Community ensures a ‘Merry Christmas’ for boys at Windwood Farm Home for Children
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY CATHERINE KOHN
DEC 22, 2020
Jason Byham and Santa and his two “reindeer helper” sons end the Christmas parade at Windwood Farm Home for Children.
Dozens of boys gathered on a grassy area encircled by the one-lane road that leads to Windwood Farm Home for Children on Friday, Dec. 18. Some stood quietly. Several ran around playing. Others talked excitedly together. All were anxiously awaiting a Christmas parade of decorated cars. One young 12-year-old boy when asked what he wanted for Christmas talked about how much he loved building things. He said “Legos were cool” and he liked taking things apart and putting things together to see how they worked.
When the parade started to move up the road it turned out to be more than just a few cars decked out in Christmas decor. Mount Pleasant police motorcycles opened the parade with lights flashing and alarms signaling their arrival. Cars, pickup trucks, police vehicles, a water truck from the fire department and finally, at the end, an enormous red :firetruck, with Santa waving from the top, ended the parade. As the parade drove slowly by the participants threw basketballs, soccer balls and footballs out to the kids, who piled them up together. Bags of candy were tossed to the boys, who generously shared any extras if they grabbed more than one. After the parade was over staff members handed out small stacks of wrapped gifts to each boy.
It really turned out to be a “Merry Christmas” for the boys who live at Windwood Farm despite the COVID-19 pandemic this year. In a normal year the children would have enjoyed a big holiday party hosted by Lennar-Coastal Carolinas, but this year, due to safety protocols, the celebration was a drive-through, contact-free event.
The parade was so successful that division president of Lennar-Coastal Carolinas (and Santa Claus for the day) Jason Byham said, “We’ve got to make this an annual tradition, Covid or not. I mean that was so fun, that was so awesome.” Byham hugged his two young sons who had joined him on the truck and said he had never ridden in the back of a firetruck before.
“I’ve never been on the back of a police car or a firetruck and I’m glad I’ve still never been in the back of a police car;’ he said laughing.
“We love Windwood Farms,” Byham said. “They are a big part of the Lennar family and we are just thrilled to be able to help them in any way we possibly can. Usually we come out here and spend a day playing football with the boys … playing soccer and basketball, but this year we had to improvise a little bit, but I think we’re going to make it part of the annual tradition now.” Byham added the fire department and police department made it really special. ”A huge thanks to them;’ he said, “they made the event.”
Many other organizations also helped the boys enjoy their holidays this year. Mount Pleasant Kiwanis came caroling on Dec. 9. Pages Okra Grill dropped off a barbeque dinner plus stockings and gifts on Dec. 15. The Exchange Club of Metropolitan Charleston had Santa stop by in his pick-up to drop off gifts for each boy and a dinner on Dec. 17. Lennar Coastal-Carolinas held an outdoor movie night on Dec. 19 and Polly’s Fine Jewelry and Momentum Marketing provided a Snow Day, while Jason’s Jump Castle created an obstacle course, and Home Team Barbeque on Dec. 21. Also, Wind wood’s volunteers and donors bought and wrapped gifts for all of the children and families in Windwood’s care.
Windwood Farm Home for Children is a nationally accredited residential treatment program with a Level Three Group Home and a Psychiatric Treatment Facility for 25 boys. It also includes an outpatient therapy clinic in Mount Pleasant and a community based prevention program that assists more than 2,000 children and families each year.