IAG members, Laurie, George and Michele, served as elves with the 2009 Atlanta Bar Association Santa Project, supported by the Atlanta Bar Foundation. The Santa Project was created by Judge Jackson Bedford in 1993. Every year, judges and lawyers and friends of the Bar exchange their black robes and somber three-piece suits for Santa suits and elf hats to share Christmas with disadvantaged kids in youth centers and children’s hospitals, as well as the USO and other non-profit organizations.
On December 20, Michele joined Judge Bedford, Chris McFadden, Sean Stokes, Katie and Justin Connell, Tracy Weiss, and other Family Law Section members at the Rick McDevitt Youth Center in Atlanta. The center was full of kids, parents, and youth center staff. The rooms in the back of the center were lined with huge stacks of Christmas presents, courtesy of various companies with which Rick McDevitt has established relationships over the years. Judge Bedford acted as lead elf this year, and Chris was Santa Claus, sitting in pictures with over 280 kids. The other volunteers took stations to stock the Polaroid cameras with film, take tickets, help youth center staff distribute presents and guide children after their picture with Santa.
When asked about the experience, Michele replied, “Many of the kids had never had their picture taken with Santa. In as much as the kids were excited about the wonder of Santa and presents, the parents were grateful for a chance to partake in a Christmas tradition that many people take for granted.”
Laurie and George and their three daughters joined Judge Bedford, Debbie Gold and her friend Steve, and others at the USO on Christmas day to send a group of troops off to Afghanistan. Laurie said, “it was wonderful for us to be able to send those troops off with cheers and claps. Even the travelers sitting in the Atrium joined us. We spoke with one young man who lives in New Orleans and is on his second tour of duty to Afghanistan. He had been home for 9 days and was headed back out on Christmas Day. No matter what your political views are, you have to appreciate the sacrifice these young people are making.””
“We really love the Atlanta Bar Association Santa Project because it brings together people of all religions whose goal is to bring smiles to the faces of children. I was most impressed when I realized that the Jewish Elves are the ones who deliver gifts to the Children’s Hospital on Christmas Day.”
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