- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 24, 2009

For the children

This Christmas season has been especially hard on charities seeking donations and gifts to make the holiday special for tiny tots and their older siblings. However, the children of the Cedar Heights community in Southeast Washington were feted with toys and Christmas carols Wednesday, courtesy of two groups known for fighting crime in the District.

The Washington DC Chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and Reaching Out to Others Together (ROOT Inc.), accompanied by Santa Claus and other guests, hosted a Christmas party for youth at the Cedar Heights Community Center at 1530 Butler St. SE where they distributed gifts. The volunteers also “revised a tradition perhaps never seen by residents of this community” by having old-fashioned Christmas carolers stroll through the complex, according to their statement.

“In recent years, the Cedar Heights community has been ravaged by crime, including gun violence, youth gang violence, drug sales and other felony charges,” said Priscilla Clarke, publicist for the NOBLE and ROOT, which have been working to turn this situation around.

Party organizers say the youth party is to show their appreciation to the residents of the Cedar Heights community for efforts in “making their community safer and more viable.”

However, as Ms. Clarke noted in the released statement, this Christmas caroling party comes “during these troubled economic times, with unemployment rates soaring as high as 28 percent by some estimates in the District of Columbia’s Ward 8 community, and philanthropic giving and other services at an all time low in many challenged communities.”

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