Fueled by spun sugar cotton candy, snow cones with apple juice and pizza, the children that attend the three Haitian-American Day Care Centers in Brooklyn celebrated Christmas a little early on Monday.
In their festively decorated community room at the center on Bedford Avenue, the DJ first set the mood with Christmas songs. Luko Adjaffi played his guitar and sang some of his own songs to the assembled students, changing the pace from recorded music. Then, reggae and other Caribbean music got the kids moving to the beat. With encouragement and participation from the organizers and teachers, children jumped to their feet, dancing to the popular vibes.
Soon, it was Santa time, played convincingly by an endearing Evantz Saint-Gerard of NatanEL Homes Inc, one of the event’s sponsors. “It’s a pillow!” he whispered, of his hearty girth. One-by-one, all the students received a present from Santa. An elf revealed that girls got dolls, coloring books, scarves and lotions. Boys got matchbook cars, action figures, and board games. More than 330 presents were given. The pre-schoolers, ages 2-5, partied first, followed by the grade school-age children who attend the center after school.
What started off as a simple request for 40 gifts at a real estate network function turned into a Christmas-for-children extravaganza with a number of private and non-profit companies collaborating. Real estate company NatanEL Homes Inc with Project Brooklyn Homeowner and Project Queens Homeowner–who provide seminars and workshops for first time home buyers in addition to counseling existing homeowners who are experiencing financial difficulties and/or facing foreclosure– joined with Caple Spence of The Local Development Corporation of Crown Heights and Anton Tomlinson of NYC ACT-SO to organize this holiday celebration.
United Mortgage Corp., Equity Settlement Services Inc, the Law Offices of Puleo Delisle, PLLC, Mark Rosenbloom, Esq., KR Consulting Group and Karako Suits provided additional financial support for the lively event, a real Christmas party for the two different age groups of children of the Haitian-American Day Care Centers.
Before leaving the center with her dad, one 3rd grader took off the wrapping of her gift–but not the packaging–to reveal a Barbie doll. When asked if she liked Barbie, she nodded yes, while replying, “I watch the Barbie channel,” and beaming, she continued, “This is the first Barbie I’ve ever had!”