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      Alabama Forever celebrates second anniversary

      An organization known as Alabama Forever sprang out of the destruction of April 27, 2011.

      Originally, it was rooted in helping storm victims recover. Since 2011, Alabama Forever has gone beyond tornado relief.

      Alabama Forever raised nearly $300,000 in the last two years. That money has gone toward classroom supplies, sports endowments and special projects.

      "The tornado was simply a catalyst for a bigger mission that we have," co-founder Alex Sokol recalls the immediate aftermath of the April 27th tornadoes.

      "We sort of evolved into a statewide organization that funds low income school systems, with various projects including athletic equipment for high schools and junior highs, technology for schools, and community facilities," Sokol explains.{}{}{} {}Right now, Alabama Forever is raising $17,000 to help Pratt City's library, being rebuilt from the storm. The group will provide computers and build a multimedia center.

      Alabama forever also donated a gazebo across the street. "(The library) is a hallmark of the community. The people around here hadn't been able to go to the library and bring their kids there to read and watch videos. That's the kind of normalcy that we like to do," says Sokol.Another part of Birmingham escaped storm damage, but a school in the neighborhood still benefits from Alabama Forever.

      Parker High School got new uniforms for the girl's soccer team.So far, Alabama Forever has funded a little over $19,000 in athletic equipment to more than ten schools across the state.

      Sokol says, the goal is to help communities not only rebuild. But make every effort to return to a sense of normalcy. "We really didn't have a five year plan. We didn't know what it was going to be. In the last year we doubled our projects and the amount that we've given away and in five years I hope what we've done is five times of what we did," says Sokol.

      For more information on Alabama Forever, click here.

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