This is an exciting time of year for many children when they find presents around the Christmas tree. But for a foster child, it's much different. It can be a lonely time with few presents to open and no permanent home to enjoy with family. This story shows how our community came together this past weekend to make sure Smith County foster children have a happy holiday.
"We got a few surprises for you," says a clown to a room full of children. It was a day full of surprises for Smith County foster children. This annual Christmas party is put together by the Tyler/Smith County Child Welfare Board along with donations from area businesses. "I think it's very important because it gives them a sense of community and love and family and that they have importance to other people. I think it gives them self worth," says Blake Stowe, member of the Tyler/Smith County Child Welfare Board.
First, The children were treated to a puppet show. "I think it was real fun and I really liked it," says Adam, a foster child. The festive music got their little hands clapping, their heads bobbing and there were smiles from ear to ear.
Then, the moment they had all been waiting for. A a thunderous "Merry Christmas" rang out from the back of the room as Santa finally arrived. Their little faces lit up as the man in the big red suit made his way through the crowd. The jolly elf handed out everything from Barbie to Barney to bikes. "The most thing that was fun was everybody getting presents," says Cameron with a big smile. Charlie, another foster child says, "I didn't know I was going to get a video. My brother said, 'Here Charlie,' as he handed me the video and I said, "Put that back," and he said, 'No, it's yours, look.' I was really surprised." Adam says, "What I liked the best about the party was when I got the game boy advance."
"There's enough negativity in the world today so it's great to see CPS being able to put something like this on for the kids," says Kurt, a foster parent in Smith County. Kurt and his wife Pamela have seen first hand how excited foster children get just to receive a present, no matter it's contents. "Before we had any kids placed with us, we had Christmas presents under our tree and basically they're just bricks we put out for show. When our foster children came out to help me this year, because this is going to be the first year we'd be able to put presents under the tree for real, they came out and were so excited just opening presents with bricks."
"Some of the things you hear that happened with these foster kids just makes you want to work real hard for them. They are so deserving," says Blake. Not only deserving, but grateful someone took the time to make their holiday's brighter this year. "I want to say thank you and thank you a lot and Merry Christmas," says Charlie. Adam sincerely says, "Thank you and I hope you all have a happy good Christmas."
We want to send out some much needed thank you's for that party. The "Roberts and Roberts" law firm in Tyler bought all the gifts for the foster children. They made the party a huge success this year. Also, we want to thank the ladies from the Mah Jongg group at Hide-Away Lake who bought the bikes. Also, Batteries Plus in Tyler for the batteries and Toys R Us for the discount.
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