So many people helped make the holidays special for the children and families we serve. Thanks to more than 50 Westchester families, four Girl Scout troops, students at Port Chester Middle School, Temple Israel of New Rochelle, the Heart to Heart Club at Mamaroneck High School, Con Edison, Athleta, students at Concordia College, Toys for Tots, along with members of FSWs Board, Junior Board and staff, the holidays were bright for our families. Through our Adopt a Family initiative, families served by our community-based programs received warm jackets and sweaters, books, games, blankets and towels.
Santa brought children in our Early Head Start/Head Start programs gifts wrapped in colorful paper. Teens gave youth in our Therapeutic Foster Care program gloves, I-pods and books. The children in our Latino Connections program were thrilled when Santa arrived with toys, hair ribbons, games and warm mittens and hats. This year, FSW donors gave generously, insuring a truly joyful season of hope.
Special thanks to FSW Board member Nick Wolff, who for the 25thyear played Santa at Head
Start holiday parties. I do this because I love giving back and the kids are so innocent and they really believe, says Wolff, who handed out 50 gifts donated by the White Plains Rotary to children attending FSWs Head Start Slater Center.
For the third year in a row, fitness instructor/personal trainer Jaena Mebane conducted a toy drive and played Santa for children in our Head Start and Latino Connections programs. Mebane worked with Athleta employees in Eastchester, who provided gifts for a large family and collected toys for FSW children.
Another time-honored holiday tradition is the annual trip Head Start children make to White Plains City Hall to sing songs for the Mayor. This year, 14 three- and four-year-olds from Erika Matajs Eastview Head Start class on Main Street prepared six holiday songs under the guidance of assistant teacher Tiffani Thrower. The children met with Mayor Thomas Roach, Santa, Frosty and Wayne Bass, Commissioner of the White Plains Department of Parks and Recreation. We have been singing songs with the Mayor of White Plains for as long as I can remember, and I have been with Head Start for 17 years, notes Enid Forster, Education Manager of the program. The children love going to City Hall and singing for the Mayor every year, adds Forster.