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Census event draws families for fun with a message
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Diana Rosado, left, and Christina Contreras check out one of the computer displays Saturday at the U.S. Census 2010 Portrait of Hall County event at Brenau University. - photo by Tom Reed

Three-year-old Sarah Bowling enjoys Easter egg hunts, especially finding pink eggs.

Her mother, Jennifer Bowling of Gainesville, enjoyed watching Sarah search for eggs Saturday afternoon on the front lawn of Brenau University.

"That's what being a mother is, the enjoyment of your kids," Bowling said.

The Bowlings were one of many families participating in the "2010 Portrait of Hall County" event, which included the touring U.S. census bus.

Dr. Bill Lightfoot, the Dean for the School of Business of Mass Communication at Brenau University, said the purpose of the event was to increase awareness about completing the census.

Lightfoot, who is also the co-chairman for the Hall County Complete Count Committee, said everyone needs to focus on completing their forms and turning them in.

"At the end of the day it really impacts us in two ways: One is the redistricting of congressional seats in the House of Representatives, and the second way is the redistribution of tax dollars," Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot said that in the last census, Hall County was a donor county, meaning it gave money to other counties because it didn't have an accurate, complete count.

"So our goal this time is to increase the response rate so we get our fair share," Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot estimated 300 people on the Brenau lawn taking part in a variety of activities.

Families were invited to take part in the Easter egg hunt and listen to local officials and the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials discuss the importance of the decennial national head count.

"The services that we all benefit from as a result of the distribution of the funds that come back into our community impact all of us," Lightfoot said. "It is not just the young, the old, the working parents, the poor, or the wealthy — it is everybody."

Lightfoot credited Brenau interns for their hard work in organizing the event.

Lucinda Paschal, a senior and marketing major at Brenau, helped kids create an actual "portrait of Hall County" through the use of handprints.

"We were just throwing out ideas one day, and we first thought of face painting," she said. "But we thought that might be hard to do, so we came up with the idea of using handprints, which went along with the Census' theme of ‘Portrait of America.'"

Kids lined up to have their palm painted the color of their choice, and they placed their hand on a poster. The collage of handprints of all sizes and colors shows the diversity and support of Hall County.

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