Day 9: Being Santa

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Today is day 7 of our 12day push to get people volunteering this December.  Mike, a BSW student who is doing a placement with House of Friendship’s Cramer House and the Emergency Food Hamper Program, was recently asked to lend a hand with a different program, Live and Learn.  You may have met him previously here, and like so many people, he decided to pitch in and try and brighten someone’s day.  This is his story:

When offered to act as Santa Claus for House of Friendship’s Live and Learn program, I jumped at this extraordinary opportunity.  Who could turn down being Santa Claus? For many children and the young at heart, this is a time of great expectation.  Children eagerly await Santa Claus, all dressed in red, listening to his echoing ho ho ho’s as he generously hands out presents to children around the world.  Many people would love to have Santa’s job.  The cookie benefits alone are amazing; however, the opportunity to make a child happy is the greatest gift of all.

My Santa Claus experience was made all the more special by the setting I played him in.  Offering helpful parenting and life skills to young, low-income, mothers and their children, aged 0 – 6 years, the Live and Learn program is always a bee-hive of activity. Volunteers provide child supervision while the mothers are attending a variety of activities and workshops. Each aspect leads to the program’s success, and the further strengthening of a healthy family unit.

So there I was sitting by myself, minutes away from walking into a room full of expectant children and their mothers, all waiting for Santa Claus. Looking down at my white-gloved hands and long white beard, I had to ask myself, am I really playing Santa Claus!? The carol singing began and I nervously rehearsed, trying to remember things that Santa would automatically know. What are all of Santa’s reindeer names? Where are the reindeer now? And other questions that I thought the kids might ask me. The time came and in I went with a “ho-ho” here and a “Merry Christmas” there. The smiles on the children’s faces and the carefree laughter that they expressed when I handed them their presents, was certainly memorable experience. The mothers were also happy; happy because their children were enjoying themselves and lost in play.

Most people say that the Christmas season is primarily for children. However, for a little while, I was able to continue what the Live and Learn program does on a consistent basis and make both mother and child have an enjoyable and pleasant experience together.

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