Every year my office (FIDM Career Center) partners with Student Activities to bring some holiday fun to the children of Las Familias del Pueblo..."a non-profit community center serving garment workers and their children in the Los Angeles Fashion District. At Las Familias, children participate in after school programs and receive assistance with homework". The neighborhood of this organization is on the rougher side of downtown LA. The school has a tall wooden fence around the back entrance which opens to an outdoor playground, sheltering the kids with a safe place to play from the outside.
The kids of course still love arts and crafts projects like coloring Christmas pictures, and making Christmas cards. But, we discovered from our experience last year that having a finger-nail painting & face painting 'station' was also very popular amongst the children...so we stepped it up this time with extra colors :) Then there is the super messy/fun cookie decorating...followed by cupcakes one of our co-workers family members donated who works in the catering business. Talk about a sugar high...these kids were bouncing off the walls..bet their parents loved us when they arrived to pick them up! To end the afternoon with more excitement (added to the sugar overload)... "Santa" arrived and took a photo with each child, along with giving a special gift. The look on their adorable faces when they receive a present (or even just get their face painted) is priceless. The staff here at FIDM looks forward to this day each year just about as much as the kids do.