Tuesday, December 3, 2013

St. Vincent Family Centers

I work for the county clerk’s office, and each year the clerk organizes a Christmas outing. Those who volunteer to participate bake goodies for the children at St. Vincent's school. It is a special school for children, some of whom cannot live with their parents in a normal home due to domestic violence, drug abuse, etc. The people at St. Vincent’s do their best to give these kids a normal life, but many have behavioral problems. They have therapy and counseling with the kids so they can function in the world. The clerk purchases gifts for each child at Christmas, which is sometimes the only thing that kid will get. She finds out the names of the kids in advance so the man dressed as Santa Claus can personally give them their presents. The volunteers are divided by classrooms and help the kids assemble the toys and play with them.
Last year, I was matched up with a boy who got an Angry Birds racetrack set. There were lots of
stickers and of course the boy was impatient to play, but we got the track set up relatively quickly. All of the boys around this one wanted to join in and I had to break up a few arguments over whose turn it was to shoot off the cars, but I had a lot of fun. Toward the end of the day, the boy whose toy it was hugged me and told me I was his best friend.
This year, most of the boys got car-themed gifts including Hot Wheels race tracks that my room buddy Tim and I helped them assemble. They were so excited to have new toys to play with. Some of them were shy around Santa but they came out of their shell the more time we spent with them. As Tim and I were leaving the kids ran over to the door to give us many hugs and thank-yous. I love kids.
RADIO: Cinnamon Bear “Weasley the Wailing Whale”, JumpJump and the Ice Queen “The Poet”, Jonathan Thomas and his Christmas onthe Moon “Merry-Go-Round River”,
MOVIE: A Christmas Wish (AKA The Great Rupert) is a lesser-known Christmas-themed film starring Jimmy Durante as a down-and-out performer who cannot afford to properly care for his family during the holidays. He accepts some charity and works hard to give his family what he can, but the work of a cold squirrel gives him what he really wants: mountains of money. It is an oddity and while it isn’t a classic that many people see each year, it is a cute movie.

SONG: “All I Want to Ask Santa Claus” by Rick Segall
GIFT MEMORY: When I was in elementary school, it seemed like all of my friends had kitchen sets. Naturally, I wanted one too. I knew it was a big request, and something that my parents couldn’t afford for us. It was no secret that we didn’t have a lot of money. My parents were always very honest with us and explained that while we would never go hungry, they couldn’t afford to take us out to eat or to buy us lots of toys. Of course, my mom always made sure to let us know how much they loved us and that The Beatles were right when they sang that money couldn’t buy love.
So the year I asked for a kitchen set, I knew I wouldn’t get it unless Santa or my grandma got it for my sister and I. Christmas Eve came and went and we didn’t get a kitchen set. I prepared myself for disappointment, but I was satisfied with all of the great things I did get. Then, on Christmas morning, Sabrina and I went down the stairs to find a brand new kitchen set standing in our living room.
We knew which presents Santa brought because he never wrapped anything. My parents did. Since the kitchen set was in plain view without any wrapping, I knew that Santa had guessed what I really wanted and got it for us. I was so happy and convinced that Santa got us the set, I even wrote a paper at school about it. My mom gets a kick out of that to this day. 

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for my radio appearance on the online radio show Radio Once More. I will be chatting with hosts Ken Stockinger and Neal Ellis about Christmas movies!

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