Students bring Christmas cheer to Robinson Center
Alex Winegar | Monday, December 9, 2013
Holiday cheer filled the air with cookie decorating, holiday music, snacks and Santa visits at Saturday’s fourth annual Winter Wonderland at the Robinson Center.
The Community Outreach event, sponsored by Student Activities Board (SAB), was held for students at South Bend community schools and the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) children of Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame, SAB vice president Alli Gerths said.
Gerths said over 1,500 flyers were printed to advertise the event and 300 families from ECDC were invited,.
“Winter Wonderland is primarily for underprivileged students so it’s really important that children have a chance to spend Christmas with their families and big holidays that might not have the opportunity to do so otherwise,” Gerths said.
She said SAB recognizes that Christianity isn’t the only religion celebrated in South Bend.
“We don’t want to just exclude it to [only] Christmas although there is a lot of Christmas stuff going on,” Gerths said. “We want all the holidays to be celebrated, that’s why we call it winter wonderland.”
In addition to the visiting Santa, children had access to a variety of crafts such as make your own reindeer and coloring pages, Gerths said.
“We want to make it a warm welcoming place for kids to be able to decorate their houses with, we assume they take those crafts home and actually use them to decorate their house because that’s apart of the Christmas spirit,” Gerths said.
She said Santa was an especially big hit at the event for kids of all backgrounds.
“Their excitement about Santa is unreal. We have kids here from every different nationality and kids from oversee,” Gerths said. “Santa goes across worlds so it’s really cool to see them get excited about it, just as we are excited about it in the United States.”SAB values the importance of giving back to the South Bend community through outreach events like Winter Wonderland, Gerths said.
“I know sometimes there’s a little bit of riff between community members and the college students,” she said. “We want to allow the kids to make really good memories here at Saint Mary’s and make it a positive place for the community,”
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