Charity starts with trees
Years ago, the Kern County Museum started a holiday tradition called Clock Tower Holidays. It invited local artists and decorators in to design large pine trees with distinct seasonal flavor to be showcased in the museum’s Main Gallery through December. This year Clock Tower Holidays re-invented its scope and purpose. There were still pine trees and dozens of decorators, but when the Gala was held on Nov. 18 to reveal this year’s display, the shift in purpose was obvious.
Hanging from the tall pines, tastefully interspersed between lovely ornaments, colorful sashes and sparkling lights, were socks, magic markers, soccer balls, soldiers’ pictures, dolls, farming implements, “Make -A-Wish” stars and anything else that fit the theme “Wrapped Up In Giving.”
This year’s cast of decorators and designers was different, too. Instead of professionals from local businesses, students from area high school Interact Clubs took on the challenge, ably assisted by their parent advisory Rotary Clubs of Bakersfield. Museum Director Jeff Nickell said more than 100 Rotarians and Interact Club students spent hours working elbow-to-elbow to get the job done on Nov. 14.
“All of the Interact Clubs chose a non-profit to benefit a particular charity,” Nickell said. “When the exhibit is over, everything hanging on the trees, around or under them, will be going to those charities.”
The museum benefitted, too, as the money raised from the $25-a-person, Nov. 18 Gala was a fund-raiser for the non-profit institution operated by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools. Rotary provided the labor, food and beverages for the opening, with sponsorship from Cookies Couture and Dewar’s Fine Candies.
Where a star or an angel may have adorned the top of a tree in years past, Frontier High Schools’ entry featured the face of an angelic young girl, named Jaela Smith. Smith is four-years-old and has arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal connection between veins and arteries. Frontier’s Interact Club sold “Make-A-Wish” paper stars that were hanging from the tree for $1 a piece, raising money so Smith could attend Disneyland.
Trying to make the holidays a little easier for American soldiers stationed in far away lands, West High’s Interact Club had as its theme, “Adopt-A-Soldier.” Its tree featured dozens of pictures of servicemen and women who had been adopted by the club to receive special holiday packages.
Soccer balls dressed up in human garb framed the base of North High’s tree, where one could find basketballs, volleyballs, footballs, baseballs and even golfballs hanging from the decorated limbs. Boys and Girls Club would be the recipient of all that the public got to see on that night.
“Boys and Girls Club is a really great organization.” said North High student and Interact Club member Dana Denesha. “They help a lot of kids who have no where else to go. So, we thought it would be great to help those kids during the holidays.”
Helping kids was the obvious theme of Golden Valley High’s display, as peeking out from behind the tree was a life size standup poster of a smiling young girl imploring those who came by to become Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers. The tree was decorated with many ornaments containing the organization’s heart and child logo. Golden Valley had gone to local business to donate gift cards for CASA children.
Golden Valley student and Interact Club member Diana Cisneros said,“CASA focuses on the special needs and best interests of children in Foster homes, and we wanted to do something for the children and the volunteers this holiday season.”
Clock Tower Holidays Video