Mentor Me kids enjoy Christmas, Santa

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CUMMING, Ga. — The 2012 Mentor Me Christmas party provided holiday fun, food and festivities for 100 children and adults involved in the mentoring program of the Forsyth County nonprofit organization Dec. 5.

But the highlight of the party was an appearance by Santa Claus, who handed out presents and had his picture taken with each of the kids. Mentor Me North Georgia provides one-on-one mentoring relationships between volunteer adults and children.

This year’s event was held at Otwell Middle School in Cumming.

The annual Christmas party is sponsored by the Sawnee-Cumming Optimist and Cumming-Forsyth Optimist clubs.

Sawnee Optimist Club President Michele Sansenbach said that the club partners with local organizations like Mentor Me to reach children.

“The mission of the Optimist Club is to bring out the best in kids,” Sansenbach 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.

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

Sansenbach said in order to support activities like the Christmas party, they need to continue their fundraising efforts, which included a golf tournament this year.

The golf tournament raised more than $21,000, and the club netted $15,000, which was split with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

“We also partner with them to focus on cancer in children. That is another important goal of Optimist International,” Sansenbach said.

Sylvia Cardona, executive director of Mentor Me, said everyone had a wonderful time.

“It’s the highlight of the year for most of the kids,” Cardona said.

For more information or to volunteer, call Cardona at 678-341-8028, visit www.mentormenorthga.org or email sylvia@mentormenorthga.org.