The Infant and Child Development Services' annual Holiday Party was held at Trinity United Methodist Church on Forest Hill Avenue on December 11th. This year marked one of the biggest and best parties ever with 79 children and 68 adults in attendance. Most of the children receive therapy from ARC, and this year they brought along many of their siblings to help celebrate. Of course, Santa Claus made an appearance and distributed books and holiday cheer to every boy and girl.
All children -- including brothers and sisters --were called up one by one to receive an Angel Tree book from Santa. St. Nick sat high on the stage in his tall chair so that all the children could get a good view of him, but he also made sure to come down off the stage to visit with those children in wheelchairs.
Gracie Hazelton and her brothers, Ben and Eric Hazelton, also came to the party. Gracie's mom, Elizabeth, was thrilled to have all of her children there. It was one of the first activities Gracie was able to attend since her surgery over the summer. Thankfully, she is recovering nicely and was all smiles, glad to see Santa.
Leiland Watkinson was the second little boy called up on stage to receive his book from Santa, but he became very afraid and started crying. However, as more children were called to sit in Santa's lap and tell him what they wanted for the holidays, Leiland's mom decided to place him on the edge of the stage so that he could get comfortable with the idea of visiting with the jolly old man in the red suit. After about an hour carefully studying Santa, Leiland slowly warmed up to the idea of sitting on his lap and began inching his his way toward his chair. When he finally got there, old Santa could hardly get a "ho ho ho" in edgewise.
The party was generously sponsored by the Richmond Alumni Chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha and Trinity United Methodist Youth Group; Youth Director, Forrest White.