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Beauty queen dreams up egg hunt for children with special needs

Are you aware of an event or project that benefits our community? Contact Shelley Mann at 770-963-9205 ext. 1305 or shelley.mann@gwinnettdailypost.com.

A 13-year-old beauty queen is organizing an Easter egg hunt for girls and boys with special needs.

Hayley Wilson of Lawrenceville, reigning Miss Georgia Junior Teen America, organized the Gwinnett Egg-stra Special Easter Egg Hunt as a way to give children with special needs the same chance at grabbing hidden eggs as other kids.

The beauty queen's platform is helping to create opportunities for people with special needs. She last made headlines with her Special Mr. and Miss Gwinnett County Pageant, which raised $750 for the Gwinnett County Special Olympics.

The idea for the hunt stemmed from Hayley's experiences with her younger sister, Rachel, who has Down Syndrome. Mom Janet Wilson remembers years when Hayley would notice Rachel's basket was almost empty and would sneak some of her own Easter eggs into her sister's basket.

The hunt will run from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Hadaway Subdivision Clubhouse, located at the corner of Ga. Highway 124 and Old Fountain Road in Lawrenceville. The hunt will be divided into age groups: one for ages 5 and under, one of ages 6 to 10, one for ages 11 to 15 and one for ages 16 and up. The cost is $5 per child, which includes an Easter basket, refreshments and games. For more information, call 770-339-5406.

Woman takes

sabbatical to

help children

A Stone Mountain woman recently left on a paid sabbatical from Xerox to pursue her passion as a children's legal advocate.

Charlene Saulter, who has been a field service manager at Xerox for 30 years, will spend six months volunteering full-time with the DeKalb County Court Appointed Special Advocate's office. She'll coordinate a team of court-appointed special advocates as they represent children before the courts.

"What greater need is there than speaking for a child?" said Saulter, 52. "When the judge swore me in, the reality of being a change agent in a child's life was a profound gift. When I think of children being hurt, abused or not cared for by the persons that gave them life, who can they trust?"

Xerox Corporation, based in Connecticut, granted Saulter's leave under its Social Service Leave program, part of the company's tradition of helping employees to give back to their communities, said Xerox spokeswoman Karen Arena. She's one of eight Xerox employees in the nation selected for this year's program, and this is the third time in her Xerox career she's taking time off to follow her passion for volunteering.

Saulter, who lives with her husband in Stone Mountain, describes herself as a woman who "lives for volunteering." She's previously helped battered women at a women's center and managed a summer program to keep underprivileged teens off the streets.

Humane Society's Pet Parade will be at Candler Park

The Atlanta Humane Society will host its 16th annual Pet Parade on Saturday at Candler Park.

This year, Hurricane Katrina survivor Foxy, an Australian Cattle Dog, will lead the pack of 400 cats and dogs. At the event will also be games, animal-related vendors, demonstrations by Greater Atlanta Dog & Disc Club and the Canine Academy & Playschool's Agility Course.

Registration is required, and participants must collect at least $25 in pledges to walk in the parade. Other festivities are free to the public. Visit www.atlantahumane.org or the Humane Society at 981 Howell Mill Road in Atlanta.