The 2-year-old Blue Santa Program operated by the Spring Branch ISD Police Dept. collected and distributed hundreds of donated children’s toys this week.
The program reflects the department’s ongoing efforts to build a stronger bond between SBISD Police and the school communities and neighborhoods that its officers serve year round.
“We are trying to spread good cheer throughout the Spring Branch ISD community during this special time of year,” said Police Dept. Community Relations Officer Cindy Garcia.
Police Chief Bruce Dareing noted that we all sometimes forget about those who may not be as fortunate as ourselves.
“We get wrapped up in our own lives,” he said. “This program reaches out to our community, letting them know that others care about them. It’s about giving and putting others first.”
The Blue Santa program brings out the “inner child” in many SBISD officers, too. “As they see the donated toys, they remember the toys they used to have, or maybe ones they wanted, bringing back fond memories. Just as it does for the officers, this program will make a lasting memory for everyone touched by it,” Chief Dareing said.
In a new outreach effort this year, residents were invited on Friday, Dec. 14, to stop by the SBISD Police Station to take family photos with Blue Santa, whose “real” identity is hidden throughout the holiday-time program.
“I think we’re giving back to the community and it’s really great for the kids to see Blue Santa here in addition to the regular Santa Claus,” said Bethany Rodriguez, a member of the SBISD Police Explorers, a student group.
A senior at Spring Woods High School, Bethany and other student Explorers wore holiday outfits while helping children and families during the photo session with a festive Blue Santa. The photos were taken in the Police Station’s decorated lobby.
Bethany is thinking about a possible law enforcement career, maybe as a homicide detective. Bradie Babin, a Stratford High freshman, is thinking about policing, and forensic science as a career specialty.
Julian Lopez never dreamed that being a Police Explorer would mean supporting a Blue Santa photo session. The Northbrook High School sophomore thinks the idea is an “amazing” one for school-based community police officers.
“It helps to reach out to the community, and it says to me that law enforcement is really for the people and part of the people,” the young Explorer said.
In addition to Blue Santa’s community photo session, the program this year had a variety of SBISD school stops and events. They included:
- Woodview Elementary, Dec. 11 – Blue Santa photos with all students
- Bear Boulevard School for Early Learning, Dec. 19 – Toy distribution
- Lion Lane School for Early Learning, Dec. 20 – Classroom stops and a visit by Santa’s Big Blue Truck
- Neighborhood Apartments – Toy distribution
Blue Santa’s toy distributions were made possible by donations from many local campus and club organizations, as well as a highly organized effort that included Memorial High School, SBISD’s Technology Services, Administration Building, Community Relations and Police Dept.
Hundreds of area children had a brighter holiday because of SBISD’s Blue Santa program.