Celebrating at the 38th Annual Jack Brennan Children’s Holiday Party

Celebrating at the 38th Annual Jack Brennan Children’s Holiday Party

Celebrating at the 38th Annual Jack Brennan Children’s Holiday Party

“It really warms your heart seeing the children, and everyone in their families, smile. That’s what the holidays are all about.” —Johnny Taveras

For over 30 years the John Jay community has come together to make the holidays special for children and their families. And once again, on December 16, our gymnasium was filled with a joyous holiday spirit as children enjoyed face painting, games, gifts, snacks, exhibits, and music at the 38th Annual Jack Brennan Children’s Holiday Party. “This year we had over 500 people attend the event, and over 60 members of the John Jay community—students, staff, faculty, and alumni—volunteer to help out,” said Johnny Taveras, Web Manager and longtime organizer of the event. “We had people from every department volunteering. It really warms your heart seeing the children, and everyone in their families, smile. That’s what the holidays are all about.”

Group of volunteers at the Children's Holiday Party
Web Manager and longtime organizer of the event Johnny Taveras (center) with volunteers

As the children enjoyed their treats and all of the festivities, their parents and grandparents explained why the event meant so much to them.

Laura DeVries, Senior Designer, meticulously paints a child’s face.
Laura DeVries, Senior Designer, meticulously painting a child’s face. 

“It gives people a chance to feel that holiday cheer.” —Debbie  

“This is my first time coming here and my kids are really enjoying themselves. It’s good that they do this for the kids. Especially at this time of year,” said Debbie. “Right now, I’m in a situation where I’m in a homeless shelter. This event has made my kids happy. It’s allowed them to forget certain things that they’re going through in life, and it gives parents that are struggling a moment of joy too.”

Children learning about science and the American Museum of Natural History exhibit.
Children learning about science at the American Museum of Natural History exhibit.

“This event means happiness.” —Annie

I’m a grandmother and I’ve been coming to this event for five years. This event means happiness,” said Annie. “I put this event on my calendar every year because I like to see the happiness on the faces of my grandkids and my son.” 

Gearing up for a game
Gearing up for a game

“It gives people a chance to feel that holiday cheer.” —Andrees  

“I have two kids and I know that events like this are really beneficial for the children and the community,” said Andrees. “It gives people the opportunity to come together during a time when they may not be able to provide their family with a holiday experience. It gives people a chance to feel that holiday cheer.”  

A festive holiday scene
A festive holiday scene

“This party lets kids enjoy themselves and know the holiday spirit.” —Millie

“This is my first time at this event and I brought my granddaughter. It’s wonderful that they’re doing this for the kids, everyone is enjoying the face painting and the snacks. This party lets kids enjoy themselves and know the holiday spirit,” said Millie. “I found out about the event through where I live—they had tickets and they offered them to us—and we came out to see what it was like. My granddaughter is only one years old, so this experience is really exciting for her. If the opportunity is available, we’ll be coming back next year.” 

View more photos of the Children's Holiday Party 2019