Brownies help childrens home

The Scout motto is “Be Prepared.” And Brownie Troop 229 in Walnut did just that. The scouts gathered coats for neglected and abused children in Chino this Christmas.
“The girls were looking for a service project and I learned about the One Warm Coat drive on the Internet,” explained Troop Leader Mirella Garcia. “And co-leader Brenda Stone knew about the Hillview Acres Childrens Home, so we thought we would collect coats for them.”
The local troop meets at Vejar Elementary School in Walnut, where the 15 members are in the first, second, and third graders. The troop meets Monday afternoons in Stone’s third-grade classroom.
The youngsters began their drive on Dec. 15, gathering coats, sweaters and jackets every day after school.
“The girls were wonderful, it was a great experience,” she said.
Service projects are nothing new for the little scouts. In November, the troop provided a turkey dinner for a family of four in Walnut. It also collected $120 for another family from students and staff.
On the last day of school before the holiday recess, the clothing donations poured in from parents, students and staff. By the end of the day, the Brownies had collected 260 coats for the Chino youngsters.
“This is a great school and community, we couldn’t have done it without them,” the proud troop leader noted.
Last year, more than 2,000 One Warm Coat drives were held across the country to cloth families in need.
While the local girls were a small part of this national campaign, they played a large part in making the holidays a little warmer for other children.
Happy holidays!

Rowland elves pull through

21267-toyss.JPGThe head elf was worried. The toy workshops at Rowland High School were way behind in their toy quota for the busy holiday season.
The Marines would arrive the next day to pick up the donations for their annual Toys for Tots campaign. Something had to be done.
“We usually collect 500 toys for the Marines, but we only had about 300 when I went to lunch,” explained head elf and administrative assistant Christine Gonzalez. “I was disappointed because I thought there would be more need for the toys than ever.”
Call it holiday procrastination, but her fellow elves got the message and got busy — really busy.
“It was like magic! People started streaming into the office with toys that afternoon,” Gonzalez said, with a holiday twinkle in her eyes.
“Jose Camacho’s Spanish classes brought 194 toys for the Toys for Tots,” she continued. “That’s the second year they’ve gathered the most.”
Soon the high school had not only meet its goal, but had exceeded it handsomely. A total of 736 toys were gathered for the Marine Corps charity.

Giving a tradition at Los Molinos

Just down the holiday lane, Los Molinos Elementary School has finished up its Toys For Tots campaign.

Last month, the Hacienda Heights school collected canned goods for the food at St. John Vianney Catholic Church for Thanksgiving.

“Every year, this school has a tradition of helping needy families,” said Principal Angela Lin. “The students and staff support our charities wholeheartedly.”

The administrator said the kids decorated the collection boxes before putting them out.
“This helps not only the recipients, it’s good for our own students,” Lin said.

CHIPS for Kids a family tradition

Many schools in the Hacienda La Puente Unified found it in their hearts to help the needy this Christmas. Some participated in the CHiPs for Kids toy drive.
For Alice Villalobos, the toy drive brings back memories of her late brother, Sgt. Eddie Sandoval, a longtime officer in the California Highway Patrol.
“Eddie was a very, very giving man. He became involved in the CHiPs For Kids program when it first began in 1989 and looked forward to it every year,” the aide at Bixby Elementary explained. “He loved to help the kids.”
The annual campaign collects new toys for disadvantaged children. Since its humble beginning three decades ago, the drive has grown to collect more than 200,000 new toys every year.
Villalobos has picked up this labor of love, orchestrating the toy drive at several local schools, including Del Valle and Temple in La Puente.
“They’re awesome, collecting many toys for needy families. I knew Eddie and he was so proud of the schools’ generosity,” said CHP Officer Edmund Zorrilla.

