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Santa sighting at local bank
Board hosts party for foster children
Jr. Board pic 2
Junior Board Members, from left, Kimi Wallace, Robert Dean, Alyssa Abe and Paige Reece sell baked goods at the board’s Christmas party last Friday. The event was an effort to raise funds for a $500 scholarship to give to a high school senior at the end of the school year. - photo by Photo/Elizabeth Hamilton

There was a Santa sighting last Friday at the local United Community Bank’s Ga. 400 location.


Santa was participating in a Christmas party put together by the Junior Board of Directors of United Community Bank from Dawson County High School.


The party was hosted for local foster children. Children of all ages, along with their families, were welcomed to join in the festivities.


The event was organized by the junior board and was the first event the group had ever organized for foster children.


“They wanted the foster kids and their families to have something fun to go to that was free and enjoyable for both the kids and parents,” said Jennifer Baker, co-founder and sponsor of the board, and business development officer for United Community Bank.


“We supplied snacks, hot chocolate, played musical chairs to let everyone relax and enjoy the holiday season,” she added.


At the party, participants could get a free picture taken with Santa, get their face painted, make an ornament for their Christmas tree, make picture frames and other holiday crafts.


All of the crafts and activities were organized by the members of the junior board.


“We all thought about the things we enjoyed as kids in order to come up with ideas for things to do at the party,” said board member Mallory Burt.


“I am really into Christmas and the holiday season,” said Junior Board Treasurer Amy Ledford. “I am excited about this event and I hope to make this Christmas something special for these kids.”


The junior board consists of 11 high school seniors.


In order to become a member, a student has to fill out an application at the end of their junior year of high school.


They are then selected at the beginning of their senior year by Dawson County High School guidance counselor Marjorie Poss, Kara Hewatt, head sponsor of the board and marketing coordinator at United Community Bank, and Baker.


With a main focus of community service, the group is asked by the sponsors to put together three events throughout the year that will benefit different groups and or aspects of the community; one for the school, one for the bank, and one of their choice.


This year the students on the junior board will also hold a fundraiser to give a $500 scholarship to a senior at the end of the school year.


The students also had a bake sale going on during the Christmas party as part of their project for the scholarship. Brownies, cookies, cakes, and other baked goods, prepared by the students, could be purchased for a donation to help fund the scholarship.


“While the main focus of the group is community service, we try to fit in opportunities for the kids to learn about banking as well,” said Baker.


“This program is a good experience for the students, and also an excellent opportunity for community involvement,” said Hewatt.


“Being part of the board has been a great way for us to become more involved in our community,” said board member Robert Dean. “It lets people in the community see high school students giving back and gaining experience to better themselves for their future.”


E-mail Elizabeth Hamilton at