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Clubs throw holiday party
Optimists 'bring out best in kids'
Mentor WEB
Santa Claus arrives at the Mentor Me North Georgia Christmas party, which was sponsored by the Sawnee-Cumming and Cumming-Forsyth Optimist clubs. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

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Mentor Me North Georgia is always in need of adult mentors and volunteers for its various programs, as well as financial donations. For more information, go to or contact Sylvia Cardona at (678) 341-8028 or

Two local Optimist clubs recently came together to brighten the holiday season for students involved with Mentor Me North Georgia.

The Sawnee-Cumming and Cumming-Forsyth clubs joined forces to present the annual holiday gathering at Otwell Middle School.

The party is the perfect fit for Optimist clubs, said Michele Sansenbach, president of the Sawnee-Cumming club.

“The mission of the Optimist Club is to bring out the best in kids,” she said. “We do that through community service projects that reach children, especially those in need — not just financial, but in all areas, including physical and emotional needs.”

The clubs provided food, games and other fun activities for about 100 children and adults involved in mentoring programs through the nonprofit.

A highlight of the Dec. 5 party was a visit from Santa Claus, who handed out gifts and posed for photos.

Mentor Me North Georgia’s primary mission is to provide one-on-one mentoring relationships between adults and children, but it is also reaching many more children through school-day and after-school volunteer programs.

The organization works with children ages 6 to 17. Girls are matched with women and boys with men.

The adult mentors commit to spending at least one hour each week with their mentee.

Sylvia Cardona, executive director, said the annual Christmas event is anticipated all year.

“It’s the highlight of the year for most of the kids,” she said. “Everyone always has a wonderful time.”

Sansenbach said the same holds true for the Optimists.

“It’s so great to see the smiles on the children’s faces and it puts smiles on our faces too,” she said.