award, as part of The Biography Community Heroes Exhibit. The
award recognizes the achievements and contributions to the community
by 10 individuals from the Atlanta area who exemplify inspirational
Carson, who has spent 25 years as a social worker and as an Emory
faculty member, received the award on behalf of her work as founder
of My House, an emergency shelter that provides a home for newborns
with special medical problems. My House is a nonprofit organization
operating under the auspices of Project Prevent within the pediatrics
The awards were presented on June 7, at Lenox Square. Recipients
were recognized for their contributions in the arts, community service,
philanthropy, athletics, and public service.
The ceremony was part of The Biography 15 Years Celebration
Tour, which is visiting 10 cities nationwide from mid-April
through mid-July, honoring a total of 100 community heroes across
the country. The multimedia exhibit is touring to celebrate the
15th anniversary of the Emmy-award-winning A&E Network program
Other notable award recipients in Atlanta included Coretta Scott
King, civil rights activist and widow of the late Rev. Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr., and David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General
and director of the National Center for Primary Care at Morehouse
School of Medicine.
Carson said it was an honor to be recognized for her efforts.
The award was so unexpected, she said. Receiving
recognition like this moves My House into an arena where were
recognized not just nationally, but also in our own community. It
shows us that what were doing makes a difference.
My House was founded in 1999 as a companion piece to Project Prevent,
which has been a model program for community intervention for more
than a decade. Project Prevent, which Carson created, uses information
from sources as varied as law enforcement, hospitals and womens
shelters, to find drug-addicted pregnant women and coax them into
With My House, Carson takes community involvement one step further.
It is a home for children who a termed boarder babies.
They are babies who are healthy enough to leave the hospital, but
often need more medical attention than can be given in foster care
(many are born addicted to drugs). Often, these babies have nowhere
else to go. Their parents could be on the streets, addicted to drugs
or simply long gone.
The children, who are placed at My House, a Victorian-era home
in Midtown that was renovated by volunteers, can be reunited with
their parents within a year if the family is deemed fit and the
child healthy. If not, after a year, the children can be made available
Carsons work with My House previously has been recognized
by Atlantas WXIA-TV, which honored her with an 11 Alive Community
Service Award. The American Institute of Public Service has given
Carson a Jefferson Award for Public Service, and she has received
a Use Your Life Award from the Angel Network of the
Oprah Winfrey Show. Accompanying that award was a $100,000 donation.