Christmas Past gives Christmas present

This is a story about Christmas Past.
A Past very much like today. A time when many had lost their jobs in an economic downturn. A harsh time when many had lost hope for a merry Christmas.
During those cold, dark days, some despaired of providing food for their families, let alone gifts under the Christmas tree.
But this is also a story about Christmas Present, because Past collided with the Present at Rowland High School, bringing the gift of the holiday spirit.
Like the spirit from “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, the Past presented itself in the lobby of the local high school.
The unidentified man insisted on talking directly to Principal Robbie Robinson. The busy principal had been on his way to supervise the lunch period, but he made time for the insistent parent.
“I thought his family had a problem with the school or a teacher,” Robinson recalled.
But as the patient principal pondered the mysterious man’s mission, the Christmas Past slowly unfolded.
“He explained that he had lost his job 10 years ago, while his daughter was a senior here,” Robinson said. “He said he didn’t have any money for gifts that year — everything had to go toward necessities.”
An anonymous donor at the school found about the family’s plight and gave his daughter a Christmas card with $100 in it.
“He said he never forgot that Christmas card and the unknown benefactor that turned their holiday around. And with the recession, he wanted to help another family out,” Robinson said.
The Christmas spirit only asked to remain anonymous. He presented the Rowland principal with a new Christmas card containing $100. The administrator promised to pass the gift on to a local family.
“It just goes to show that whenever you do a kind thing for someone, it comes around later. I think this wonderful spirit is part of the culture here,” Robinson concluded.
And like the Dicken’s classic, Christmas Past conspired with Christmas Present to make a needy family’s Christmas Future that much brighter.
Happy holidays!

Spark of Love at Wedgeworth

Wedgeworth Elementary School in Hacienda Heights will hold a toy drive for Sparks of Love:
at 11 a.m. Friday.

Principal Ellen Parks says “Wedgeworth will be hosting a toy drive for the Fire Station 118. The students who bring a brand new toy to give to needy children will be greeted by the
firemen from Fire Station 118. The firemen will explain what they do
and show how a fire engine works to the students. The firemen are the
heroes in our community!”

Walnut school collecting coats

Vejar Elementary School Brownie Troop #229 will be collecting gently used coats for a One Warm Coat drive from Dec. 15-19. 


The outer wear donations will be distributed to a home in Chino for neglected and abused children ages 5-18. 


The 15 troop members, in first, second and third grades, will be collecting donations of coats, sweaters, and jackets Monday – Thursday after school from 2:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. in the school’s courtyard at 20222 E. Vejar Road in Walnut.   On Friday, donations can be dropped off from 12:15 p.m. -12:30 p.m.


Last year, more than 2,000 One Warm Coat drives were held across the country to bring warmth to families in need. 


For information, please contact troop leader Mirella Garcia at (626) 890-0135.

Awards, muffins, banquets and winter programs

Busy Thursday in the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District.

Baldwin – Trimester Awards Assembly, Grades 3, Cafeteria, 1:30 p.m.; Kindergarten Winter Holiday Performance Night, Cafeteria, 6 p.m.

Del Valle – Winter Program, Cafeteria, Grades 1-2 at 6-7 p.m.

Grandview – Elementary Cross Country Banquet, Cafeteria, 5-6:30 p.m.

Kwis – Parent Education Meeting, “Communicating With Your Child,” Cafeteria, 8:15 a.m. 

Los Altos Elementary – Student Awards Assembly and Muffins with the Principal, Cafeteria, 7:45 a.m.

Newton – Parent Recognition Dinner, Library, 5:30 p.m.; Band Concert, St. Mathews Methodist Church (across the street form school), 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

Sunset – Winter Holiday Program, Cafeteria, 6-6:45 p.m.; 7-7:45 p.m.

Wedgeworth – Parent Education Meeting, “What You Should Know About Nutrition and Children,” presented by Jessica Cortez, Multipurpose Room, 8-10 a.m.

Workman High School – Winter Holiday Band Concert, Little Theatre, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Organizational/Regular Board of Education Meeting; (Closed Session) 7:00 p.m.; (Open to Public) 7:30 p.m.