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Chelsea Terrace neighborhood embraces new tree lighting tradition

Deborah Bailey | 12/9/2016, 6 a.m.
This year, The Will of Wisdom Center for Wellbeing in the Liberty Heights Chelsea Terrace neighborhood has started a new ...
The Will of Wisdom Center for Wellbeing in the Liberty Heights Chelsea Terrace neighborhood held the first annual Tree Lighting Celebration on Friday, December 2, 2016. About 100 children and their parents, as well as members of the community attended the event. There was food, games, arts & crafts, entertainment and visit with with Santa. A personalized picture with Santa, gifts and books were presented to each child who braved the area’s first taste of colder winter weather. Children from the neighborhood with Santa. Deborah Bailey

— This year, The Will of Wisdom Center for Wellbeing in the Liberty Heights Chelsea Terrace neighborhood has started a new tradition to welcome the Holiday Season.

Parents, family and friends of the neighborhood and the center gathered for a tree lighting ceremony and an evening of food, games and entertainment on December 2, 2016.

A personalized picture with Santa, gifts and books were presented to each child who braved the area’s first taste of colder winter weather.

“We did face painting, balloon twisting and a puppet show. We were just making sure they were all safe and having a good time,” said Diana Fowlkes, who voluntarily entertained more than 100 children in full costume as Annie the Kinderclown.

Lonnie Walker, event coordinator for Will of Wisdom was elated at the turnout for the center’s first outdoor event.

“This is the first year we decided to do a tree lighting. Not everyone can get downtown to the tree lighting, so it’s time we did something in our community, Walker said.

The Center for Wellbeing is privately owned, but Walker stressed that since 2012 when the center opened, its purpose has been for the residents to make a practice of gathering together at neighborhood events like this.

“We want the community to be involved— we’re here for them,” Walker said. “This community center is for all of Baltimore.”

Parents who brought their children to the tree lighting and festivities were pleased to be able to participate in safe, positive and well-monitored activities that created a real sense of togetherness, which generated a spirit of unity.

“It’s important for the community to be together. It’s important for us to teach our young children that not only does it take a village to raise a child but we’re here for them,” said Shemika Taylor who brought her son Deron Moore.

“This is the first time that they’ve done the tree lighting. The first time has been very wonderful. This is my first time coming to a community outreach like this” said Nygaa Yemariamfere who brought her four-year-old daughter Zion, to the community event.

Zion said that she liked everything about the night from the visit with Santa, the food, the gifts to just being with her neighbors to celebrate the arrival of the Christmas Season.

“I liked the presents best,” she said.

The evening ended with a jolt as the Citywide Goldstate Marching Band Drumline and majorettes came high stepping through neighborhood streets until they reached the Center’s stage. Many children ran after the band’s drumline, dancing to the beat as the Goldstate majorettes swirled and twirled and danced the night away.