Contributed by Tiffany Tononi, Sustainable Communities Manager, UNI
For sixteen years Urban Neighborhood Initiatives has organized and hosted an annual Christmas celebration for the Springwells Village community. Each year the crowd at this event grows. In most recent years, somewhere between 500 and 600 people attended, often with the entire family in tow.
Last year UNI’s Executive Director, Dennis Nordmoe, reflected on what this high turnout says about the community to which our mission and team are so dedicated. “I think it means that people want more for their children than just home and school and clothes. They want their children to experience the joy and excitement of the season. They want to share with their children a community that can be a great place to gather and to enjoy the company of others.”
This year’s celebration is scheduled for Saturday, December 14 from 12:30-3:00pm. As always, holiday activities and refreshments will be on hand, Salvation Army will be sending members of their brass band for the second year in a row, and we are thrilled to be adding a small petting farm to this year’s event. As an event completely dependent on volunteer participation and in-kind donations, we are also honored by the increasing support of the local business community for this community event. Special thanks to The Edward C. Levy Company for sponsoring Pictures with Santa this year!
Celebrations help build community through shared experiences of joy and pride. We hope to see an even bigger crowd than last year and as this event grows we are reminded to focus on wonder and joy.
“Where do we go from here? I want next year’s event to be, at a deeply human level, more exciting than ever before. The presents to be shared will not so much be candy and toys but gifts that touch the hearts of hundreds. I want to see horse drawn carriages and holiday brass and choral music that awakens young minds to a beauty that transcends the routine. I want the girl who asked me, “Who are these people?” while standing in front of the crèche to come to share the richness of her heritage. I want the family pictures with Santa printed out in color as soon as they are taken! I want parents who lack resources for exposing their children to cultural events to be delighted by what they are able to expose their children to in their very own community (within walking distance at that!). I want to share with my neighbors the experience of seeing for a day our Springwells Village community as a place of magic and wonder where animals transport people from another age, where bands march, choirs overwhelm us with beauty in sound, and people of all ages share delights of giving and receiving – at multiple venues throughout the community.” –Dennis Nordmoe
UNI’s Community Christmas Celebration will be held on Saturday, December 14 this year from 12:30-3:00pm. All activities will be held in Springdale Green Playlot and All Saints Neighborhood Center located at 8300 Longworth (at Mullane). Everyone is welcome. Those interested in volunteering or contributing an activity should contact Christine Bell at (313) 841-4447 or firstname.lastname@example.org.