Santa Claus has been spotted at more than just malls and toy stores in the weeks leading up to Christmas. He even paid a visit to a nonprofit in Forsyth County.
Children were able to meet and take pictures with Santa at Mentor Me North Georgia’s 10th annual Christmas party, put on by Forsyth County Optimist clubs at Otwell Middle School, while enjoying holiday-themed festivities with their adult mentors.
Mentor Me provides one-on-one mentoring relationships between volunteer adults and children, along with other mentoring programs including after school reading.
“The smiles of children at the Christmas Party pay Optimist members in dividends that cannot be measured,” said Russ Thomas, president of the Sawnee-Cumming Optimist Club. “The Mentor Me Christmas party is just one of several Optimist community service projects that touch the lives of children.”
Attendees played games and ate pizza, but the highlight was the appearance of Old Saint Nick, who handed out presents and took a picture with every child – more than 70.
“It’s great to see the joy in our kids when they meet Santa. The evening is a refreshing opportunity for them to relax, have fun and bond with their mentors,” said Sylvia Cardona, executive director of Mentor Me.
Cardona said while Mentor Me has served a multitude of children as the nonprofit comes up on its 15th anniversary next year, many children in Forsyth County still need mentors.
Mentor Me, a United Way agency, matches volunteer swith children ages 6-17 who need or want a mentor.
Men are matched with boys and women are matched with girls.
“Most of the children in the mentoring program live in single-parent homes or are living with grandparents or foster parents,” Cardona said.
To volunteer or for more information, contact Sylvia Cardona at (678) 341-8028 or Sylvia@mentormenorthga.org or visit mentormenorthga.org.