While processing applications and renewals is our bread and butter, working directly with the families of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) gives me the most joy. It is easy to get lost in the shuffle of numbers and eligibility guidelines and lose the true spirit of the work we do behind a computer screen. Often though, it is the traditions of the holiday season that brings me back to the root of why we do the work we do.
One of our steadfast traditions at the OSP is to host our Annual OSP Family Holiday Party. Earlier this month, the Trust was able to do just that with the help of many friends and partners. The evening’s events and entertainment, complete with a visit from Santa, brought everything full circle. It was incredibly heartwarming to see all the children, still in their respective school uniforms, enjoying the crafts and gifts that were laid out on each of the tables. Watching as our guests ate and laughed together, we saw strong bonds being formed between neighbors, between families, between parent and child. As the events of the evening continued, we saw a community form.
As the carols filled the air and the families turned to enjoy the festive music played by our very own OSP students, we saw a community of people coming together to celebrate another year of success. As a young girl stepped to the stage and played “The First Noel” on violin we saw a community of talent. As a father helped his young son twist the pipe cleaner decorations into a Santa hat, we saw a community of support. When each of the entertainers, from the choir to the djembe performers, explained the significance of their art, and the audience listened with rapt attention, we saw a community of tradition. And when the music stopped after each performance and the audience erupted into applause, we saw a community of appreciation.
We left that evening not only wrapped in the warmth of a successful event, but in the warmth from all the hugs and thank you’s we received from our wonderful guests. In return, we want to thank each and every one of you for being part of our motivation, for being part of our traditions, and for being part of our community.