Southwest Indian Relief Council
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A Program of PWNA

Success Stories

 Precious Children

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There isn’t anything more precious than a child, especially at Christmas time.

There isn’t anything more precious than a child, especially at Christmas time. Their open honesty and sweet smiles make all the work worthwhile.

As you can imagine, delivering Christmas to over nine thousand children and youth on eight reservations is no easy task. Obviously this is a small number in comparison to what St. Nick is responsible for, but just the same, many miles and many helpers are necessary to put Christmas stockings into the hands of Native American children.

Ganado was one of the Navajo communities in Arizona that received stockings to distribute. Early Steps to School Success was one of hundreds of Program Partners serving youth in our Southwest service area.

This organization provides motor learning, skill assessments on young toddlers, and arranges for parent/child play groups to better their learning development. Lenita, our Program Partner, has worked with Early Steps for the past four years. This event clearly showcased Lenita’s ability to get people together to enjoy family time.

Our staff travelled to Ganado, approximately 270 miles northeast of Phoenix, to greet the smiling faces of the young children and their families attending the event. Ole St. Nick had to call his brother, Ole St. Rick, who happens to be one of our team members, to help get all the stockings to the children of Ganado. St. Rick traveled with several helpers — a.k.a. elves.

The event was made extra special because the families were given the supplies to construct gingerbread houses to take home with them. The families were heavily engaged in constructing the graham cracker and frosting homes — almost so much that one of our staff people decked out in her elf outfit hardly caused a stir.

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St. Rick traveled with several helpers — a.k.a. elves.

They stayed focused until one first grader looked up from the sugary sweet home she was constructing and asked the helper, “Do you work for Santa? I would like to send him a message: My name is Valencia. Please tell Santa I said hi!"

Once the families had completed their gingerbread houses, Lenita gave the “okay” for Santa to come in and make their smiles even brighter! One of the elves handed out candy canes to all the children, hoping to decrease the anxiety of some of the younger children when approaching Santa Rick.

The stockings were well received and another elf had a special gift for the children attending — snow boots! They were just like Santa’s boots: black and warm. Except for the few children who were a little leery of the beard and red suit, bright smiles — some missing their front teeth — were wide and appreciative as Santa and his elves waved goodbye to travel south to their homes.

We had traveled a long distance to present gifts to these precious children, but they managed to brighten our holidays considerably!

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