On Wednesday, 12/10 the children in the Garrett Mentors Inc. program were invited to a Christmas dinner and party by the organization. The party was held at Oak Park Church in Oakland, MD. The dinner hall was transformed into a winter wonderland including Santa’s House, an Elve’s Workshop, Mrs. Claus’ Bakery & Rudolph’s Card shop. Peppermint and candy themed decorations and centerpieces were made by Cassandra Poling. This festive night made the children and their personal mentors very happy. The organization also created an opportunity for the children in the program to participate in a giving back activity by collecting canned food items for the Feast of the Heart Food Pantry located at the church. Over 100 items were collected for this cause and the children were able to enjoy the practice of giving. Children were served a hot turkey dinner and various side dishes made by Archie’s BBQ. The children were led in music by Adam and Katie Brenneman then rotated in groups to several stations. Stations included card-making for families served by the food pantry, decorating of cookies made by Ashton and Jackie Chapman, and painting of wooden toys made by the Western Correctional Institution. Children got to each meet with Santa (Spoiler Alert!) (Pete Versteegen) and each child was given a special gift. Gifts were made up by wonderful donations from the community including various items from GCC Technologies, books from Landon’s Library, cold weather gear by St. Peter the Apostle Church in Oakland, John and Donna Manahan. Linda Marden, and other items from Lillian Cuozzo, Suzie Fike and Anne Davidson. As a new and exciting addition to our gifts this year, Lake Salon in McHenry donated a free haircut certificate to each child in the program. It was a special evening for all. Along with those mentioned previously, others who donated or helped in some way to make this evening special include sponsors Crossroads Church, Bunko Babes, Gerard and Beverly Maynard, David Boucher, Halian Landscaping, Maria and Matt Bigelow of Urbana, MD, Susan and Michael Phillips of Valley View Farm, Harrisonburg, VA ,Fireside Deli and Wine Shop, Clear Mountain Bank Oakland, Moonshadow Cafe, Ladies Aid Society of St. John’s English Lutheran Church, Simon Pearce Holiday Charity Bauble Sale, Joan Johnson Memoral Donations, The Community Trust Foundation, United Way and the Tucker Community Foundation. Other support who helped make this night special include Jennifer Cuozzo, Marsha Deem, Jared Fike, Carl Fike, Theresa MacLennan, Tracy Teets, Ann Frantz, Jeanne Lynch, Barbara Myers. David Kelly, Isabella Gametta, Jason Snyder, Teranie Baker, Wendy Tichnell, Tim Watson, Camille Spurr, Erin Dibacco at Boal and Associates, along with our Board of Directors: Steve Wilson, Krystal Lewis, Rick Schiff, Annette Chapman, Connie Kamp, Andrea Sweitzer, Maureen Myers, Frank Shap, Don Coble, Gloria MacGowan, Pam Scott, Bonnie Swyter, Ed Spurr, President Kathy Coble and Program Director Laura Fike.
Thank you to ALL who have supported Garrett Mentors through our many fundraisers and activities throughout the year. We are grateful to our children’s families for allowing them to attend the party and to participate in our program. Thanks to our volunteer mentors who attended and who also meet with their mentee weekly during the school day at lunch. Thank you to the Garrett County Public School system, staff, counselors and teachers for welcoming the mentors into the schools each week and to continuing to refer children to our program and to offer feedback and support of our program. Your time, gifts and support of our program through this event have certainly given many Garret County children a special holiday memory that will be with them forever. We wish you all a very happy holiday season!