Mike and Leda Owens were honored on a television broadcast for their work as Mr. and Mrs. Claus for deaf children this year.
Imagine sitting on Santa’s lap and he asks you what you want for Christmas, but you can’t understand what he’s saying.It happens every year for children who are deaf.
But a “Signing Santa” changes the narrative for so many kids in the community.
“So there’s quite a few kids out there that appreciate being able to talk to a Santa they can communicate with,” said Santa Claus, known as Mike Owens.
His career in banking, technology and marketing blossomed, as did his family. He was part of the five-person team that created the largest ATM network in the country and launched national credit and debit card processing services. The bank acquired a card processing company in Atlanta and asked John to move to run marketing for the new company. He never became a high school track coach, but he fit in coaching kids in track & field for twenty years. One morning he woke up and realized that until then he'd done what he had to do, and it was now possible to do what he wanted to do. He sold his company and began a career as an author. Experience in finance, sports, and life makes John's writing richer, layered, and more believable. He writes all his work for publication and adaptation to film. The freedom of writing fiction and the joy of entertaining readers is a dream fulfilled.
Although a native Virginian, Pat has branded herself as a Georgia Peach for over 35 years. She acknowledges having no financial credentials, but is uniquely qualified to pen her first book, "Snowball Investing," on financial matters as a result of a family crisis and the knee-jerk urgency to transform her own finances. Using the principles of stewardship, she recounts in detail the steps taken to erase all debts and to create a comprehensive financial portfolio to outweigh unforeseen future expenses.
Pat’s first published work appeared in the book, "In Search of a Match Black & White," by Dan Moore, Sr. She relives her journey with a perfect stranger, a leukemia patient in desperate need of a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. Their recollection of the donor/recipient process is highlighted from both vantage points. Over the last three decades, Pat has also penned an assortment of unpublished poems for personal encouragement and as gifts to friends.
Pat’s college degrees in occupational therapy and counseling, as well as her past and present association with “helps” industries including real estate and the world-renown Reliv International, Inc., have given her a lifetime of opportunities to meet people in desperate and hurting places, and guide them towards a state of hope and purpose.
Pat can be contacted via her website, www.snowball-investing.com, and followed on her Facebook page, Snowball Investing. She shares practical money-saving tips and articles of inspiration to encourage readers to rid themselves of the debt blob in order to protect ones’ greatest asset producer, their income. Pat enjoys reading, sewing, and traveling with her husband Sumner Anthony Smith. She is personally inspired each time she ministers at Gilgal, Inc., a faith-based drug and alcohol women’s transitional facility in Atlanta. She is also active in her home church, Berean Bible Baptist Church in Atlanta.
Book Signing - Woodstock, Georgia 30188 - The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta: Saturday June 29th, 2019
Mike has been writing since Middle School – short stories about friends and their adventures in strange and exotic places. Stories that would wind up, sooner or later, buried in some trash can by a mother who believed a neat and tidy room was next to godliness. It was no big deal at the time- a career in writing wasn’t in his thinking. It was just a fun thing to do while entertaining himself.
As a senior in high school in Metairie, Louisiana, Mike won the Journalism Gold Medal Award; a prize he cherished - especially since he was competing against some of the smartest students in the class. Even at this point, he still never considered writing as more than a pleasurable pastime. He continued to write in college and was recognized for his attributes in writing, especially by his history professor, Dr. Thomas Howell.
In his first job at Pinecrest State School in 1974 as a Speech Therapist,, he collaborated with Nathan Canella, the music therapist, to produce Eggs! Eggs! Eggs! an Easter musical that was performed at the school for many years afterwards. He also wrote his first instructional manual for teaching sign language to non-verbal students at the school. Later, as an Educational Consultant for the Department of Education in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he wrote numerous training manuals for special education teachers and administrators covering a variety of special needs students.
In 1995, Mike traveled to Costa Rica and taught there for three years. He continued writing about the wonderful people he encountered while traveling around the country. The bug to write was still there, but the thought of becoming a published author, was not part of his life’s equation.
It wasn’t until about five years later, after returning to the states, did the urge to publish take hold. It took almost ten years to finish writing two young adult books. It was after retiring, and a move to Georgia before he realized the opportunity to become published. Only after becoming a part of the Scribblers’ Christian writers group in Norcross did publishing his works become a reality. Mike gives much credit to Charles de Andrede, the leader of Scribblers, for his direction and encouragement to him personally in the completion of his first two published novels. A year and a half after arriving in Georgia, Mike married Leda Still, a budding artist with whom he collaborated to produce a third book jointly called “The I Hate Vegetables Book of Poetry for Kids” due out for Christmas 2017. Additional books, as well as Leda’s artwork displayed at Leda’s Loft, are in the works. As they become available, announcements will be made on this website and blog.
For more on Mike, visit his website!
Mike Owens on the Doug Dahlgren Show