The BeREAL* Christmas Party, in partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foster and Adoptive Parent Association and numerous churches and organizations, has become an annual event that all of our youth, children, and stakeholders look forward to with great anticipation. This year, as usual, no one was disappointed!
Thanks to the incredibly generous donations of several giving individuals, a delicious feast was provided by some favorite New Orleans restaurants. Red beans and rice, turkey and andouille gumbo, and sausage and shrimp jambalaya from Deanie’s Seafood Restaurant, chicken drummettes and shrimp fried rice from Louisiana Pride Seafood, and sandwiches from Rouse’s Catering were enjoyed (and devoured) by all. Comments about the yummy food were heard all evening.
As always, Mr. Patrick was the Christmas D.J. and the foster parents led games for the children. The gift-giving from Santa was the main event of the night with a new twist this year. Not only did we have Santa, but Mrs. Claus joined the party too! The children loved having their picture taken with the Claus couple. Mrs. Claus made it easy and very welcoming for the little ones who were scared of Santa.
The more than 100 gifts presented were donated by over 20 churches, organizations, and individuals. We could not have this party without the commitment of those who give so generously every year.
The following remarks from party guests tell the story:
“I really love this. This is like one big, happy family. Like I’m at a family reunion. This is great.” – 19-yr-old BeREAL Gap Team Volunteer
“Thank you for my bike, Santa!” – 6-yr-old boy
“I had the BEST time! That was so much fun!” – 16-yr-old girl
“This is my favorite night ever!” – 10-yr-old girl
“We cannot tell you how much the kids and families look forward to this night. And they talk about it the rest of the year.” – Foster parent and Board Member of the Foster Parent’s Association
This party was just a great way for everyone involved in BeREAL to celebrate Christmas, wind up 2012, and launch the new year!
*BeREAL (Ready, Educated, Accomplished Leaders), a project of Lutheran Social Services in collaboration with the Louisiana Dept. of Children & Family Services, provides transition services for youth ages 13-25 aging out of Louisiana’s foster care system, through training, support, and mentoring programs.