“We will have staff and individuals from Central State Hospital doing different routines, including wheelchair routines with about 15 individuals from the Craig Center. There will be performances from the Oconee Center, and from the individuals and staff from the Life Enrichment Center,” Diaz said. “The Georgia Military College high school band will also perform, and we will have acts from the Georgia College ballet.”
In 1958, Betty Vandiver, wife of former Georgia Gov. Ernest Vandiver, wanted to help enhance the lives of clients at CSH and to ensure each client was remembered on Christmas. She came up with the annual December M-Day event.
“If you haven’t been to this, it’s humbling. You should come see it,” said Mike Couch, director of CSHLRA. “If you want the spirit of Christmas, go to the evening program.”
Mayors throughout Georgia raise money and collect donations from their individual communities to provide gifts for the big M-Day event each year.
“We have elves that will pick out the gifts to give individuals on Christmas Day,” Diaz said. “We’ll give clothing, pajamas, socks, hair care items, shoes and anything that anyone would give to someone in their own family. The community can also donate these items as well.”
With the Craig Center slated to close operations next summer, this will be the last time staff and individuals from the building will participate in the tradition of M-Day.
“Bring your family and friends because we aren’t sure where our program will end up next year. We hope it continues because we’ve tried to expand it more to the community this year,” Diaz said. “There are many of us that are hoping that this won’t be our last event.”
To donate items to individuals of CSH this holiday season, bring them to the M-Day event, or drop off items at the Allen Building. For more information call 478-445-6057.
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