5 Georgia resources you didn’t know existed

(Design: Brittney Phan)

Oct 25, 2023

Lost your driver’s license — again? Interested in  a tax credit that benefits kids? Want to become a master gardener? There are many helpful resources available throughout Georgia’s vast governmental  labyrinth,  if you know where to look.

Here are five hidden gems to get you started:

  1. 988. Launched in Georgia in July 2022, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline connects callers to resources. Yet only 16% of Georgians are aware of it, according to a survey released earlier this year by the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. The service operates nationwide, but Georgians who use it will talk to a Georgian. The round-the-clock helpline is available in English and Spanish.  
Georgia DDS app
(Credit: Georgia DDS)
  1. Digital driver’s license. Tired of carrying your driver’s license everywhere you go? The Georgia Department of Driver Services has an app for that, called DDS 2 Go. You can now add your driver’s license or state identification card to Apple or Android devices.  It comes in handy when you’re navigating Transportation Security Administration checkpoints in airports. Georgia is among at least 10 states offering some version of the smartphone apps on Apple Wallet and Google Wallet. Learn more at the driver services website. Find out which airports accept digital driver’s licenses at tsa.gov. 
  1. Fostering Success Tax Credit. Last year,  the Georgia Legislature passed House Bill 424, known as the Fostering Success Act. This law created the Qualified Foster Child Donation Credit program. The tax credit allows taxpayers to redirect their state income tax dollars to qualified organizations that provide support services to young adults 18-21 transitioning out of foster care. Capped at $20 million a year, the money helps unadopted young adults with education, housing, counseling, medical and transportation services. Check with your tax adviser. Learn more about the tax credit at the Fostering Success Act and state Department of Revenue websites.
  1. Park and cultural attractions passes. Want to go for a hike, picnic or paddle at a state park and avoid the parking fee? Georgia’s public libraries have ParkPasses and Historic Site Passes that can be checked out like a book.  The Georgia Department of Natural Resources oversees the state parks and 13 historic sites. Find out more about checking them out from a library, and about buying passes at the state parks website.  If you’re 62 and older, you can get annual ParkPass discounts of 50% to Georgia's 49 state parks. Active military and veterans get 25% off. Passes cost $50. Learn more on the state parks website.  The Georgia Public Library Service also partners with organizations across the state to provide free or reduced cost passes to library card holders to places like the Center for Puppetry Arts, the Georgia Aquarium and the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Learn more on the Georgia libraries website
Canoes await at Fort Mountain State Park in the fall.
Canoes await at Fort Mountain State Park in the fall. (Credit: Georgia Department of Natural Resources).
  1. UGA extension service. Want to become a certified or master gardener, bee keeper or composter? Or want to find out what insects or critters are invading your house or garden? Or make sure your church or school concession stand is offering food that’s safe to eat? The UGA Cooperative Extension Service offers many programs and services, in-person and online, involving  horticulture, food, and healthy living for farmers, families and other regular folks. 

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Have questions? Contact Jill Jordan Sieder on Twitter @journalistajill or at [email protected] and Tammy Joyner on Twitter @lvjoyner or at [email protected].

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