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Santa, Grinch Join NorthBay Elves at Padan, Fairview

Posted: January 5, 2019

Santa and Mrs. Claus, legions of elves in red and green and NorthBay blue, and even a magician converged on the campuses of Fairview Elementary School in Fairfield and Padan Elementary School in Vacaville to deliver gifts and goodies to the students and their teachers, as part of NorthBay Healthcare’s annual Adopt-a-School endeavor.

As teams of NorthBay employees arrived at the doors of their adopted classrooms, they were met by squeals of delight, high fives and plenty of hugs from appreciative children.

“There is a hug around every corner at this school,” observed Diane Barney, director of Public Relations as she watched groups of NorthBay employees as they pulled wagons and carts laden with gifts, sporting equipment, pizzas, juice boxes and more.

A total of 77 classrooms at the two schools were “adopted” by NorthBay staff members, who fulfilled the wishes of teachers and children alike. The parties took place the week of Dec. 17, just before school let out for winter break.

Early in December, teachers at each school were asked to complete a “Wish List” for their classroom and choose a date for a class party. Wish list items included everything from paper and pencils to books, games and playground balls.

Executive Assistants Sylvia Spanos and Stacy Andersen organized the lists and gave every NorthBay department an opportunity to choose a class to adopt. Employees then purchased needed items and made plans to throw each class a holiday celebration.

Teresa Liashenko’s Transitional Kindergarten class at Fairmont received a special visit from Santa (Dr. Terrell Van Aken) and Mrs. Claus (Gretchen Shilts, retired NorthBay chaplain), and the children were treated to an array of goodies in gift bags almost as big as they were.

“I love everything in here,” exclaimed one child, as he dug deep into the sack, pulling up two Hot Wheel cars, a teddy bear and a soft blanket, before he noticed a box of crayons. “I have my own crayons?” he asked. “This is my favorite!”

“I only asked for coloring books and crayons,” Ms. Liashenko noted. “NorthBay outdoes itself every year. It is really, really nice for these children, who really don’t have a lot. Some are even homeless.”

“I always get teary when we have these parties,” observed Julie Lewis, a second grade teacher at Fairview. “It just means the world to me, because these children don’t have much. One of my students said she wasn’t going to have Christmas this year, and I said, ‘wait until NorthBay gets here.’”

NorthBay Healthcare adopts Fairview and Padan Elementary because they are in low-income areas teachers often scramble for basic supplies and learning materials. NorthBay first adopted schools in 2005, making this the 13th year employees have brought good cheer to local schools.