Carver Center and SASH spread Christmas cheer


A Carver Center child prepares to receive his gifts on Santa’s lap during last year’s Christmas party. Courtesy of Mrs. Lori Wilson

For over 20 years, Convent of the Sacred Heart has spread Christmas joy to children at the Carver Center and those who attend the Saturdays at Sacred Heart (SASH). This year the tradition continues as members both inside and outside of the school community join in with the holiday spirit.
The Carver Center is a food pantry and childcare program that serves local, low-income families in Port Chester, New York. Students and faculty work with the children throughout the year to plan zoo and library trips.
“The children look forward to all the activities and especially enjoyed the trip to the zoo to see animals in person that they have only seen in books,”  Director of the Head Start Program at the Carver Center Ms. Carolyn Kelly said. 
Since 1991, Upper School advisories have been preparing Christmas gift bags for three and four-year-old children from the Carver Center.

A Carver Center child prepares to receive his gifts on Santa's lap during last year's Christmas party.  Courtesy of Mrs. Lori Wilson
A Carver Center child prepares to receive his gifts on Santa’s lap during last year’s Christmas party.
Courtesy of Mrs. Lori Wilson

Each of these personalized packages includes a book, an age appropriate toy, and clothing for the cold weather, such as hats, socks, mittens, sweaters and pajamas. Santa and his elves, the students, will present these gifts to the children in front of the Upper School community December 18.
“I love seeing the kids receive their gifts because they look so happy. I love their curiosity and hearing all these little voices in the theater as we come in. I brought fuzzy socks and I’m really hopeful that they like them,” junior Brooke Remsen said.
Sacred Heart students also spread Christmas cheer by volunteering with the SASH program.
Mrs. Lisa Lyons-Young, Director of Summer Outreach Programs, runs SASH, which caters to fourth through seventh grade students from low-income families living in Fairfield, Stamford, and Port Chester. The children visit the Sacred Heart campus for about 20 Saturday afternoons between October and May for various recreational and educational activities. 
Both Sacred Heart and Fairfield College Preparatory School high school students volunteer. They help the children in the computer lab, pool and Lower School Library.
“I loving coming to SASH because not only do I get to teach the kids about being well-rounded people, but they also teach me about having fun and being myself,” sophomore Kayla Rolle said.
During the holidays, Sacred Heart students present games and toys to the kids at the annual SASH Christmas Party which was hosted December 13. At the party this year, the attendees enjoyed a performance from the student-run club, Convent Clownery.
Brandon Diaz, a seventh-grader at Turn of River Middle School, appreciates all the effort Sacred Heart students put into the gifts and is excited to see what he will receive this year.
“I like coming to the Christmas party because it’s like I get two Christmases, one with my family and one with all my friends and the different volunteers,” Brandon said.
Most of the kids have already participated in the Christmas party and are excited to do so again next year.
“I can’t wait to see the volunteers every Saturday, especially during the Christmas party when they give us gifts,” seventh grader at Dolan Middle School Rodney Louis said.
Cheyann Greirson, Staff Writer