Keeping the Holiday Spirit Alive

15 December 2018

NY1 joined St. James' Church and the Osborne Association for our annual Share the Joy event.

The holidays are a time for families to come together. but for children of incarcerated parents, this time of the year can be tough. At a special celebration inside this cozy room at St. James' Church on Madison Avenue, a group of children make gingerbread houses and lay the foundation for a special bond.

Many have never met before this holiday gathering but still share a connection. They are children who have an incarcerated parent. Xiomara Torres is here with her son Jesiah, "it is really good because it makes my son feel like, you know, there are other people going through the same thing he's going through, so he's not alone. We basically created a little family here." Jesiah, showing his creation, shared, "I put gummy bears for the door and some candy on the top so it can be a decoration."

The annual event is organized by the Osborne Association, which provides support for more than 12,000 individuals and families affected by the criminal justice system in New York each year.

"I'm hoping that they walk with a sense of hope and a sense of joy and they feel connected and they feel supported,"  said Diana Archer, Children, Youth, and Family Services program coordinator at the Osborne Association.

Judges pick the best candy-covered houses. but every child here is a winner. They get one-on-one time with Santa Claus and 3 gifts of their choice.

"My favorite thing about Christmas is that everyone gets to like come together and we get to play fun games and we get presents," said Lynne Soloman, who attended the event. 

The presents are all donated by parishioners here at St. James' Church. For some of the children, these are only presents they'll get this holiday season. 

Elaine Connelly, a longtime volunteer and parishioner at St. James' Church added, "It's such a great feeling. Most of our volunteers say they feel like they get more than they give."

Because giving back, being grateful, and making memories are what the holidays are all about.


Originally broadcast on NY1 December 15, 2018.