December 26, 2013
By Kenneth D. Miller
Assistant Managing Editor
For the past 28 years the annual Parents of Watts has been a big event for school aged boys and girls in and around Watts, thanks to Sweet Alice Harris and scores of sponsors who provided hundreds of backpack and bicycles on Wednesday Dec. 18.
The annual Parents of Watts Christmas celebration was held at the Dianne Feinstein School Readiness Center on a mild warm afternoon on Imperial Hwy. and included eight schools, which brought upwards of 200 students from Compton, Flournoy Elementary, John Ritter Elementary, Weigand Ave. elementary, Florence Griffith-Joyner, Grape Screet Elementary, Clinton Elementary and 112th Street Elementary.
“The first Christmas party I gave I had such a hard time giving it because I didn’t have enough space for the gifts and children, so Senator Diane Feinstein said don’t worry about it, I’ll get you a place,” Sweet Alice, the executive director of Parents of Watts, explained.
“I walk around the community and visit various schools and carefully select the kids who are the most in need. Many of the kids are foster children, but we still have a responsibility to take care of them because many of them are my neighbors and I try to get the best for them,’ Sweet Alice added.
Each of the youths was treated to a lunch that consisted of hot dogs, chips and punch and a live band played familiar Christmas theme songs for them. They also received backpacks full of items ranging from school supplies to toiletries and socks and underwear.
After they received their lunch and participated in a Christmas sing along, they were handed their either red or blue back pack and toy trucks for the boys and dolls for the girls and then a brand new bicycle.
When I asked one boy if I could ride his bike, he responded, “No, aint nobody gone ride my bike.”
It was a sense of pride and joy that each of the kids shared as their teachers escorted them back to their buses and their bikes with their names tags were loaded underneath the bus.
“I don’t know what they will feel like next week, but I do know they are happy today. This is what it is all about and I could not be more pleased for them. It brings me great joy just to take a part in it,”concluded Sweet Alice.
The event would not have been possible without the support of volunteers who assisted in making Christmas a day to remember for children who didn’t expect as much.