A child’s wish for the holidays might include Santa Claus, the North Pole, a few presents and, of course, their family. On Monday night, the Sharks Foundation and the Healthy Start Family Resource Center made this holiday wish become a reality by creating a winter wonderland at Sharks Ice at San Jose for 27 local families.
These deserving families spent the night interacting with coaches, broadcasters and front office staff and were treated to ice skating with S.J. Sharkie Claus, arts & crafts, and dinner provided by Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria.
"Our role is to reach out to the schools and have them refer families to us that they feel are in need," explained Healthy Start Coordinator Susie Aldrich. "We have several other sponsors as well, but we go through and based on the need and the hardships, we pick out the families that come here to the Sharks Holiday Assist Party."
As families finished their Amici’s dinner and walked downstairs into a room adorned with Christmas trees, colored lights, and holiday balloons, the smiles couldn’t get any bigger. Squeals of delight came from the younger children while parents shared words of gratitude with their assisting family.
"The children were very excited," exclaimed Tina Goytia, mother of one of the families chosen to be a guest at the party. "They were shocked and amazed because they didn't know that there was going to be presents here for them. They thought it was only going to be arts and crafts and ice skating. They were amazed."
For many of the families, 2012 was a difficult year with many experiencing hardships such as apartment fires, life-threatening illnesses and job loss. This event provided a welcome respite from their daily lives and provided them an opportunity to smile.
"It's the ability for our family to help their family," said Sharks EVP and General Manager Doug Wilson. "I think it's a great thing for everybody, but for the kids in particular, to have that little twinkle in their eye, it was pretty cool."
About the Sharks Foundation
The Sharks Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the lives of youth and families in our community with an emphasis in the areas of Education, Health and Safety, and Character Development. During the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, the Sharks Foundation donated nearly $1 million in support to local organizations and since its inception in 1994, has given more than $5.7 million. For more information about the Sharks Foundation, visit: SharksFoundation.org. You can also follow the Sharks Foundation on Facebook at Facebook.com/SharksFoundation.
The Sharks Foundation would like to give a special thanks to the following for their support of the Holiday Assist Party: Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria, Rosendin Electric, Friends and Family of Ernie Beltramo, Aramark, Sharks Ice at San Jose, Health Start Family Resource Center, the Golden State Precision Skating Team and the San Jose Sharks staff.
About the Healthy Start Family Resource Center
The Healthy Start Family Resource Center is a student and family support program in the San Jose Unified School District. The mission of Healthy Start Family Resource Center is to provide integrated and easily accessible health and social services to no/low income children and families in an effort to assist them with maximizing their potential in areas of health, education and family functioning. Healthy Start is a partnership of schools and community agencies providing direct and referral services to the children and their families in San Jose Unified School District.