By Lt. Joshua Tyree, AA/Public Information Officer
California Correctional Institution

The California Correctional Institution (CCI) in Tehachapi recently joined forces with the Stallion Springs Police Activity League to provide children with toys and a chance to meet skateboarding pro Tony Hawk.

Correctional Capt. David Crounse of CCI coordinated with the Stallion Springs Police Activity League.

“It is all about the kids,” said Capt. Crounse. “It’s about freely giving to these kids who maybe will never have another Christmas experience like this in their lives.”

The employees at CCI donated hundreds of toys and 32 boys and girls bicycles.

“It is amazing to see how much participation we received this year,” he said. “We shattered the previous record of bicycles donated by 11. It is incredible and a credit to the generosity of the employees at CCI.”

Fifteen of the 32 bicycles were donated by the men and women assigned to CCI’s Investigative Services Unit.

“When you told me a large semi-truck was loaded with toys and then I saw the size of the truck with all those toys, I couldn’t believe it.  That truck was literally a semi-truck packed with toys,” said Officer James Best of the Stallion Spring Police Department.

Woodward West, an Action Sports Facility located in Stallion Springs, volunteered their facility to host the event for the nine children that are currently living in the Jamison Children’s Center.  The day before the special event was to take place, the Stallion Springs Police Activity League was informed 21 children were currently displaced from their homes and were in the care of the Jamison Children’s Center but many had been moved to another location to provide longer term care.

The nine children arrived at Woodward West in a white van accompanied by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.  Over 50 volunteers greeted the children as they exited the van and went into the facility.

The children were able to bowl, make Christmas crafts, make eatable Christmas treats, eat donuts, drink hot chocolate or sodas, and interact the entire time with all the volunteers.  Shortly after the great time of fun each child was escorted into a movie theater room full of toys and bicycles with Santa Claus taking center stage.

Each child was able to pick five different toys and one bicycle to take with them.  The rest of the remaining toys and bicycles were donated to the Jamison Children’s Center for future use throughout the 2015 Christmas holidays and year of 2016.

Pam and Richie Velasquez, the directors of Woodward West, assisted in coordinating a surprise visit by professional skateboarder Tony Hawk and X-Games star Tom Schaar. The two performed a skateboarding demonstration for all the volunteers and children.

After the demonstration, Tony Hawk spent time with each child signing autographs and interacting with everyone.