Laurel Civic Breakfast in Paradise Brings Holiday Cheer to Underprivileged Children

The Giving Coast

Pictured: The children who attended the holiday breakfast were filled with grateful excitement. Photo courtesy of Laurel Civic.

Laurel Civic hosted their children’s Holiday Party, Breakfast in Paradise, on Sunday, December 18th at Paradise Grill in Nokomis. Laurel Civic has been doing holiday gift-giving parties for their students/children for nearly 30 years.

The children who participated in this year’s morning festivities were from Laurel Civics’ Homework Assistance Program which helps underprivileged children in kindergarten through twelfth grade who struggle academically, often because their parents are stressed economically.

“Marybeth Hansen of Paradise Grill provides one meal a week for our Homework Assistance Program for our kids, and has been a generous partner to us at Laurel Civic,” shares Joyce Mulcahy, Director of Development for Laurel Civic. “When our E.D. asked if we could do the Christmas party at their restaurant, making it more festive for the kids, she happily agreed. Paradise Grill doesn’t open till 11am, and so she scheduled us from 9am-11am.” Hansen of Paradise Grill and her staff served a sumptuous meal including a generous stack of mouthwatering pancakes to over 50 people.

The main goal of the Homework Assistance Program is to help students succeed academically by boosting their knowledge and confidence. “For children in grades K–12, our homework assistance program had a 99% on-time grade progression rate last year. This past year we acquired three 86” ActivPanel smartboards that promote hands-on learning and give our students a technological edge,” says Mulcahy. “We also have 3 hired part-time teachers that help bring additional structure to our program, as well as help mentor the dedicated volunteers that help our students. We instill in each child the belief that hard work, self-discipline, and drive may help them realize their objectives and goals. Every day after finishing their homework, the kids in our program are expected to read, and 99% of them improved their reading proficiency.”

In many of the children’s homes, consistent nutritious meals and snacks are lacking. All of the students in the program receive a nourishing lunch when they attend after school. “We recognize that we are in a unique position to provide our students with a nutritious meal and encourage them to also practice healthy eating habits. We presently have 82 pupils enrolled and are filled to capacity due to space constraints,” adds Mulcahy.

The merry-making morning included a special Santa delivery from the Nokomis Fire Dept. Each child received a few presents they asked for, plus a little extra in the spirit of the season. Alicia Williams, Director of Youth Programs, coordinated the breakfast event and greeted each child personally. “This is the month when love, peace, and happiness are shared the most. Here at Laurel Civic, we are genuinely grateful for all the love given to the Youth Department from our generous community of donors and the organizations that support us.”

First grader, Zayla, who just started the Homework Assistance Program met Santa for the first time through Laurel Civic. She ran to him with unabashed joy and later said, “He makes me so happy. He’s very welcome to eat our cookies at our home!”

Pictured: The children who attended the holiday breakfast were filled with grateful excitement. Photo courtesy of Laurel Civic.

If you would like to find out more about Laurel Civic, or to consider an end-of-year gift, please click here.

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