Three-year-old Janaysha Allen got a great surprise on her birthday - she got to meet Santa Claus, who brought Christmas surprises for her and the other 38 children at the Harlem Neighborhood Development Authority Day Care Academy.
Janaysha Allen (left) and Mya Sanders got a chance to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. On Tuesday, the Columbia County West Rotary, and Santa, visited and provided gifts for
children at the Harlem Neighbor-hood Development Authority Day Care Academy.
The Columbia County West Rotary Club sponsored the visit and collected, packaged and delivered a present and a gift bag to each child ranging in age from 6-weeks to 12-years-old.
"They were so excited, nobody slept today," said The Rev. Melvin Adams, the authority president and a rotary member. Rotary's motto is "service above self." Bob Rhoades, a rotary member, took it on himself to purchase and collect most of the gifts for the academy children.
"I have been busy," he said as he donned the magic suit.
The children made lists of what they wanted for Christmas. The gift bags we filled with items that matchedtheir list if possible.
Of the bag filled with gifts and candy, Janaysha's favorite treat was a Rudolph-shaped chocolate lollipop. She carried it with her everywhere, and each time she looked at Rudolph's red nose, she would burst into a chorus of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
The Rotary Club has done similar projects in the past, but not on this large a scale. Last year, the club installed a play center at the academy, member Richard Swan said.
"This makes Christmas special for a lot of children," Adams said of the Christmas surprise at the authority. "It is a happy place."
The high school extension of the Rotary Club, the Interact Club, also visited authority children Wednesday afternoon, bringing Santa and bearing gifts. The 80-member high school club bought a present for each child, provided food and another chance to make sure Santa knows what to bring for Christmas, said Scott Dean, the Rotary member who sponsors the high school club.
"It was great. They were just all full of smiles," Dean said. "It was worth more money than all the world to those little kids."
The academy is privately funded and is always accepting donations, which can be mailed to: Harlem Neighborhood Development Authority Day Care Academy, P.O. Box 1001, Harlem, GA 30814.
For more information, call Adams at 556-0209.
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