After I retired from 30 years with American Airlines I did 6 seasons as Santa at Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa. Thousands of kids passed across Santa's knees. It was fun. Last Saturday I got to be Santa again for the annual Christmas party for kids in the New Hope Ministry.
|Judy and a few of the elves say thank you to Santa.|
Some of you know that I have been part of the Kairos Prison Ministry for the past dozen years or so and am sensitive to the difficulties of families who have a parent in prison. My friend Judy Gann is an Episcopal Deacon who heads the New Hope Ministry. Their focus is on young children who have a parent who is incarcerated. Statistically these kids have a high probability of incarceration later in life.
|Mrs Claus serves as photographer and all around Santa's helper.|
New Hope started out in about 1995 as a little summer camp staffed by Judy and a few volunteers for about a dozen children with a parent in prison. The program grew to serve more kids with more activities. Now New Hope serves children aged 5 through 17 by providing school-based and community-based after school programs; weekend retreats; holiday gatherings, monthly family social events and residential summer camps.
In December they enjoy a Christmas party with games, food, and a visit with Santa for over 100 children. This was my 3rd year to do Santa for them and I can tell you that these kids are as sweet a bunch of youngsters as you could wish for. Merry Christmas!
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