2023 Holiday Season Rewind

January 12, 2024
Michelle Vazquez

The 2023 holiday season was nothing short of a whirlwind and at Children’s Institute, it was no different. We kicked off the holidays with our Staff Thanksgiving Luncheons and culminated with our Project Fatherhood Gingerbread making event, with several events in-between, including our annual Winter Festivals!

Take a walk down candy cane lane with us as we look back on some incredible highlights from this past holiday season.

2023 Staff Thanksgiving Luncheons

Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, and yams were aplenty at our Staff Thanksgiving Luncheons held at our Watts, Otis Booth, and Figueroa offices. Each year, we invite all CII staff to gather around for food, games, giveaways, and this year was no exception. Thanks to Country Boy Catering, we had our fill of Thanksgiving Day classics while enjoying each other’s company and reminiscing on our accomplishments. Who’s ready for another serving of banana pudding?


Watts Community Thanksgiving

At this year’s Watts Community Thanksgiving event hosted at the Watts Campus, families were invited to enjoy a delicious meal by Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen and stay for magic by California Joe, giveaways, and community resources.

Special thanks to our amazing volunteers and to the organizations that tabled and generously shared resources with our community. We couldn’t do this without you!


A “December to Remember” Foster Youth Holiday Party

Last month, we held the “December to Remember” holiday celebration for 100+ foster youth and their guests at our Otis Booth Campus! The celebration was filled with magical moments, great food by Country Boy catering, lively music by DJ Lani Love, and even snow— a holiday miracle!

Thank you to our generous donors, funders, and community partners who supported this event, including ONE | A Potter’s House Church, the Dream Center, Alex & Tiffany Tuttle, and Tae and Tray Thompson of Twinspire, among many others. We appreciate all the support!


Winter Festival- Long Beach

From business park to winter wonderland, we transformed our Long Beach office for families to enjoy wreath making, gingerbread house building, face painting and more! As families entered through a fantastic balloon arch, they were invited to enjoy the snacks and arts & crafts, then visit the elves who were ready to deliver gifts to all the children. Finally, families were sent home with goodies and a full grocery bag, thanks to our partnership with South LA Café. Thank you to all who participated!


Winter Festival- Watts and Otis Booth

On Saturday, December 9, 2023, we enjoyed a Winter Fest double-feature at our Watts and Otis Booth campuses. The Watts community enjoyed face-painting, arts and crafts, a bounce house, and more. Special guests: the LA Rams cheer team and mascot made an appearance as well! Santa even took some time out of his busy schedule to join the festivities.

The magic extended to Echo Park that day at our Otis Booth campus. Music and laughter filled the air as families enjoyed wreath making, gingerbread houses, and gifts for all the children. Between Watts, Echo Park, Compton, Wilmington, and Long Beach we hosted over 2K children & families at our Winter Festivals this year and we couldn’t be happier about it!

Project Fatherhood’s Operation Gingerbread

To conclude the 2023 holiday season, we held one more event at our Watts Campus hosted by Project Fatherhood. Fathers were invited to bring their little ones to decorate gingerbread houses together. We had treats for all, and even a riveting giveaway . A few lucky kids went home with a brand new bike, but all kids went home with full stockings and great memories with their dad. Thanks to all who participated and thank you to Goofy for making a pit stop before heading home to Max (his son)!