Like most places, the office Christmas party had been an annual tradition at Access since the beginning. But a couple of years ago, we decided it was time for a change. We enjoy hanging out with our Access family, but wanted a new tradition that stoked the holiday spirit and provided an opportunity to give back to our community.
And we wanted to go shopping.
That’s why we took a day off to hit the mall for one of our favorite nonprofit neighbors, West End Center for Youth. The Center was first established in 1979 and plays a vital role in Roanoke as an after-school program for at-risk kids. Since its founding, West End Center has experienced tremendous growth, both in the number of children served and the available programs and services. Today, West End Center serves about 150 children each year who live in Roanoke’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Program leaders focus on academic achievement, social involvement, and physical activity.
This year, Center staff identified 22 students who had extensive needs for the holidays — clothes, toys, and other essential items made every kid’s wish list. We loaded up the van and went to work helping to make their holidays a little brighter. And ours.
Special thanks to Amy, Tiffany and Richard at Boyd Pearman Photography for filming our exciting day!
[Note: If you recognize the music featured in this video, you must be a Peanuts fan. Jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi and his trio provided music for “A Charlie Brown Christmas” that will always be the coolest sound of the holidays. Needless to say, Access does not own the copyright for it. But somehow, it sets the perfect mood. For more on Vince Guaraldi, start here: https://www.npr.org/artists/15396963/vince-guaraldi]