Cheering up

first_imgThe wooden helicopters, cars and trucks children received were made by inmates at Pitchess. Female inmates at another location made the stuffed dolls. The Optimist Club also gave the children hundreds of boxed toys and factory-made dolls donated by business owners and residents. “Why is this event special?” asked Dee Gadbury, secretary-treasurer of the Santa Clarita Valley/Newhall Optimist Club. “The fact that we can come up here and give toys to kids … it makes us feel good.” [email protected] (661) 257-5253 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! CASTAIC – Sunday was just like any visitor day at Pitchess Detention Center – inmates clutching a phone, speaking with sons, daughters, wives and parents on the other side of a thick, glass wall. The difference was that when the children took a bus back to the visitor shelter on the outskirts of the jail complex, Santa Claus was waiting with presents and a smile. Santa gave away hundreds of gifts, including wooden toys and stuffed dolls the inmates had made, in an annual event organized by the Santa Clarita Valley/Newhall Optimist Club. “There’s no question that the children are the victims, the secondary victims, of their parents’ crimes,” Sheriff Lee Baca said. “And I’m a very big believer that good parenting is necessary, so we definitely want the inmates to know that their children matter.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: John Jackson greets a Christmas that he wasn’t sure he’d seeJenny Galindo, 8, received dolls and a candy cane after visiting her father. Her grandparents said she looked forward to the visit, and Jenny was happy to hear a promise from her dad. “When he comes back from the jail, he’s going to take me to the pool,” she said. Santa Claus, who was portrayed for the first part of the day by certified hypnotist Mike Holt, gave presents to a 1-year-old, young teens and every child in between. Desiree Peralta, 19, of Palmdale pushed her daughter, Delise Villa, in a stroller after visiting her fiance in the jail. After seeing her dad, Delise received a couple of dolls from Santa. “I think it’s really good that they’re doing something like this for the kids,” Peralta said. “Most of these kids, their dad’s in jail. When Christmas comes, they won’t be with them. It’s hard for the kids.” last_img