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Project Adventure Kids needs some holiday help

COVINGTON -- The holidays are traditionally a time to spend with family, but some local teens won't have that opportunity.

Residents at Project Adventure Kids, a local nonprofit that houses abused, neglected and troubled youth, are in need of a little holiday uplift, and the staff is asking the community to help.

Between 70 and 85 teens and young adults ages 14 to 20 will be spending the holidays with Project Adventure. Many have been placed there by the Department of Family and Children Services and won't see their families for Christmas, Executive Director Aaron Nicholson said.

"We are their family," he said.

The teens have been notified that Christmas gifts and celebrations will be scaled back this year. Like many organizations and businesses, the Project Adventure staff is being furloughed one to two weeks per quarter to keep operations running in a down economy.

"Practically every American across the nation is going to have a scaled-back Christmas, and I didn't want to sugarcoat it for my children," Nicholson said.

But the staff is still hoping to provide the teens with gifts to open on Christmas morning.

Individuals and groups are encouraged to adopt a teen. A list of gifts for under $50 is available from Project Adventure.

In addition, the staff wants to take the kids on outings to the bowling alley, movies and restaurants. Monetary donations toward activity days are needed. Checks can be made payable to Project Adventure Kids and should be sent to Holiday Fund, c/o Project Adventure Kids, P.O. Box 2447, Covington, GA 30015.

Gift cards to stores like Wal-Mart and Target are also welcome.

General monetary donations are also being accepted to pay for school supplies and therapeutic programs.

Project Adventure routinely has "dress up days" for the kids, so donations of dress clothes are needed, along with personal items such as socks, underwear and pajamas.

Several teens also need assistance with college expenses. Project Adventure has started a college fund and has a list of items donors can purchase to help. The organization is also in need of a used laptop for use by several teens.

For more information, call Donna Auchenbach at 770-490-8817 or Aaron Nicholson at 770-784-9310.

Donations may be dropped off at the Project Adventure campus, located at 396 Elks Club Road in Covington, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The deadline for holiday gift donations is Dec. 18. All donations are tax deductible.