Kids get in the giving spirit


About 100 children gathered at the Valley Stream Community Center last Sunday to celebrate the holidays and to mark the season’s true meaning — being kind to others. I Am A Kid That Gives, an organization started by Valley Stream resident Shari James, hosted its third annual Holiday Party with a Purpose on Dec. 15.

Children were allowed into the party by bringing a new toy. Combining those with toys that already had been donated, they wrapped more than 500 presents to be distributed to area homeless shelters.

James, who has a 7-year-old daughter, started the organization three years ago as a way of teaching children about the importance of giving. She said she realized there were few opportunities in the area for kids to help other kids, and her organization fulfills that need. “We hope that they understand the importance of giving, and not just receiving gifts,” she said. “They receive so much and sometimes they forget that others don’t have as much.”

She noted that the party provides parents an opportunity to reinforce important values about giving and generosity. James, a resident of Valley Stream for 12 years, said she wants to help develop qualities of social responsibility at a young age.

James works with several agencies that assist homeless families in Nassau County and Queens. She said the toys will be delivered this week to shelters. There are about 20 members in her organization including children and an adult oversight board. “It’s a kids for kids organization,” she said.

Next year, the organization will be launching several new initiatives including a Day of Service for Martin Luther King Day at an area shelter, a book drive and a back-to-school drive. All proceeds will benefit children who experience homelessness in the region.