The sun was shining and the skies had cleared as the Royal Coach bus pulled up to Briarwood Elementary School. It was there to provide luxury transportation for students who were about to embark on a very memorable day. The same scene played out at eight other schools in Santa Clara and all the buses drove to the same destination — Lexus of Stevens Creek — for the Santa Clara Rotary’s 24th annual Christmas for Kids event.
The inside parking area of the dealership was cleared out and was ready for the action, games, and surprises that awaited the 150 elementary school students chosen to participate in the program. Children had many games and activities to enjoy, including face painting and new warm jacket fitting. They also had a chance to wander through a Santa Clara Fire Department Fire engine and the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap.
Group by group, students were moved in a methodical procession through each station so every child was able to take part in all the activities.
The DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) car and Daren, the DARE Lion, were there to greet the kids, as was Sharkie from the San Jose Sharks. To help the children feel comfortable, teachers and staff from each school were in attendance as well.
Sharkie was a big hit, “biting” people on their heads and surprising them at the arts and crafts table. He began signing autographs and gave them away to the children in attendance. The event lasted just over three hours and the volunteers and special guests kept the children entertained and delightfully amused.
Children received special gifts at the event too. Organizers made it so community members could fulfill a child’s gift wish. Through this, the kids were able to receive the bikes, doll houses, and more that they specifically asked for. All wrapped at a wrapping party by volunteers the night before — that is except the six bikes they got, those got big bows instead.
As the event ended, the children were given rides on the Royal Coach buses back to their respective schools. The beaming smiles told the best story — the children that took part had a great time. More importantly, their parents won’t be forced to make tough choices of whether or not to buy presents for their children.
This event’s big sponsors included Lexus Santa Clara, the Santa Clara Rotary Club, Santa Clara Police and Fire Departments and the Interact Clubs from local high schools.
For more information on Santa Clara Rotary, visit www.facebook.com/SantaClaraRotary.