A letter about giving back at the holidays from Marketing Director Carey Kersten.
No one would mistake me for a Hallmark-Movie-Channel-watching/Christmas-carols-in-October kind of person. I’m not. My go-to emotion tends to be what I like to call skeptical cynicism. I can do exasperation and righteous indignation like a champ. And I’m probably lucky that my eyes didn’t stick That Way when I was a kid. Or, like, yesterday.
With that said, this is by far my favorite time of year. My blended family celebrates Hanukkah and Christmas, so the entire month of December is festive in my house. It’s a great time of year at work, too – the AVLF Winetasting is a pleasant and distant memory, so we have a few weeks to breathe before diving headfirst into 2018.
As I type this, my dining room table at home is piled high with presents, but none of them are for my family. (Sorry, kids.) Each year, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation’s Junior Board of Directors adopts a family for the holidays, which is a project that I’m proud I helped start even before I started working here. With Liz Whipple’s help, my former coworkers and I sponsored one AVLF client’s holiday season. What started out as a small project spread like wildfire, and we ended up with so many gifts that they nearly didn’t fit in the back of a large SUV.
There are three weeks left for you to make someone’s 2017 bigger and brighter than it was. Call the power company and offer to pay a stranger’s bill. Buy a toy for a child whose parents are struggling to make ends meet. Donate to AVLF.
I love that we’ve continued that tradition at AVLF. Our Junior Board is a collection of enthusiastic, fun, smart, generous people who freely give their time and energy to make others’ lives brighter. For that matter, so is our staff. Safe and Stable Families Director Jamie Perez and her team thoughtfully choose one domestic violence client each year whose story is particularly compelling – the single dad with four kids who worked two jobs to make ends meet; the mom of seven whose ex-husband strangled her in front of their five-year-old; the young woman who was so excited when she found out she could provide her kids with Christmas gifts that she choked back a scream because she was at work – and the Junior Board goes to work.
I think it’s true that there’s no such thing as a truly selfless act, since the doer gets warm fuzzies from doing something nice for someone else. (See? Cynic.) But I don’t care. I like helping other people, and I like that working here means I get to help people help other people. It makes me feel like the world is an okay place, despite what the news alerts on my phone try to tell me every day.
My boss and mentor Marty Ellin is about a million times kinder than I am. (Though to be fair, he’s about a million times kinder than most people.) I look to him – literally and figuratively – when I need answers about why life is so inherently unfair. I just reread his November letter, and I am struck by how he ended it: “Join us when you want to do something meaningful and real.”
I echo him. There are three weeks left for you to make someone’s 2017 bigger and brighter than it was. Call the power company and offer to pay a stranger’s bill. Buy a toy for a child whose parents are struggling to make ends meet. Donate to AVLF.
Join us on the warm fuzzy side. It’s nice here.
Please consider a holiday gift to AVLF this giving season to support all of our programs in 2018.