Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Santa Came Early to Georgia Avenue Elementary!

Today was a simply wonderful day.  It was a day that not only made me smile; it renewed my hope and belief in the fact that there are wonderful people in the world who are willing to give of themselves to make a needy and at-risk child's dreams come true.

I have had a longstanding presence in Georgia Avenue Elementary School.  Georgia Avenue is located in the 38126 zip code in Memphis, and this area is not only the most impoverished area in Memphis, it is the third most impoverished zip code in the United States.  An overwhelming number of the households in this area are single family, and the children in these households are in need of some of the basic essentials many of us take for granted.  When asked what they would like Santa to bring them this Christmas, it is not unusual to hear, "a Christmas tree, clothes, or shoes."  These kids are not asking for bikes, gaming systems, and trampolines.  They are asking for things most children take for granted.

Two years ago, I approached a group of my most kind-hearted friends and asked them to join me in "adopting" a classroom at Georgia Avenue.  Six wonderful people joined my husband David and me, and we have thrown quarterly parties for our adopted class.  Today was our second annual holiday party, and we had an amazing time bringing holiday spirit to kids who may not have otherwise had a visit from Santa.  The excitement and appreciation these children exhibited today was heartwarming.  These children are beautiful and intelligent, and they deserve the opportunity to follow their dreams.  Please reach out to children in need.  I assure you that not only will you enrich the life of the child you assist, your own life will be enriched exponentially.

I want to extend my sincere appreciation to the following people who helped make this amazing day possible:  David Riley, Brandy Parrish-Wade, Melody Usdan, Tameka Perry, Keisha Richardson, LaQuange Watkins, Carly Knight, Richard Glassman, Sarah Coleman, and Edith Hurt.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Enjoy the photos from the party!

God Bless,
Mary-Marsha Riley
David and me with my sweet Devon.

The kids loved their toys from Santa!  Look at the girls cuddling their Baby Alive dolls.
Jamal, Devon, and Jaylin.  Devon loved his new New York Giants gear!
All the goodies ready to go before the party!

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