The office of UALR Children International was brimming with holiday gifts and excitement for a few days in December as the first ever Secret Santa event went into full swing.Â Grateful parents looked on as children ripped open their gifts while some decided to wait until Christmas morning.Â Excited children with picture stamps, glitter and colored pencils crafted the masterpiece that became their â€śThank Youâ€ť cards for the local individuals and organizations who donated the toys and other items that made it all possible.
A team of CI Elves, staff and AmeriCorps volunteers worked tirelessly collecting, purchasing and wrapping gifts for the event.Â Every detail was organized to ensure the event ran smoothly.Â Hot chocolate, apple cider and other refreshments were on hand to add to the festivities.
Guests were greeted with â€śHappy Holidays!â€ť that rang out of the mouth of CI babes who gladly volunteered their services to help give back to others.Â â€śIâ€™m surprised theyâ€™re doing this for our kids,â€ť one grateful parent could be heard saying.Â â€śMy son was so excited when I told him he had a gift here waiting for him.â€ť
Many families were not able to do as much as they would like for their children during the holidays.Â For 100 children this year, Children International was there to help fill in the gaps and lessen some of the burden many families feel during the holidays.
The annual event solicits gifts and donations for children and youth who otherwise would not have received anything outside the normal programs and activities the sponsorship funds provide.Â Thanks to all who helped us spread some holiday cheer and make this yearâ€™s Secret Santa event a huge success!Photos & Story Tameka Riley Communications Consultant University of Arkansas at Little Rock