Saturday, December 14, 2013

Giving Tuesday- Children's Holiday Party

by student blogger Kristin

Every year around the holiday season, a campaign titled “Giving Tuesday” is launched to promote charity in every sense of the word. Although I have been a student at the CIA for three years now, I have always somehow missed the holiday season here on campus. I left on extern in November my freshman year and graduated with my associates’ degree a year after that. Needless to say, I was excited to experience all that the CIA had to offer for the holidays, including volunteer opportunities.

I started to search for ways to help out and become a part of the CIA’s “Giving Tuesday” initiative. There of course were many chances to use the kitchen skills learned here at school to help those in need. However, it was not until I checked my student portal one day that I found the unique event I wanted to volunteer for and document as a part of giving Tuesday.

For over 25 years, the CIA has hosted a Children’s Holiday Party especially for faculty, staff, and family members of the school. Being a part of this event was the perfect fit for me. Firstly, I knew it would be the perfect way to say thank you to the chefs who have worked so hard for my education as well as all the staff members behind the scenes that keep operations at the school running smoothly. Secondly, I love being able to bring holiday joy to children during the holiday season. There is no greater reward to hard work than making a child happy.

The event was this past Sunday December 8th from 9am to 12 pm. Upon arrival, guests were directed into the student dining hall for breakfast. A long buffet table with delicious pastries, fruits, and beverages met those entering into the hall. Moving further into the hall, the families were met with various holiday decorations. The stage in the front of the room boasted a long table piled high with brightly wrapped presents, a tall glowing Christmas tree, and an elegant throne for the guest of honor who was to arrive later. The decorations were not only stationary however. Moving amongst all the tables and guests were some recognizable characters including Frosty, Rudolph, Mrs. Claus and one of Santa’s elves. Seeing the hall decorated in this way was especially moving for me. Farquharson is the student dining where I have spent many hours eating, studying and relaxing with friends over the years. Having the opportunity to see it decked out for the holidays was priceless.

After breakfast came my favorite part of the event, craft time. Long tables were set up in the main hallway of Roth, each containing a different craft for the children to create. These crafts included making ornaments, assembling clothes pin snowmen, decorating gift bags, and icing gingerbread cookies that were graciously provided by the Baking and Pastry Society on campus. I watched as all the children excitedly dragged their family members to the different tables. After they had plenty of time to do crafts, the kids proudly showed their relatives the labors of their hard work. It was so nice to watch families come together to create holiday decorations and memories.

As the time for Santa’s arrival got closer, some live musical entertainment was being performed in the main hall. To open up the show, the school’s own Culinary Notes performed accapella versions of some favorite holiday tunes. After this beautiful performance, musician Mark Rust took the stage. For the past 6 years, Mark Rust has been coming to the Culinary to perform a variety of holiday favorites. Not only did he sing these songs brilliantly, Mark also invited those in the audience to join him in singing. He had a great presence on the stage that helped all the families remember what the holidays are all about.

At the end of his session, Mark played the iconic song “Santa Claus is coming to Town” introducing the main event of the morning. While the song started to play, a door opened in the back of the hall and Santa Claus greeted all the cheering children. Watching the children’s’ eyes light up as Santa Claus crossed to the front of the room made all the hard work of the day worthwhile. Santa took his throne on the front stage of the hall and the true festivities began. Children and their families were invited to come up individually, meet with Santa, and receive and personal gift. I got to watch many of the gifts get handed out and even helped a few families catch this perfect photo op. Nothing beats meeting Santa during the holidays.

After the gifts were given, the families began to filter out, each child happily playing with the toy they had just received from Santa. We were all thanked by the passing families for the wonderful work we had put into making the day possible. Although I was cleaning up and could not say it at the time, a thank you from them was not necessary. If it were not for the hard work of the employees and chefs, the CIA would never be the same. They sacrifice so much of their time and attention to make sure that we as students get the best education and experience possible. For this I am truly thankful and would volunteer to help out anytime to show them my appreciation.

Many people should be thanked for making this day possible. On the list of those contributing are CIA Human Resources, The Culinary Teacher's Association, and The Culinary Craft Association. This beautiful event would not have been possible without the hard work put into the day by the two co-chairs Tim Callahan and Sue Huag. These two individuals are extremely hard working and take pride in putting on this event. They were the first to arrive on site and the last to leave all while keeping a warm smile and a happy holiday spirit. Last but certainly not least, a huge thank you to those students who volunteered their time for a sunday morning including,Carly Rapp, Alyssa Debernardo, James Grill, Jonathan Crostley, Nicole Cancerni, Michael Brown,Paul Assanah, Aaron Gonnelly, and Marissa Zapatka.

1 comment:

  1. Happy to know about this children’s holiday party. I am looking for good LA venues for arranging a holiday party and searched online. Came to know about few amazing venues from and looking forward to book the best one soon.