James Monroe Holiday Party

The Real “Magic” of Christmas

The Kiwanis Club of Norfolk has partnered with Norfolk Public Schools, primarily the kindergarten classes at James Monroe Elementary to provide what many of these children will know as their only Christmas. The members of Kiwanis are all volunteers and spend most of our time planning and having events to raise money so we can help children in our community.

Our now ‘famous’ Christmas gives our members the opportunity to get involved in the ‘giving’ aspect of what we do – and magic happens every time!

Imagine being 5 years old waking up on a Thursday morning in December, headed to school knowing a field trip to somewhere has been planned for you and fellow classmates. Not knowing where creates an element of excitement all its own. However, the excitement starts well before that day occurs when Kiwanis Members pool together funds, shop for gifts and in many situations get items donated like socks, scarves, and gloves too. Then the fun begins building the gift bags for the little girls and boys for what has been a 20 plus year tradition.

The day of the holiday party, so many volunteers, including Santa Claus himself, brings Christmas to these special children. Judges, lawyers, nurses, business professionals are among those who come to support one and another, and to help bring a joyous Christmas to these very special children. The experience of being a part of something so incredible and reaffirming is one that lasts a lifetime.

How does one begin to sum up the events of the afternoon? What are the feelings and thoughts the volunteers are left with, once the party ends? Perhaps it was the children smiling and singing with Kiwanians. Or Santa offering love and kindness as he sat with the children. Or seeing the expressions of gratitude from teachers and parents.

The lasting memory for me? Watching one child, his name was Malika as he gently pulled out each gift from his bag and turned to me with tears in his eyes and asked, “are all of these for me?”

Our organization reaches out to bring happiness to children who need it the most, is special indeed. To know that a life is better lived, if only for a moment, because of your involvement is to know your own life cannot help but be enriched.

The Kiwanis Christmas Party leaves a deep and lasting impression of the true meaning of the holiday season, for us all. A tradition we will continue in this special way simply because we are the ones that receive the blessings along with the children.