Laughter, caroling and Christmas cheer filled the air at the John Malone Community Center, 2331 Bergen Avenue, on Tuesday, December 19th. That’s because it was Millennium Development’s annual tree lighting.
A group of elementary school children from Bergen Beach’s P.S. 312 and Mill Basin’s P.S. 236 who participate in Millennium’s Compass afterschool program got to celebrate the Christmas spirit alongside their families, older adults from Millennium’s senior programs and local elected officials.
“It’s important for the young folks to see that we care about them,” Councilwoman Mercedes Narcisse said in an interview. “We may celebrate different holidays, but at the end of the day, it’s a celebration for us as human beings, as being part of a community, as being people.”
The event was open to the families of the children present plus those who participate in the adult programming, which held its own tree lighting, as well, to create an intergenerational spirit of togetherness. However, the event was largely attended by the afterschool children.
The festivities kicked off with a tree ornament decorating activity for the kids. After, they performed “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Santa Claus was also in attendance, taking pictures with kids and dancing around.
Finally, it was time for the tree lighting. Narcisse and Santa gathered the children in front of the Christmas tree and counted down for the lights to go on. Then the group posed for photos in front of the dazzling and colorful tree.
Refreshments consisting of hot chocolate, cake, brownie bites and Christmas cookies were also served for all attendees.
“[The event] is great, and it’s lovely to see all the kids,” Mary, one adult attendee, said in an interview. “It’s beautiful – it really is – and the kids, they sang beautifully. I think it’s great to see everybody together.”