With the new year upon us and the holiday season finally ending, our residents across California celebrated the end of the year together with their communities. This year, our properties in Richmond, San Leandro, and Sacramento spent their holiday parties in their own special way.
Cypress Pines + Monterey Pines Apartments in Richmond, CA:
On December 19th, the Cypress Pines residents had their version of the Polar Express Event, a holiday event themed after the Polar Express movie. The hosts were Ms. Kayla and Ms. Naimah, who hosted the events for both Cypress Pines and Monterey Pines residents. At Cypress Pines, they had a great turn out with about 68 residents enjoying the winter festivities!
There were plenty of light refreshments being served, which included hot chocolate with marshmallows, several different holiday cookies, slices of cake, mini donuts, juice and water.
The Polar Express Event became the first huge event at the apartments organized by PSCDC staff. During the event, Ms. Kayla introduced herself as the new Program Coordinator for Cypress Pines and took various pictures with residents. While older residents spent the event discussing holiday plans, meeting Ms. Kayla, and spending time together, the children had art activities ready as well as craft activities that encouraged family participation!
The kids were surprised to see our special guest, Santa, stop by at the party at around 3pm to spend time and take pictures with children while gifts were handed out to families that attended.
To end the party and the night, residents finished eating and started the movie of the night, Polar Express, at almost 5pm. By this time, the party had winded down and a few families stayed to enjoy the whole movie. Those who stayed were rewarded with the remainder of the presents. This event was extremely successful with an amazing turnout and we hope to continue providing our residents at Cypress Pines with great opportunities to celebrate events with one another in the future.
On December 20th, PSCDC staff hosted the second Polar Express Event, but this time at Monterey Pines Apartments! Monterey Pines residents really showed up for their turn to celebrate the holidays with about 125 residents coming to party! Similar to the party at Cypress Pines, everyone enjoyed their refreshments, art activities, movie night, and of course, seeing Santa. Both Cypress Pines and Monterey Pines residents were able to celebrate the winter season with friends and neighbors together. At both properties, we have plenty of services and events planned for our residents in Richmond in the coming year!
- Written by Kayla al-Hakim and Naimah Salaam
Lakeside Apartments in San Leandro, CA:
'Twas the season at the Lakeside Community who spent their December getting ready to commemorate their own special Winter Wonderland Celebration Potluck. As festive as ever, the Lakeside residents were aiming to include most winter ceremonies this year! They really took the meaning of "joy to the world" quite literally!
In addition to their Christmas tree, which was beautifully decorated by their very own Homework Club members, residents and PSCDC staff were also focusing on Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and messages of a Happy New Year in Arabic and Farsi. This all-encompassing celebration was a fantastic opportunity for not only the younger residents to learn and explore other cultures, but for the adults as well. Parents, neighbors, and friends shared with the community how they observe the winter and New Year's celebrations in the countries where they came from.
Residents had the chance of exchanging gifts by the Christmas tree, play with dreidels, building gingerbread houses, lighting the Kwanzaa candles, and learning about different traditions throughout the world! It was like traveling around the world without leaving the comfort of their Lakeside community.
- Written by Karina Gols
Willow Glen Apartments in Sacramento, CA:
December has been a very busy month for Willow Glen and its residents! In preparation for the holiday season, the after-school program students made holiday ornaments to decorate the holiday tree in the Willow Glen office and their houses, but that was not the only preparations the after-school program were busy with.
This year, a little elf told the PSCDC staff that Santa Claus was going to take a more glamorous approach when visiting Willow Glen. Instead of his traditional reindeer and sleigh, he was to arrive in a fire engine complete with a police escort on December 20th to visit the kids! Before his arrival however, one of the older after-school program students decided she would like to direct a holiday play for the lovely Saint Nick. She was in charge of it all by assigning actors, scheduling rehearsals, and acting as director. All props and costume components were made by the students.
On the 20th, residents gathered in the community room for cookie decorating, hot cocoa and snacks. In addition, one of our older students also set up a table to do henna hand designs during our wait for Santa which became quite popular among the residents. Approximately 75 residents attended the gathering to celebrate the holidays as a community. When Santa and his police and city employee entourage arrived in squad cars with sirens, flashing lights, and Christmas lights arrived, quite a bit of excitement erupted! Santa was able to listen to the wishes of each child as they stood in line for their turn while the city interns serenaded us with holiday tunes. Pictures were taken of each child as they told Santa their wish list before Santa said one final goodbye and rode off atop the fire engine waving to all.
- Written by Judi Boston-shedd