Jacksonville Jaguars Cornerback Kiwaukee Thomas, along with several other residents of Jacksonville, was on hand to witness the unveiling of the I.M. Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless' holiday card mural Tuesday, November 9th. The mural can be seen on the side wall of the downtown building.
Dillon Montgomery, the fifth-grade artist of this year's holiday card, is an 11-year-old young with a big imagination. He's a bright young boy currently on the A-B honor roll at his school, and he has a creative mind which shows through his art work. The card depicts his vision of what his house would look like during the holiday season.
With that in mind, Dillon just may see his vision come true. Both Dillon and his mother were able to move into their very own home a month ago. This upcoming holiday season will be very special for the two of them this year.
"His spirits are up," said Thomas. "I think it's great that he's on the honor roll at school. Someone from the outside looking in probably would not have thought a boy living in a shelter would make good grades, and now they have a home of their own."
The holiday card program began seven years ago as a way for the I.M. Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless to stay in touch with friends during the holiday season. It has grown into one of the center's most important fundraising events. The funds raised from sales of the card are turned into nights of shelter for many of Jacksonville's homeless men, women and children.
Thomas, who attended the unveiling of the holiday card billboard, had several thoughts about the center and the program. "I think the holiday card program is a great idea…it's a great way for a child to work hard on a project; a chance for them to really express themselves."
"I also think it's great for me to have the opportunity to be a part of the program," Thomas added. "I knew there were homeless people here in town, but until I was able to see it up close, I didn't realize that the number of families with children that don't have a place to go is so great," he said. "Serving as honorary chairman for the holiday card program puts me in a position to encourage the guests of the Sulzbacher Center that it's going to turn around."
The people of Jacksonville will get the opportunity to see the card all around town. Clear Channel Outdoor was gracious enough to donate billboard space to showcase this year's card.