Holiday event spreads joy to children, parents

By Jeanette Fritz

The holiday season is my favorite time of the year because it’s all about spending time with those you love and spreading a little cheer along the way.

For some lucky kids, the holidays came early thanks to an event hosted by the College Parents Group.

The group held the 13th annual Holiday for Kids Thursday with hopes to make all the children attending smile — and it did exactly that.

The Holiday Kids event is hosted by College Parents Group to bring parents together and give the kids involved a memorable holiday. Each child has a sponsor who donates gifts to him or her during the event.

Prior to the night’s celebration the kids took a survey answering questions like what their favorite color, cartoon character or superhero is.

“The kids get more excited about the small gifts than the big ones just because it’s the color they like,” said Ramona Walton, College Parents Group adviser.

Nothing made me happier than seeing a priceless expression of joy on a little boy or girl’s face while taking a picture with Santa. Seeing the pile of gifts graciously handed to them by their sponsors was also endearing.

I noticed many of the parents knew each other, as did the children.

“They go to school with a lot of the other kids,” said Samantha Newman, College Parents Group volunteer and LGBT graduate assistant. “It’s a social event for them.”

Holidays are tough financially for so many people, and I can’t imagine how much harder it is for a college parent trying to get his or her education.

Every parent wants the best for his or her child, but sometimes a prosperous holiday season isn’t easily accessible.

Student-parent Gladys Sanchez has attended with her son, Buddy, twice now.

“A lot of us are single parents or parents with low income,” Sanchez said. “It’s nice being supported.”

This event was the epitome of generosity. I couldn’t believe it. Items that had been donated were still in the process of being wrapped just hours before the event took place.

“They’re surprised. What kid doesn’t like getting gifts?” Newman said.

College parents are non-traditional students just like transfer or military students, and I loved seeing the amount of support the group gives the parents as well as the support all of the parents give to one another.

“You don’t have to be a single parent to be a part of the group,” Sanchez said.

No matter what your personal background, the College Parents Group will welcome you with open arms and support.

The event was full of friends who love and help each other as well as kids who couldn’t be happier — except the ones who were afraid of Santa Claus.

This event was exactly what the holiday season is supposed to be all about: giving back to those who may not be as fortunate as you are.

The only thing I would change about this event is that I wish I had known about it sooner. I definitely would have donated an item or two.