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Santa makes spirits bright

Santa Clarita Sunrise Rotary Club, local donors help young clients and families enjoy holidays

Posted: December 29, 2010 7:32 p.m.
Updated: December 30, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Sgt. Gregg Lewison, second from left, and the team behind Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Communitywide Holiday Toy Drive present toys to Cheryl Jones, center, of the center. The toys were distributed for the holidays to families in need.

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Santa Claus came early to make the holidays bright for the Santa Clarita Valley’s children in need.

For the sixth year in a row, the Santa Clarita Sunrise Rotary Club brought Santa to the Kids Corner preschool party at the Santa Clarita Valley Child & Family Center. 

Bearing cake, chocolates and presents, as well as a Santa’s helper in the form of Rotary member Dick Cook, holiday gifts for each Kids Corner student were again provided by the Santa Clarita Emblem Club.

“Our club does many charitable acts throughout the months,” said Sunrise Rotary president Deborah Gardiner, “But by far, this activity makes our year.”

The happy voices of more than 70 children ages 3 and 4 singing “Jingle Bells” and “Feliz Navidad” serenaded the adoring audience of proud parents, staff members and Santa Claus, turning the Kids Corner preschool into a place filled with the true holiday spirit of giving and gratitude.

The annual party was hosted by preschool director Maria Luisa Lares-Moreno and her teaching staff. 

The excitement peaked as Santa visited every classroom, talked with each child and passed out donated gifts to all. 

“Every year, it’s just wonderful to watch the faces of all the young children when they see Santa,” said Rotary member Linda Cook.

 While the holidays are a season of happiness for many, Child & Family Center serves hundreds of families in the Santa Clarita Valley for whom it’s not so easy — including some who are in dire need of clothing, food and toys for their children. 

In 2010, the community generously responded to the center’s request to “adopt a family,” with organizations, businesses and families stepping up to fulfill the specific needs and requests of their adopted families by donating food, clothes, toys and gift cards.

Among the generous donors were Re/Max of Santa Clarita, Macy’s, SCV Basket Brigade, Primerica, Pacific Metal Stampings, Tesoro Del Valle Elementary’s sixth-grade class, Albertson’s, Preceptor Nu Psi — Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, Child & Family Center’s Auxiliary, Zonta, SCV Jaycees, Stein-Mart Giving Tree, Sunrise Rotary, Emblem Club, the Melville family, the Pike family and countless individuals.

In addition, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station donated a remarkable 400 brand new toys collected during its annual SCV Communitywide Holiday Toy Drive.

“On behalf of the deserving families, we are so grateful to all of those who participate” said Lois Bauccio, Child & Family Center Foundation’s president and executive director.

“Year after year, the people of the SCV amaze us with their generosity, especially in times like these,” Bauccio continued.

Child & Family Center is a community mental health center focusing on children in the Santa Clarita Valley. 

For more than 34 years, the center has been changing the lives of thousands of clients through its counseling, education and support programs. Many of the children and families served are in crisis and require extensive care and therapy.

Others are simply provided education and guidance to address current challenges. 

Last year alone, more than 4,500 local children and adults received treatment for depression, anger, anxiety, abuse, thoughts of suicide, and drug and alcohol addictions, among other disorders. 

In addition to its four locations, Child & Family Center also has therapists on elementary, junior high and high school campuses throughout the Santa Clarita Valley. 

For further information regarding Child & Family Center, visit www.childfamilycenter.org.

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