ROSWELL, Ga. — Close to 200 people gathered at the wooded home of Roswell Mayor Jere Wood Sunday for the fourth Birthday Fundraiser to benefit the Child Development Association.
This year’s celebrant was the Rev. Dr. Malone Dodson, retired senior minister at Roswell United Methodist Church. Dodson was celebrating his 80th birthday.
The evening’s array of food, music, dancing and mingling drew a host of dignitaries, including U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, Fulton County Sheriff Theodore Jackson and state Sen. Josh McKoon of Columbus, who is running for Georgia Secretary of State.
Co-chairs for the event, Bob Hagan and Claudia Wood said they expected the evening’s turnout would raise $15,000 for scholarships to the preschool.
“These are scholarships for God’s children,” Hagan said. “We want people to come out and celebrate someone in our community who supports the CDA. We’re having a blast.”
Maggie DeCan, CEO and executive director of the Child Development Association, thanked all the attendees for providing the support to help children in the community better prepare for their education.
“The organization is exceptionally lucky,” she said. “Next year we hope to have an event to celebrate our 50th birthday.”
The Child Development Association educates children from 1 to 4 years of age, children who would not otherwise be able to attend preschool. It provides affordable early learning programs and childcare, enabling working parents to maintain full-time employment to support their families.
“What you do is very important,” DeCan said. “The first 2,000 days of a child’s life makes all the difference, and you really help us do what we do every day.”
With musical accompaniment from The Relix, Dodson took the stage to lead the crowd in “Happy Birthday,” while attendees lit the candles on his birthday cake, supplied by Rhodes Bakery.
“It’s fun to be here,” Dodson told the crowd before taking to the dance floor with his wife, Charlotte. “It’s fun to be anywhere.”