PRESIDENT’S M e s s a g e “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Famous lyrics from one of the most famous holiday songs. When I think of the holiday season, my thoughts, my memories and my perspective are all positive. I spend my holidays surrounded by family and friends, taking the opportunity to reflect on the year, and to set goals and look forward to the future. For my children, I try my best to make it the most wonderful time of the year. Rosalyn Sia Baker-Barnes 2017-18 PBCBA President But for so many children in Palm Beach County, the holiday season is far from wonderful. The city of West Palm Beach has the largest homeless population in Palm Beach County. As recently as May of this year, 4,295 students were identified as homeless, in the Palm Beach County School District. Palm Beach County ranks #2 in the State of Florida for children living in spaces not designed for human habitation. The average age for a homeless child in Palm Beach County is age 7. Now, imagine what the holiday season is like for these children. Factors that drive these high rates of homeless children in our county include the local and national poverty rates, abuse and neglect, drug and alcohol abuse and, especially in Palm Beach County, the lack of affordable housing. We clearly have not found a way to solve these problems, but there are ways that we can help make the holiday season a little brighter in our communities. Each year, our outstanding Young Lawyers and North Country Sections do just that, through annual Holiday Party and silent auction. Through this event, we raise money to purchase gifts and host a holiday party with gifts, music, food and fun for local disadvantaged children. If you are looking for a way to give back this holiday season, consider attending and placing the highest bid at our Holiday Party and Silent Auction. If you can’t make it, I urge you take the opportunity to give back to our community in some way this year. Here are some additional ideas: •Adopt-A-Family for the holidays to make their season special •Send holiday cheer cards to local hospitalized children- cardsforhospitalizedkids.com PBCBA BAR BULLETIN 4 •Donate a Christmas Tree to Soldiers- treesfortroops.org •Donate to your favorite Charity •Serve meals at a local shelter •Adopt an elderly member from your place of worship for the Holidays It’s not always about how much money you give- simple acts of kindness can go a long way. Not only will you see an immediate benefit for the families and children these events and organizations serve, but there are numerous studies demonstrating that giving back provides a positive benefit to you, improving both your physical and mental health. Throughout this year, we have been focusing on health and wellness for lawyers, and giving back this holiday season is yet another way that we can improve our own personal happiness, sense of belonging in our communities and sense of purpose in this world. Happy Holidays!