Though the weather had changed to cool and overcast outdoors, the atmosphere inside the Senior Center dining room was warm and light for the inaugural afternoon of the annual Santa Clara Sister Cities Association Tea. The buzz of happy conversation, the sight of china teapots and a center tray of inviting finger food on each table, and the gentle strumming of a harp in the background completed the welcoming scene.
“It’s a great start. We’re expecting a bigger crowd next year so people should get their tickets early,” warned Vice Mayor Patricia Mahan, who is also a member of the Santa Clara Sister Cities Association.
“We are 99 percent sold out with 160 attendees,” elaborates Debbie Pavao, Vice-President SCSCA Youth Commission.
The SCSCA Youth Commissioners were servers. Angie Pavao, the youngest SCSCA Youth Commissioner, was assisted in selling Opportunity Drawing tickets by her seventh grade friend Antonella, “I am thinking about joining the SCSCA Youth Commission, Antonella says. “I have been inspired by Angie to help people. I would like to travel to Portugal the same year as Angie. My mom is from Portugal and this would be an opportunity to see where she grew up.”
Santa Clara Sister Cities Association promotes student exchange foreign travel programs to Coimbra, Portugal and Izumo, Japan to encourage knowledge and better understanding of other cultures. (See www.santaclarasistercities.org)
At one table, a group of dressed up girls sipped from china teacups for the first time. They were from Don Callejon School.
“This is the first time I have been to a real tea,” shared Julie. I just had tea with my stuffed animals in second grade.”
“This is a great mother-daughter opportunity to have a nice tea and socialize together,” says Kathy Watanabe, organizer of the Don Callejon group. “This makes the children aware of SCSCA so they become involved when they get into high school and it teaches them about travel. The mothers learn about opportunities to host foreign exchange students.”
This SCSCA Tea Party is very affordable and features two tasty teas as well as an assortment of treats.
“This is a lacy, elegant tea,” says Debi Davis, President of SCSCA. “We even have two chocolate fountains: one white chocolate and one dark chocolate.”
“My daughter and I have been giving teas for fifteen years. The presentation at this tea is excellent and the food is superior,” comments Anita Marencia.
The Young Artists Showcase is coming up, and artwork is due on March 11, 2011. Sister Cities International asks youth between thirteen and eighteen years of age to submit two dimensional artwork interpreting the global Sister City mission of “promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation through one individual, one community at a time.” (See www.sister-cities.org/programs/yap.cfm)
According to Debbie Pavao, Vice-President of SCSCA Youth Commission, that age has now been changed to “include middle school students to help introduce them to Sister Cities before high school.” During the tea, Pavao met the student table of Don Callejon fifth-graders and “invited them to participate next year when they are in middle school.”