They say: It takes a village. That sentiment proved accurate at the 2019 Big Brothers Big Sisters “ugly sweater” themed holiday party. Nearly 400 children and family members came together with volunteers and dozens of community organizations to ignite the spirit of the holidays for the families we serve.

Each classroom at Charles E. Teach Elementary School teamed up to create clever holiday-themed carnival games, and their parents, youth, and staff hosted our crew. Tummies were filled thanks to a tasty lunch provided by Panda Express, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Trader Joe’s. The famous Madonna Inn bakery gifted the children with “ugly sweater” shaped cookies to decorate. California Highway Patrol, the SLO Police Department, and Bike SLO County empowered children with entertaining exhibits. In heartwarming style, Morris and Garritano Insurance, RRM Design Group, Trader Joe’s, Cal Poly’s Center for Service in Action, Athleta, and the San Luis Obispo Collection donated a record number of gifts to ensure that each of our little brothers and sisters went home with a personalized gift in their arms.

We would also like to thank our festive volunteers from Cal Poly’s RPTA program, Delta Sigma Pi and Theta Chi fraternities, along with Rob Muller and Angelica Grady, for helping make this tremendous event possible and successful!

I am honored and blessed to be part of such a warm, giving community that generously wraps around our vulnerable children to ensure a safe, meaningful, and memorable holiday season.

Sarah Rudd, Program Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County