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Mentor Me North Georgia Rings in the Holiday Season

The Forsyth County non-profit organization held its annual Christmas party for the adults and children involved in the mentoring program.

Mentor Me North Georgia recently celebrated its annual Christmas party, providing holiday fun, food, and festivities for about 100 children and adults involved in the mentoring program of the Forsyth County non-profit organization. 

The party, sponsored by the Sawnee-Cumming Optimist and Cumming-Forsyth Optimist Clubs, partners with local organizations like Mentor Me to reach children, according to Michele Sansenbach, club president.

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

Mentor Me North Georgia provides one-on-one mentoring relationships between volunteer adults and children ages 6 - 17, who need and want a mentor. Men are matched with boys, and women are matched with girls. They share everyday activities such as sports, movies, or going to the park, museum, and music events.

"For the Christmas party in particular, it's so great to see the smiles on the children's faces," said Sansenbach. "And, it puts smiles on our faces too.  Children are our future, and it's gratifying to see them having fun."

Sansenbach added that in order to support activities like a Christmas party and accomplish the organization's goals, funds must be raised through community projects.

"Our big event this year was our golf tournament," she said. "It raised more than $21,000, and we netted $15,000, which was split with Children's Health Care. We also partner with them to focus on cancer in children. That is another important goal of Optimist International."

The highlight of this year's party, held at Otwell Middle School in Cumming, was appearance by Santa Claus, who handed out presents and had his picture taken with each of the kids.

“Everyone had a wonderful time, it’s the highlight of the year for most of the kids,” said Sylvia Cardona, Mentor Me's executive director.

More about Mentor Me

Most of the children in the mentoring program live in single-parent homes, or are living with grandparents or foster parents. A survey of children involved in the Forsyth County program showed that 81 percent experienced increased self-confidence and self-esteem. Also, 92 percent maintained or demonstrated improvement in academic performance and behavior.

Mentor Me is a Forsyth County United Way agency. However, the organization depends on private donations for 50 percent of its funding. To volunteer or make a tax-deductible donation, contact Sylvia Cardona at 678-341-8028 or send her an e-mail. To learn more visit the website.

You might also be interested in reading:

Local Mentors Honored at Annual Breakfast Event

Local Volunteers Honored for Their Work

Mentor Me Raises More Than $17K at Recent Event

Mentor Me-North Georgia Turns 10

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