Christmas Comes Early To Crete Academy

Dinosaur Farm gifts given out by Santa at Crenshaw Charter School

PHOTO: | A Crete Academy student meets Santa and receives a Dinosaur Farm gift for Christmas

Each child was called up individually, by name, and given a shiny, red and green Christmas present as they walked up to meet Santa Claus with their eyes as big as saucers. The gathered teachers, volunteers and family members would shout out their names, huddling together to catch just the moment of joy on their cameras and phones. Santa spoke quietly with each and every child, making sure each one felt special.


PHOTO: | Siblings getting in on the Santa fun

It was the culmination of a spontaneous plan, weeks in the making, by local business owners Waleed Delawari and Lauren Wong. Delawari had the simple idea of wanting to give to homeless children at Christmas time which eventually led South Pasadenan, Wong, to Crete Academy, a charter school that provides education to homeless children and those who are in transition or living in poverty. On their homepage she noticed they had an adopt a child for Christmas program and she boldly inquired if Delawari could sponsor all of the 127 children at the school.

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PHOTO: | Crete Academy students hang on to their presents in front of the pile of Dinosaur Farm treasures

Read our story here on the details of her decision to circle in another local business by engaging the wonderful folks at The Dinosaur Farm for the task of finding 127 unique gifts for each child and have them beautifully gift wrapped by their team. It was a magical week at The Dinosaur Farm preparing for the big day and being Santa’s elves!


PHOTO: | Santa and his volunteer elves! Lauren Wong pictured center front to the right of Waleed Delawari (in Santa hat) and family.


PHOTO: Lauren Wong | | A kindergartner looking quite pleased with her gigantic lollipop!

On the day of the Christmas event at Crete Academy, the children’s families were invited to a Christmas luncheon catered and donated by William Kefalas, owner of “The Only Place in Town”. After lunch, Santa’s elves, the whole team from Delawari’s boutique mortgage firm, Delaware Pacific, plus his children, set about preparing the way for Santa’s big arrival! Those shiny gifts from The Dinosaur Farm were piled high on tables and as the kids gathered around, they stared at Santa, the gifts, the ginormous lollipops, giggled among themselves and cheered each other on as each student’s name was called out.

In addition to the huge smiles on everyone’s faces, members of the faculty and certainly the volunteers could be spotted wiping a tear here and there such was the pure joy of the day. Says Wong, “it was a day that touched the hearts of everyone involved. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to share the Christmas spirit with such an amazing group of students and faculty. This is going to be the first of an annual tradition!” And what a beautiful tradition to have begun.

To find out more about Crete Academy visit their website at