Florence Western Medical Clinic 3rd Annual Children’s Holiday Party
January 18, 2011
In the month leading up to our annual holiday party at Florence Western Medical Center, there was a great deal of excitement in the air. Carly Krause, a dedicated RMF volunteer and I began the preparations for our 3rd annual holiday party, with our attendance expected to double to approximately 50-60 children. Florence Western’s Medical Director, Dr. Kevin Thomas, introduced us to Mary Miller, who was excited to join the RMF team for this year’s party. On a limited budget, we sought donations of food, toys and supplies for the children – and exactly one week before the party Mary called me with the news that Northrop Grumman would be making a large donation towards the purchase of toys for the children!
Our phone conversation at 11:30pm that night was filled with tears of joy and gratitude, and now came the fun part: though we were grateful for and happy with donations from FOX Entertainment Group, toys bought from Target’s $1 bins and a generous gift card from Gelson’s Markets, we now had the ability to provide everyone with dream gift bags.
RMF volunteer Anicee Lau took on the task of assisting me with coordinating our volunteers, which came flooding in the weeks prior. We had close to 20 volunteers who showed up in spite of the weather (record breaking rainfall in Los Angeles), offering holiday cookies and decoration supplies for the children to decorate as well as gifts for the children, photography services, and helping hands that were greatly needed. Real Medicine is built upon a foundation of “Friends helping Friends helping Friends”, and this year’s volunteer turn out showed that 5 years since our inception we are going stronger than ever, and growing each and every year.
Kwanzaa stories, yoga/fitness fun, snowflakes and wreath creations followed by cookie decorating were the planned activities, and though the weather had dampened our original plans to hold the event outdoors, we made do with one very intimate, energetic outreach room.
The children then proceeded to share in all of the beautiful food trays the volunteers had prepared, and one by one their names were called out and they received a bag overflowing with gifts. The parents’ expression of gratitude alone was enough to fill your heart, but that combined with the children’s laughter and smiles from this year’s event, well, that was enough to fill your soul.
My deepest thanks to the dedicated staff of Florence Western Medical Center, my assistants Carly Krause and Anicee Lau for their countless hours of preparation, Maya Jabbur Photography for hundreds of beautiful photos, our amazing volunteers who made sure that everything ran as smoothly as possible, our angels of the season Mary Miller, Mara Leng, Chief Bernard Parks office for all those tables and chairs, Northrop Grumman, FOX Entertainment Group and last but not least, the most beautiful and amazing children of South Los Angeles which we will continue to love and support with our outreach programs and holiday parties.
If you would like to help support our Los Angeles programs, which provide health & nutrition workshops, art therapy, yoga and reading programs for children of low-income families, I encourage you to make a donation today, as every bit counts. The children of this community have no access to the programs Real Medicine provides through their school districts, and we are able to offer them a safe haven for education, creativity and stress management. Please help us to be able to continue to provide these services as well as expand them to include programs for the local teens that desperately need local programs that would help them to obtain the necessary skills to become responsible, well rounded young adults.