Christmas for the kids

By Rutul Patel
Published: December 2010

Donning their favorite Pokémon, Teletubbies, and clown costumes, 45 South volunteers from Newton Athletes Serving Community (ASC) spent the weekend of December 17 entertaining homeless children at Christmas in the City at the Boston Convention Center.
Christmas in the City, an event created over 20 years ago, offers homeless children living in shelters a Christmas celebration and a new toy that they specifically requested.
“It’s essentially a holiday party for kids in the homeless shelters, ASC Co-President Yoonchan Choi said. “The setup is very similar to an event like Southfest.
Volunteers from South attend this annual charity nearly ever year, but this year, an unusually high number of South students volunteered.
“We got about 45 kids from South to come- about 25 sophomores, ten juniors, seven seniors and two freshmen, “ ASC Co-President Noah Rivkin said.
ASC is a community service group composed of a combination of North students, South students, and Newton parents.
Outside of the group of volunteers from South, past volunteers of ASC such as 2010 South graduates Cora Visnick, Jenn Mountain, and Madeleine Reed and North graduate Maicen Young all returned to help out with the charity event.
“They had all done ASC and Christmas in the City in the past and for most of the years of their high school careers, so they really wanted to come and help while they were at home from college, sophomore volunteer Kyra Visnick said.
Each student took on different responsibilities, and helped the event run smoothly.
“I wore a variety of different costumes to make the less fortunate kids smile and remember Christmas positively, North freshman Jack Boucher said. “The kids were [ecstatic] to see the characters from their favorite cartoons come to life.
Reed and sophomore Sydney Rubinstein helped out in other ways.
“I greeted the parents and the children as they came in, Rubinstein said, while Reed “helped control a moon bounce to make sure that the kids didn’t trample each other and that everyone got a turn.
While helping others, students and volunteers greatly enjoyed the celebration and took away personal lessons from it.
“Christmas is the time of year where everyone deserves to be happy, sophomore Marini Lopci said. “I have always been able to have a happy Christmas, so [this experience] allowed me to give back to the people and allow them to have a happy Christmastime too, without the troubles of housing or financial problems.
Visnick agreed. “Christmas in the City is always a time where we’re reminded of what is important, and it’s also a time where we are brought closer together, she said.
Dressed as a clown during the event, Rivkin said he discovered what some might call the “the true meaning of Christmas.
“The event is always somewhat of a reality check for me, he said. “It’s a chance to realize that Christmas is a time to be thankful for our gifts, but also thoughtful about what other people who aren’t as lucky as us are not getting.

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