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Kids help kids with holiday Toy Run

Event benefits children at Harbor UCLA-Medical Center

Posted: November 25, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 25, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Teens from the Sierra Vista branch of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley have volunteered to assist Dave Mills, sitting on bike, with the ninth annual Motorcycle Christmas Toy Run to benefit sick children at Harbor UCLA Medical Center. Left to right, Briana Loera, Genessis Galindo, Jacob Thompson, Mills and Taylor DuFour.

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Teens attending the Sierra Vista branch of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley are learning a lesson in giving back this holiday season, courtesy of Dave Mills and his son Tim, an employee at the Canyon Country facility.

The teens, Taylor DuFour, Jacob Thompson, Genessis Galindo and Briana Loera, have volunteered to help with the ninth annual Motorcycle Christmas Toy Run organized by employees of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and a number of other companies.

The event will deliver new toys to sick children at Los Angeles Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance.

Taylor DuFour, 16, said the volunteer opportunity reminded her of others less fortunate.

“It’s a chance for us to be thankful for everything we have,” she said.

Briana Loera, 16, said it is important to give to sick children who are not able “to be home and be with their families.”

“I want to be able to give kids presents for Christmas,” she said. “I want them to know the warmth and comfort that we’re going to be with them on that day.”

Dave Mills, a DWP employee, said he started volunteering with the event four years ago.

He found out about the event through co-workers who had been doing the event since 2003.

“It’s very rewarding to do this,” Mills said. “Our motto is, ‘Put a smile on a child’s face.’ We mean it.”

Mills said some of the children might not make it through the year, or even the holidays.

“We don’t know if they will go into remission forever, or just temporarily,” he said.

For Mills, it is also personal.

“I had a bout with cancer a year ago,” he said. “Life is precious and this event became even more special to me after my own experience.”

Mills said it’s important to help “the kids.”

“You never know when it will be your last time around,” he said. “Kids need to be able to grow up and enjoy life.”

A special moment of the event for Mills is when the children draw pictures that are then auctioned off to motorcyclists.

“It makes them feel they are a part of it,” he said.

Mills estimates 300 to 400 motorcycles will participate in the event.

The event will begin at 8 a.m. in the Los Angeles Zoo parking lot section C with a continental breakfast with music by DJ Undastan.

Toys will be collected for ages birth to 18.

At 10:45 a.m., the convoy of motorcycles will travel to the medical center to present the gifts to the children.

One motorcycle and one rider will be chosen to enter the children’s ward at the hospital to greet the children who are too ill to leave the ward.

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