On Dec. 12 at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Buckhead, Caroline, her mother, Laurie Helton, brother Dillon, 18, and seven other North Atlanta students brought Christmas to parents of children at Agape Community Center in northwest Atlanta, which has a program at Trinity.
Mabrey and Helton collected gifts from friends and neighbors for the kids to pick out to give to their parents for Christmas.
Mabrey said originally, they had planned for about 150 children, so they collected about 400 to 500 gifts. About 130 elementary school students got to get gifts for their parents.
“My mom and I were discussing giving programs,” said Mabrey. “Agape is one a lot of people don’t know about. I thought since I had so many resources around me, I could get people to donate.”
Agape is a community center that serves the children and families in the Bolton Road community.
Its mission is to end the generational cycle of poverty by providing summer, after-school and English-learning programs and emergency assistance.
“We were really excited about it, because our kids don’t have the opportunity or resources to shop for their parents,” said Nell Benn, Agape’s executive director. “It’s different. Our kids are so excited about it. Also, a lot of our high school students attend North Atlanta, so it’s kind of neat to have North Atlanta kids giving back to their community.”
In addition, Mabrey has a jewelry business, which has gained nonprofit status, according to Helton, because the teen has donated so much of the proceeds to autism research and awareness.
Mabrey said she hopes to continue the gift event for years to come.
Other North Atlanta student volunteers included Kittie Feiber, William Crawford, Michael Crawford, Austin Zizzi, Collier East, Caroline Langley and Dyanne Horgan.