Members of Rotary Club of The Villages – Evening took it upon themselves to make sure that Santa Claus visited kindergarteners at Harbour View Elementary School in Summerfield.
Rotary members met with administrators at the school last summer and have been working with them to supply resources and meet the needs of school volunteers. So when the club’s Service Project Committee was asked if they had any pull in initiating a visit from Santa, the overwhelming response was, “Yes!”
All told, 110 kindergarteners sat on Santa’s lap, shared what they wanted for Christmas and had their photos taken. There were lots of hugs and excitement as Santa and his Rotarian Elves, Tim Treat, Nancy Baker and Julie Schmeid, assisted. And photos of the event were delivered to the school the next morning as a gift for the parents.
Rotary members also provided the main course and desserts for the staff party at the school on the last day before winter break. That gave the Rotarians and staff members a chance to mingle and really get to know each other. And teachers were quick to share positive messages about the partnership between the Rotarians and the school and how it already has had a big impact.
In October, that partnership brought 550 gently used books to the school from BookWorks of Goodwill-Suncoast in Oxford. Children’s books donated to Goodwill-Suncoast are cleaned by volunteers and then donated to Title 1 schools in their service area.
And another connection in Rockford, Mich., brought another 4,000 gently used children books to teachers to send home with eager readers.
Personnel at the school also are excited about a project that will make it possible to have 25 mountain bikes sponsored by Rotarians and friends and purchased at a price brokered by Mark Hall at Villages Cycles. The school’s physical education team plans to use the mountain bikes in a unique and creative fitness class starting at the end of January.
Meanwhile, Rotarians Cindy Ivy and Carole Iberer organized a holiday party for senior clients, their caregivers and the staff of LovExtension Inc. The two organizations have worked together on a number of projects that enhance the lives of homebound, isolated and/or low income residents.
This marked the third year the club has provided a holiday meal. Entertainment from Broadway & Beyond brought the holiday spirit alive with talent, fun and laughter. A client’s 101st birthday was celebrated. And another one shared her standup comedy that many Villagers have experienced and enjoyed.
The following day, Rotarians were back at the offices of LovExtension. This time they were packing food bags for delivery before the holidays to seniors in Lake and Sumter counties.