Each of our attorneys at Gary Martin Hays & Associates is involved in community outreach and support. Georgia is our home, so it is important to us all to invest in our vibrant and growing neighborhoods and provide compassionate outreach to those less fortunate.
If you would like to help or join any of the charitable organizations listed below, links have been provided.
Law firm partner Attorney Sarah Jett supports numerous initiatives, citing her faith as motivation.
“It is important to me to love God and love others — those are the two greatest commandments,” Sarah said. “All of my abilities and money are given by God to me to steward, so that is what my husband and I try to do with it. We are intentional about loving others well, with our time and money.”
She currently works with or supports the following organizations:
- Gwinnett Children’s Shelter - Sarah volunteered for their children’s babysitting program for the past few years and hosted a food drive for the organization through the Georgia Bar Association.
- Paint Love - A non-profit that provides art supplies and hosts projects for Title 1 schools and children who might not otherwise have the opportunity. Sarah once served as a board member.
- Dributts - A charity that provides reusable diapers to families in countries such as Haiti and Nicaragua. Attorney Jett went on a mission trip in 2017 with them to hand out diapers in the mountains of Honduras.
- SWAT Ministries - A Christian college ministry based out of Athens, GA that provides spiritual leadership training to middle and high school students (SWAT stands for “Students With a Testimony”).
- Georgia Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Community Service Projects Committee - The committee partners with charitable organizations around the state to do community service projects that young lawyers can participate in. It will host a blood drive with the Red Cross on May 11-15, 2020 for which young lawyers can sign up. Previous projects have included preparing and serving dinner for families with sick children at a Ronald McDonald House and volunteering with Wellspring Living for Christmas. Sarah has served as a co-chair on the committee for two years.
- Gwinnett Church - In addition to participating in services and projects provided through the church, Sarah teaches a first-graders small group and works to provide a safe and happy place for them. She said she has been with her kids since Kindergarten and has enjoyed watching them grow in their faith.
- Gwinnett Legal Aid - Provides family law assistance to lower-income individuals who need help with child custody, divorce, name changes, alimony, etc. Attorney Jett has previous experience in family law and provides pro bono representation to people needing a divorce that otherwise could not afford it in Gwinnett County (she handles one case per year).
Each organization is important to Sarah for different reasons.
“With my pro bono divorce clients, both in the past two years cried in court after they received their divorce and could move forward with their lives. It was nice to be a small part of helping them,” she said.
“My co-chair position with the Community Service Projects Committee has allowed me to serve people all over the city,” she continued. “Last year, we organized a Habitat for Humanity build and had projects in Atlanta, Savannah, and Macon all on the same day with young lawyers all helping to build homes. It was great to see an impact across the state.”
Associate attorney Shaun Carter is highly involved in the Emerging 100 of Atlanta, a group dedicated to mentoring, tutoring, and serving as role models for African-American students in the Atlanta area.
“We are comprised of high-achieving young men, aged 25-35, committed to the academic and vocational success of our youth at B.E.S.T. Academy High School and the Collegiate 100, while serving the Atlanta community as a whole,” Shaun explained. “As a former committee co-chairman, I am also a mentor and try to help the organization in any way.”
He also said that it was important to him to give back and support the up-and-coming generations.
One of the ways Emerging 100 of Atlanta does this is by raising and giving out $50,000 worth of scholarship to deserving high school students.
As a non-profit, anyone can make a charitable contribution to their mission at: http://emerging100atl.org/donate/
Although the coronavirus has made volunteering difficult, Attorney Oates said she still tries to help others when she can. She currently supports the following organizations:
- St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital - Provides life-saving medical care for children.
- Atlanta Community Food Bank/Georgia Mountain Food Bank - Provides meals to food-insecure homes. Nikki organizes a food drive every spring at the firm during the ACFB’s Legal Food Frenzy event.
- FAITH/Hope for Domestic Violence - Provides a safe place, clothes, job interview, food, etc., for mothers and children.
Nikki often volunteers her time and money to her children’s local elementary, middle, and high schools, such as purchasing updated technology and supplies for classrooms.
“I want to help children in any way I can because some children have no one to support and uplift them. I love going to the classrooms or field day and showing attention to children that may not get that love at home,” she said.
For local nursing homes, she and her kids would often visit to paint nails and read books to the residents. The smiles and appreciation they received make their efforts well worth it.
“I love seeing the smiling faces on the kids when adults play with them, or the sweet faces of the elderly when they get visitors. They are so appreciative of the time we spend with them,” Nikki said, adding that she plans to continue volunteering once things return to normal.