Mark your calendar for the Moultrie Service League’s 8th Annual Santa Stroll ‘n Roll on Saturday, December 7th.  This family fun run is a 1.7 mile race around the Courthouse.  We encourage you to bring your scooters, skateboards, bikes, hoverboards, strollers, skates, wagons, unicycles or your best running shoes and join the fun!  To sign up, visit runsignup.com and search for Santa Stroll ‘n Roll.  

This year we have some exciting new events leading up to the race.  At 5:00, the man himself, Santa Claus, will be taking a break from making toys and will join us at the Amphitheater to read The Night Before Christmas.  Make sure you are on your best behavior because there’s still time to be added to his naughty list!

At 5:30, the Arts Center will present a live performance of the Nativity Story.  You won’t want to miss the telling of the birth of the Christ child.   

At 6:15, runners, walkers, joggers and scooters will line up at the start line for the 4-lap race around the Courthouse. You will have such a holly jolly time, the 1.7 miles will fly by, faster than Santa’s reindeer (or golf cart in our case).

Besides the race being a ton of fun, you’ll want to enjoy this festive evening because it raises money for a wonderful cause.  The race is put on by the Moultrie Service League. You may have seen the Service League’s name around town and wondered what exactly that is, or you might think it’s just a longer way of saying the Arts Center.  We are actually a woman-led organization in our 73rd year of service to the community. At present, we strive to expose children in the community to the arts, but the Service League has a rich history of civic involvement in many areas.

The Moultrie Service League was founded in 1946 by 10 charter members.  Originally, the League was organized to connect local volunteers and funds with opportunities that had an emphasis on serving the children’s needs.  In those first years, members supported the Moultrie Youth Center, started a free dental clinic, and took the steps to establish a local speech school.  In 1973, with the help of the League, the speech school eventually was able to support itself through private and government funding and grants.  When this happened, the League needed a new major project. A movement was starting across the nation to connect art and cultural opportunities to local communities.  This interest in arts education took root in League members.  The Colquitt County Arts Council was formed in 1977 to address these needs. Therefore, fundraising efforts shifted toward converting the Moultrie High School into a cultural arts center. A partnership with the Colquitt County Arts Council and the soon-to-be created Colquitt County Arts Center was born!

The League would continue to fundraise and volunteer in art-related activities in the community.  They hosted tours of homes, they brought in performance artists, they sold popcorn at the Expo – all in the name of infusing Colquitt County with the arts. In 1982, the school board sold the former Moultrie High School building to the Arts Council.  The League spearheaded a Capital Campaign that ensued to raise money for the extensive renovations needed to turn the school into a center for the arts. On April 13, 1986, the Colquitt County Arts Center hosted its grand opening and has been open for business ever since.

While it may sound like the League is only a fundraising arm of the Arts Center, it is not. While we provide funds needed for projects at the Arts Center, the goal of the League continues to be servicing children’s needs. In 1985, the League provided face painting to the Very Special Arts Festival and Special Olympics.  While we no longer paint faces at these events, we paint faces at the Art Arcade at the Annual Spring Fling. We have continued to partner with the Program for Exceptional Children where we host a prom for students in Colquitt County and surrounding areas.

The arts often fall victim to the chopping block in schools nationwide in favor of core work, and the League recognized this deficiency early on.  The League piloted an “Art in the Schools” program in 1987 which targeted all 5th grade students in the county. Members went into all Colquitt County schools and instructed students in various art projects. Members no longer go into the schools; instead the League created the Kaleidoscope Children’s Museum at the Colquitt County Arts Center in 1999. All second graders in the school system, and oftentimes fourth graders, take a field trip to our museum to receive an entire day of art instruction.

The Moultrie Service League’s commitment to servicing children’s needs for art education and exposure has remained strong during its 73-year existence.  While our projects, fundraisers, and civic involvement have all evolved over the years, our pledge to enhance the lives of children in the community will never cease.

The League is grateful for their many community partners and our county’s support.  When you sign up for the Santa Stroll ‘n Roll, Casino night, buy a roll of wrapping paper, or attend a League-related event, you are not just an attendee; your attendance ensures children have creative opportunities for years to come. I encourage you to join the Moultrie Service League on Saturday, December 7th at the Stroll ‘n Roll, or at our other future events.

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