Dasher and Dancing:  Volunteers Bring Christmas Cheer to CYDC

CYDC youth breaking into spontaneous dance and song during a volunteer group visit on December 8.

NOTE: As of Feb. 29, 2024, Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC) has rebranded to Landmarks for Families. Our nonprofit, community programs and residential services remain committed to cultivating thriving youth and families in this new chapter.

You just never know when holiday decorating will turn into an impromptu dance party.

It’s that Yuletide time of year at Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC), so volunteers have been teaming up with our children to deck the halls of the cottages.

Being away from their families during Christmas can be upsetting for kids living at CYDC, but staff strive to find an array of fun activities to keep them busy and entertained.

Providing opportunities for them to experience the season’s traditions can be a source of comfort and help put their mind at ease.

Valerie Howell, along with her friends Jennifer Johnson, Jordana Snider, Sara DeWolf, Sarah Hays, Virginia Street, Emily Giarrocco, Shayna Howell, Amy Foxhall, Kelley Greene and Katherine Cooney, have made it a recent holiday tradition to decorate the houses with our children, helping to make them feel special and appreciated during what can be a difficult time of year.

This dedicated group of volunteers collaborated with our children once again this year to decorate our Ledford House and Charleston Emergency Shelter with boughs of holly, hanging ornaments and lights on the Christmas trees and giving the houses a holiday makeover.

However, the interior decorating was only the half of it. The festivities had only just begun when the action shifted to our Bakker Center cafeteria, where it was time to bake up some delicious Christmas confections to reward everyone’s hard labors.

Red and green icing and colored sprinkles were generously applied to sugar cookies and eagerly crammed in hungry mouths.

Maybe it was the sugar rush that prompted it, but the highlight of the evening came when one of our children decided to dance.  One child turned into two, then three and before we knew it, a spontaneous dance off erupted into a full-blown holly jolly boogie down for kids and adults alike!

They skipped and strutted and jumped and jived, displaying ear-to-ear smiles and giggling with delight.

Not only is the campus looking festive for the holidays, it’s beginning to feel that way too!

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CYDC is now Landmarks for Families!

For more than 230 years, we have guided neighbors toward stronger, hopeful futures and now we’re evolving too. We’re grateful to enter this new chapter with you. Welcome to Landmarks for Families!