Sunday, December 21, 2003

Brighton Center receives a party

Good things happening

It has become a tradition at Villa Madonna Academy that seniors throw a party for pre-schoolers and toddlers at the Brighton Street Child Care Center in Newport.

For the last 10 years, the academy adopts the center for a Christmas party.

This week, the 51 members of the senior class spent time buying gifts, stuffing stockings and wrapping presents for the 26 preschoolers and 20 toddlers, ages 2 through 5. They also bought one large wish list for the center.

"We have been doing this for about a decade,'' said Villa Madonna librarian Debbie Young. "We used to bring the kids here, but the policy has changed and now we go to them.''

Beth Raum, program coordinator at the center, said the Christmas party is a big treat for the children.

"The seniors come here and spend time with the toddlers and preschoolers, reading stories, painting faces, crafts, singing and playing music. They have lunch with them and then bring in Santa Claus,'' Raum said.

The party took place Friday at the center, 706 Park Ave.

Golf scholarship

Shawn L. Kelley, daughter of Cincinnati pro golfer Wayne Kelley, will be joining the East Carolina University golf team next year.

The St. Ursula high school senior, who sports about an eight handicap, has consistently placed high in area junior golf tournaments.

In 2000, she placed third in the city junior open and second in the junior club championship at Reeves Golf Course.

In 2001, she finished third again in the junior city open, but captured first place in a city tournament at California Golf Course in 2002.

This past summer, she played in the Ohio Junior Open in Marion, Ohio, placing 19th among 130 participants.

"That was the biggest tournament I have played,'' Kelley said "There were a lot of good players there."

$1,401 collected for toys

In six days, 520 students of the National Honor Society at Williamsburg Middle School collected $1,401 for the Clermont County community toy chest.

The money will be used to buy clothes and toys for needy children in Clermont County.

Groceries distributed

Between 9:30 a.m. and noon Saturday, Friends of St. Francis Seraph School in Over-the-Rhine prepared and distributed groceries for the 95 families whose children attend school at 14 E. Liberty St.

Faith matters

KENWOOD - Christmas isn't just a time for children. That's why All Saints Catholic Church in Kenwood makes a point of giving gifts to the elderly at three of its neighborhood nursing homes.

"We serve the residents of these homes, and we know them," said Lillian Eickman, who has been coordinating the gift drive for 23 years at the church. "These are people who have no one else and maybe wouldn't get a gift without this effort."

But the church, which collected 450 gifts this year, doesn't stop there. It also provides gifts to children at Prince of Peace Catholic School in Covington, Catholic Social Services and other agencies.

"I think it's important that people have an opportunity to help others. People are looking to involve their families in some sort of giving," Eickman said.

The church's effort also includes sending Santa with the gifts to some of the places that receive them.

"It's not a hard job to do. There's a need, and people are willing to fill it," Eickman said.

Volunteers wrap gifts to show God's love

The Vineyard Community Church in Springdale is trying to make Christmas a little easier for shoppers. About 1,300 volunteers from the church expect to have wrapped 26,000 gifts by Christmas Eve at Tri-County Mall.

"As a church, we value going out and serving people. What better thing to do at Christmas than to hand someone a bottle of water, ask them to take a seat and we'll wrap their gift for free?" said Christine Ransdell, a Vineyard staff member who coordinates the effort.

The church, which is not accepting donations for the work, expects to give away 10,000 water bottles and 5,000 shopping bags and use 50,000 feet of wrapping paper and 26,000 bows.

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Kenneth E. Clarke, priest