December 15, 2010 // Local

Marian High School’s Santa’s Workshop is a hit at Center for the Homeless

The Marian High School Santa Worskshop participants are, in back left, Colleen Earley, Nicole Walter and Emily Madisgon. And in front, Megan Earley and Emily Heller. They are preparing the cookie decorating table as they await the residents at the Center for the Homeless.

MISHAWAKA — The Marian Art Club, under the leadership of Fine Arts Department Chairperson Kitty Gunty, sponsored their 15th annual Santa’s Workshop at the Center for the Homeless in South Bend on Dec. 9.

For the past 14 years, the art club has put together a Santa’s Workshop for the residents at the Center for the Homeless. Ten crafting tables were set up in the center’s dining area so that the residents could create Christmas treasures for themselves and gifts for their loved ones. This year’s crafts included decorating Christmas stockings, hats, picture frames, mirrors, glass bulbs and gingerbread cookies; making salt and clay ornaments and a variety of jewelry; face painting; drawing and coloring pictures; and having photos taken with Santa.

The ten crafting tables were staffed by Marian students, teachers and administrators. A record number of 75 Marian students took the time to attend this annual event. The job of the volunteers was to set up the tables and help any participants who needed assistance. Marian students also watched and entertained the babies and small children while their parents created Christmas decorations and gifts. They interacted with the residents by participating in the activities and crafts themselves. A new twist was added this year as the elementary school-age children asked if they could paint the faces of the high school students.

There was also a prize table that was popular because it attracted those who are not quite sure about joining in on the crafts. All of the prizes were donated and displayed by the Marian volunteers. The prizes were new or gently used items like toys, books, puzzles, stationary, games, crafts, religious items, tote bags, gloves, jewelry, winter hats and much more. It was especially heartwarming to help children choose gifts for their parents and parents choose gifts for their children and friends. Then the residents were encouraged to have the gifts wrapped by the Marian students. Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus stopped by to talk with the children who were interested.

The residents thanked the Marian staff members for arranging this joyful event. One woman remarked that this was the best Christmas party ever.

Another said, “Marian is known as the school that puts on this event every year at Christmastime. All of my gifts for family and friends were made in this one evening.”

A gentleman commented that it was good to see the smiles on the faces of both children and adults who were definitely enjoying the fun. The little ones had to be reminded several times that it was time to go upstairs and go to bed.

Gunty noted, “The immense amount of time and energy that it takes to plan, purchase, package, set up and clean up is returned to the Marian community a hundredfold in the looks of satisfaction and delight on the faces of the guests as they complete their projects and choose their Christmas gifts for their families and loved ones.”

Mary Kate Kibbe remarked, “Many students contributed to Santa’s Workshop and it ended up being a great night. Our simple arts and crafts made the guests very happy and they loved the opportunity to be creative.”

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