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Jon Milavec and Falcons coach Mike Smith

Jon and Falcons coach Mike Smith

Recently, I had the pleasure of being asked by Nightglass Media Group to shoot an event with them.  Rise Up Atlanta ( had organized a day of service to help City of Refuge (, a facility located in statistically the toughest neighborhood in all of Georgia—The Bluff.  All of the possible problems you can imagine in life happen around here. But City of Refuge makes a difference and it was awesome to see what they do in person.

Hundreds of people came to lend a hand and were put to work in various groups.  Some were painting a huge mural on an interior playground wall (like Atlanta Falcons Coach Mike Smith, seen here), some were building beds to sleep on, and others were installing raised vegetable garden beds. There was a cacophony of sound that told of the work being done.  Chainsaws were cutting wood for the raised beds.  The scrape of shovels scooping out mounds and mounds of sand, dirt, and mulch. Hammers, drills and sanders were working hard to make furniture both useful and usable for those who need it.  It was the sound of help.

The entire Atlanta Falcons football team, employees of the Arthur Blank Foundation, and Home Depot employees arrived promptly at 8:30 am in buses ready to work.  Within just a short time frame, these hundreds of man-hours helped the City of Refuge’s mission to aid more people in need.

Like I’ve experienced so many times on video shoots, I felt happy and lucky to be there.  If I hadn’t chosen videography as a career, I wouldn’t have become aware of this place or met these wonderful people.  My neighborhood is safe, and there’s very little to worry about there on a daily basis.  But to hear the stories of a neighborhood like The Bluff reminds me to pay attention and appreciate my family, friends, surroundings, and work.