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SANTA ANA : Teens Bring Dance, Food and Fun to Kids

Ignoring the gloomy, overcast sky that threatened rain, about 180 low-income and homeless children laughed and played together Saturday at a party thrown for them.

During the mid-morning event, the children, who were invited to the party from poor neighborhoods and homeless shelters around the county, watched dance performances, did arts and crafts and received free food and gifts.

About 40 volunteers, mostly high school students from throughout the county, organized the party event, which was held at the Southwest Minority Economic Development Assn. building on 2nd Street in Santa Ana.

After munching on chocolate chip cookies and drawing in his new coloring book, Luis Varrios, 12, said he admired the high school students who made the party possible. “They’re very responsible to do this. I think it’s very nice on their part,” he said.

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The students, members of the Youth Leadership Council of the Volunteer Center of Greater Orange County, said the goal of the party was to provide a good time for the children as a way of helping the community.

“The public image of teen-agers is that we don’t care, but that’s really untrue,” said Joe Sanberg, 14, who help coordinate the event. “We want to give back to the community, which has given so much to us.”

Richard Sewell, 27, emcee for the event, said the party was important because “it provides alternative (activities) for children and gives them a fun, good time they might not otherwise have had. It brings the community closer together.”

Alberto Chavez, 37, who came with his children, said he appreciated the tangible gifts. And he added that it is also “helpful for the small kids to see what the high school students are doing, because they make good role models.”

Anyone interested in joining volunteer projects throughout the county may call the Volunteer Center at (714) 953-5757.


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