Lindsay Tygart-Havice – JBA Young Lawyers Section Board of Governors
By December 25th, the “giving season” may be over for most, but for the Young Lawyers Section of The Jacksonville Bar Association, there are still plenty of presents under the tree.
Anyone who has been fortunate enough to spend the holidays with children knows how their hope and excitement can make the season even more special. Whether they are decorating the Christmas tree, lighting candles for Hanukkah, singing carols, or making their lists for Santa, children embody the hope and anticipation associated with this time of year. Unfortunately, many children right here in our own community do not get to experience the joyfulness of the holiday season. Each year at this time, our local child protection agency is forced to relocate many children from unsafe or abusive homes into alternative foster care. This means that these children miss out on the holiday festivities with their new families. “Holidays in January” is a project designed to celebrate the Christmas season with those foster children and their new families. Our ultimate goal is to show these children that Santa Claus did not forget them!
The Young Lawyers Section of The Jacksonville Bar Association and the Northeast Florida Paralegal’s Association will team up with Family Support Services of North Florida Jan. 16, 2010 to sponsor this year’s “Holidays in January” project. This party includes a visit from Santa Claus, games and craft stations, pizza, sugar-filled snacks, plus bicycles and other presents for all of the children who attend.
I volunteered with the “Holidays in January” project last year and the joy in the eyes of the children attending this event was completely overwhelming. For some, it was the first time they had ever attended a Christmas party, visited with Santa or received their first bicycle. As a child growing up in this community, I cannot even imagine waking up on Christmas morning as if it were just another day of the year. No Christmas tree, no Santa Claus and no presents to open. Volunteering with this project last year not only made me realize how truly blessed I am, but it made me realize just how important and necessary it is to give back to those less fortunate, especially to children and especially at Christmas time.
In the past, “Holidays in January” has given a real Christmas to roughly 25 children. But with the assistance and generosity of local law firms and business, we hope to continue to increase this number. For information regarding volunteer or sponsorship opportunities for the “Holidays in January” project, please contact Fraz Ahmed at [email protected] or Lindsay Tygart-Havice at [email protected]
Saint Francis of Assisi said, “for it is in giving that we receive.” From my experience and participation in last year’s “Holidays in January” project, I can tell you that more truthful words have never been spoken. This holiday season gives each of us a chance to celebrate all that we have been given, but also to share those gifts with the children in this community who are desperately in need of some holiday cheer.
The YLS would like to wish each of you a safe and joyous holiday season!