By Army Community Service (U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii)December 17, 2010
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Army Community Service invited the community to their "Winter Wonderland," here, Tuesday.
Keiki shared their holiday wishes with Santa and Mrs. Claus and got their photos taken with the jolly pair. They participated in interactive craft activities like decorating Christmas stockings and making candy-cane-reindeer to give as gifts.
They also listened to Mary Kate Wright narrate her book, "Lucy and Lilo Help the Honu," a tale about native Hawaiian sea turtles. Wright's husband, Marcus, is a captain assigned to 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
Also, First Book Oahu, a local nonprofit agency, donated holiday books for the children.
The day seemed to have something for everyone. It promoted the appreciation of reading as an educational tool and was a bonding experience between children and their parents.
Santa's elves, who are ACS staff members in real life, then escorted keiki throughout the building, ensuring they got a glimpse of each decorated corner. Keiki could also help judge the door decoration contest.
"This is the most I've ever seen the building decorated," said Gina Peirce, social worker, Family Advocacy Program, ACS. "The staff are cheery and everyone kind of feels like a kid today. It's great to make the kids happy; it's contagious."
The door decoration contest encouraged parents to visit each area of the open house, and learn more about ACS programs and services.
For example, ACS offers financial readiness, shelter, food vouchers and family services, all helpful resource information for the holidays and for everyday needs needed during deployment.
The event ended with a surprise visit for the children from the Grinch.