On any given day, more than 180 children with severe psychiatric, behavioral and emotional illnesses are cared for and prepared for a future of health and hope through educational, therapeutic and vocational programs at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Georgia. Devereux was founded in 1912 and, today, is a national nonprofit partner for individuals, families, schools and communities, serving many of the most vulnerable members of our society in areas of autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, specialty mental health and child welfare. Established in Kennesaw, Georgia in 1973 at the invitation of Governor Jimmy Carter, Devereux Georgia has housed, helped and healed thousands of children with nowhere else to go for help.

This week, members from the Circle for Children delivered over 400 gifts from each child’s wish list and wrapped them for the holidays.

The Circle for Children is the oldest women’s charitable organization that benefits Georgia’s children, boasting over 300 women from around the state who generously donate their time and energy to facilitate the Circle’s mission: “To give aid and encouragement in promoting the education and welfare of children in the state of Georgia.” The 92-year-old nonprofit organization, which holds a rich tradition of giving aid and encouragement to disadvantaged children, is a 100 percent-led volunteer organization that has not just supported but changed the future for youth-serving organizations since its inception. This year and next, the organization pledged volunteer and financial support to Devereux Georgia, and members are frequently spotted on the campus serving meals, gardening or, most recently, wrapping Christmas gifts members purchased for the kids who will not be with their own families this year.

“These are the children that need our help the most,” stated Circle for Children Club President Kimberly Johnson. “We are excited we were able to make some of their wishes come true with these gifts.”

For more information on the Circle for Children, visit circle4children.org

♦ ♦ ♦

Speaking of Devereux Georgia, when the nonprofit asked the community for assistance in purchasing new coats for their 135 residential clients this past November, a group of community members chose to not shy away from the large project. Organizer Wayne Dodd, along with Karissa Bussard, Campbell Haigh, Cody Hilbun, Smith Peck and Tony Dodd, donated funds and time to make sure the correct size of each client was shopped for and delivered before the Christmas holiday. “Although this is the third season of doing this for the Devereux kids, it is always thrilling to see the joyous faces especially on the children that have never had a new coat!”

Clients arrive to Devereux Georgia, often with very few belongings, many of what they do have being hand-me-downs. Devereux Georgia serves at-risk children ages 10-21 with behavioral and mental health challenges, often with extreme trauma in their history.

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Sally Litchfield is a longtime Marietta resident. She has written for the MDJ since October 2000. Send Sally news at sallylit@bellsouth.net. Call Sally at 404-713-7318.

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