December 25, 2013 Edition

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Santa Claus shakes hands with John Jacobs and greets Danny Goforth and staff member Katie Lewis at the Lawrence County Cooperative School Christmas party.
TD Photo ~ John Bland

Kiwanis Club spreads
Christmas cheer


John Bland
Publisher

Continuing a tradition of over 35 years, the Kiwanis Club of Walnut Ridge assisted with the Christmas party for students or clients of the Lawrence County Cooperative School in Portia.

Kiwanis member Philip Clark said that Kiwanis has helped to host the party since the beginning, or almost since the beginning, of the school.

Kiwanis members donated $1,500 that was used to buy Christmas gifts for each student. Santa Claus also attended the party, and Kiwanis members assisted him in passing out gifts.

Vickie Mitchell, also a Kiwanis member, said, "This is an event that members of the Kiwanis club enjoy doing. It is very gratifying to see the students of the school so happy.

"The money that we raise from the radio auction in October is used to purchase gifts for each student and to make a donation to the school to meet whatever their needs are," she added.

Prior to the gift opening, Kiwanis Club member Lloyd Clark of Powhatan read the Christmas story from the Bible. Then, Lyle Huskey, who attends the school, led everyone in singing songs, such as "Here Comes Santa Claus." After the gift opening, the students enjoyed a Christmas dinner prepared by the school's kitchen staff.

Lisa Williams, executive director of the school, said the students look forward to the Christmas party and the Special Olympics as two of their favorite yearly events. She said the school appreciates Kiwanis for their ongoing assistance with the party and gifts. "They look forward to it, and we greatly appreciate it," she said.

Kiwanians also gave an additional $1,000 donation to the school. Williams said this year's donation has not been designated for a specific purpose as yet. In the past, the Kiwanis donation has been used for such purposes as to help a student's family in need, help pay for testing expenses to determine if a child qualifies to attend the school, to purchase needed equipment for a child or to buy playground equipment.

The Lawrence County Cooperative School serves preschool children and adults with developmental disabilities. Specifically, it is for children ages 0 to 5 and adults over age 18 who have completed high school.

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