Some residents are spreading their holiday cheer by decorating Christmas trees for the 15th annual Night in Lights.
The event benefits the West Georgia Prevention and Advocacy Resource Center.
“We are raising money so we can continue to help the community through our services that are for people who are victims of sexual assault, but also families, spouses and people who are impacted by sexual assault on a secondary basis,” said Executive Director Rob Dial.
The Night in Lights will be held at the Bradley Street Train Depot tonight from 7-10 p.m. Participants who buy tickets will be able to bid during an auction on Christmas trees and wreaths.
Dial said the center does a lot of work in the community and schools in giving prevention programs and educational programs.
“In schools, we reach from kindergarten all the way to college, and then the community in general,” Dial said. “The reason why this event is successful after 15 years is because of the tremendous generosity of the county and the city. It is successful because of the individuals and businesses that show up to decorate the trees.”
The center is able to provide the trees to be decorated because of its corporate sponsorships that help pay for the event.
“Then we have sponsors of the trees that are individuals and local businesses that come in and donate products off the shelves which go onto the trees,” said Dial. “The individuals will go out and buy decorations that have a theme.
“It is also the individuals who show up to the event as part of their holiday celebrations and they buy a tree to give back to the community,” Dial said. “This is an important event because we look to raise about half of the money for the next year. We have grants funded through federal and state agencies of course but we still have to raise money locally to help supplement that.”
The West Georgia Prevention and Advocacy Resource Center covers Haralson, Carroll, Heard and Coweta counties.
“I have been participating in this event as an individual since 2004,” Holly Pope said Thursday as she decorated her tree. “I started when I was working at Villa Rica High School and my students helped but when I moved out of the school system I continued to do this.”
Pope works for McGraw-Hill and is given days on which she is allowed to do services for the community. That opportunity has allowed her to continue to give back to the community, but also a chance to teach her daughter about giving back.
“The biggest thing about this event is seeing how many people come together and do something for others,” said Pope. “It is a wonderful community where we can have the opportunity to use our time to help each other.”