Divvying Up Holiday Spirit


Santa Bob Strum treats preschoolers at the Even Start reading readiness program.

Prior to the winter school break, students of the Even Start Preschool Program, 3 and 4 year olds living in low-income households, were treated to a week of holiday activities.

Students in Thurston Middle School’s PAL Club first entertained them with donuts, hot chocolate, and gifts on Dec. 6.

On Tuesday, Dec. 13, Laguna Beach’s Lisa Fredette, and her daughter Sydney, brought 80 Build-A-Bears for children in the program, their siblings, as well as the children cared for at the La Playa Center, an ESL program for adults.  By the end of the day, all 80 bears had found good homes.

The following day, Dec. 14, the children were visited by Santa Claus (Bob Strum) and his wife, who came bearing gifts and good cheer for the children in the Even Start Preschool program and the La Playa Center.

On Thursday, Dec. 15, preschoolers sang seasonal songs and handed out handmade cards at a luncheon for seniors at the Community/Senior Center. Center coordinator Patty Quilter organizes the event, which includes children sharing lunch with the seniors.

The week’s festivities culminated in the annual party with the Laguna Beach Police Department on Friday, Dec. 16. The police officers bring gifts for each child and their parents assemble a potluck to share.

“This is the one of the best times of the year for our children, parents, and staff,“ said Terry Anne Barman, director of the preschool at the Boys & Girls Club.

The club also worked with Hobie Sports to find sponsors for 25 low-income club members; the Laguna Parents Club sponsored 15 club families who were in need of help, and board member Paula Hornbuckle marshaled the BG’s and 100 Women for Kids, who fulfilled Christmas wish lists for the preschool children and their siblings.

“This has been an exceptionally difficult year for our families due to the economic challenges facing our country,” Barman said. “It has been wonderful to see how people have reached out to help others in need.  It is the true spirit of Christmas at work.”



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