On December 12, California Correctional Institution (CCI) and the Stallion Springs Police Activities League hosted 26 children from the Jamison Children’s Center in Bakersfield at the 19th Annual Christmas at The Lodge in Stallion Springs.
As with past years, CCI staff generously donated three truckloads of toys, skateboards and bicycles to help the children enjoy the day.
In addition to the toy donations, approximately $1500 in cash was donated by the California Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), California Correctional Supervisor’s Organization (CCSO) and CCI staff. Correctional Lieutenant Dave Crounse; Correctional Sergeant Paul Baptista; Correctional Officer Paul Soto, and CCI Public Information Officer Jon Bartelmie spearheaded this year’s event on behalf of the institution.
Upon arrival at the beautiful Stallion Springs Lodge, the feeling and excitement of Christmas was in the air with the sight of snow! For many of the children, this was their first time in the snow and as they disembarked from the bus, they began having snowball fights.
The children were met by Brad Burris, Stallion Springs Chief of Police, along with volunteers from Woodward West, CCI, CCPOA, CCSO, Stallion Springs Police Activities League, Kern County Sheriff, G.E. Wind, Horse Thief Women’s Golf Group and Cummings Valley School.
The festivities moved inside the Lodge and the children, with help from the volunteers, enjoyed creating craft items. A luncheon of pizza, juice, and cookies, donated by Woodward West, was then served.
“Thank you to everyone for your continued support and generosity,” said CCI Warden Fernando Gonzalez. “You have provided these children a wonderful Christmas.” Chief Burris also addressed the volunteers and children and personally thanked the staff of CCI, CCPOA and the CCSO for their generous contributions.
Following lunch, a special surprise guest arrived – Santa Claus! The children entered Santa’s room, filled with toys, skateboards and bicycles donated by the staff of CCI. The children’s smiles were priceless, and some had tears in their eyes as they tried to speak. After talking to Santa, the children were allowed to pick the gift of their choice.
The Jamison Children’s Center provides 24 hour emergency shelter for abused and neglected children in Kern County. The Center serves over 200 children each month, with ages ranging from infants to 17 years of age; the average stay is approximately 10 days. Their needs are varied and great. Cash donations are greatly appreciated by the Jamison Children’s Center and are utilized to purchase items for the everyday needs of the children throughout the year.
As in years past, Christmas at The Lodge in Stallion Springs was enjoyed and appreciated by all.