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Dirt riders club revs up holiday fun for kids - So Md News

Dirt riders club revs up holiday fun for kids

Staff photo by ERICA TERRINI

Amber Davis of Nanjemoy, along with her son, Shane Christmas, 2, looks on as her daughter and Mount Hope Elementary School student Theresa Davis, 7, makes a paper airplane with the help of her grandmother, Terry Davis, and volunteers from the 11th Security Forces Squadron, Anthony Fair, left, Dereke Spence and Joshua Baber, at the Jaycees center in Waldorf during the Center for Children’s Christmas party Monday night.

Toy collection part of Center for Children’s party by Rebecca J. Barnabi Staff writer Independent Santa and Mrs. Claus made an early delivery in Waldorf for children from disadvantaged homes with the help of the motocross club Southern Maryland Dirt Riders. On Monday, members of the 26-year-old club lined up on dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles in the Center for Children’s Christmas party parade. This year was the 16th that club members have collected donations for the children at the Center for Children in La Plata, according to club member Lenny Holland, who served as club president from 2013 to 2014. Holland joined the club in 2003 and said the parade has grown from helping about 20 children to the 225 children it expected to help this year. Every year the club, which now consists of 100 families and 260 members, collects toys, then lines up on dirt bikes and ATVs in a parade from behind the Jaycees center in Waldorf and rides to the front of the center, where the Center for Children holds its Christmas party. Holland said the children wait on the sidewalk outside the building for the parade, which ends with Santa and Mrs. Claus on a Harley-Davidson three-wheeler. “This is my favorite part of the event,” Holland said of what happens next. Santa has a “pep rally” with the children by singing songs. The children are encouraged to sit on the dirt bikes and ATVs ridden by club members before they go inside for the party, where the club’s donations are distributed. The children also get to sit on Santa’s lap at the party. Holland said, to him, the parade at Christmas for the children from the Center for Children has two aspects. Members of the club are fortunate that they are able to donate toys for the children, but the parade also helps to change the stereotype that dirt bike and ATV riders are just about riding their vehicles illegally and creating a disturbance. “We just want to let people know we’re good guys,” said Holland, who rides a dirt bike. His 17-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son also are members of the club and ride dirt bikes. Holland said being a member of the club teaches youngsters riding etiquette and safety. “We do a few things throughout the year to give back to the community,” Holland said of the club, including participating in Christmas in April. George Vincent and his wife, Jennie Vincent, of Mechanicsville joined the Southern Maryland Dirt Riders about 18 years ago. Vincent has portrayed Santa Claus in the parade since the first year. “I love it,” Vincent said. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world. To me, it’s all about the children.” Vincent said it is especially for the children who are less fortunate, some of whom would not have an opportunity otherwise to see a dirt bike or motorcycle, or to talk with Santa. “There’s no rush about it. I spend time with each [child].” Jennie Vincent is Mrs. Claus, and the couple ride in on their Harley-Davidson three-wheeled trike. “I am [Santa]. I am the real deal,” Vincent said. When a child doubts his authenticity, Vincent said he leans down and tells her to pull on his beard. Martina Arnold, director of development and marketing for the Center for Children, said that 220 children were registered for this year’s event, and 188 came Monday night from Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties. Arnold said the center is blessed to partner with other organizations in Charles County and make Christmas possible for the children. “We understand that for some of our clients, this event is all they will have for the holidays,” Arnold said. “So, with the generosity of the Greater Waldorf Jaycees, the Southern Maryland Dirt Riders, Pizza Hotline and many local businesses, and of course Santa and Mrs. Claus, we are able to provide our clients in the Southern Maryland community with the magic of this holiday season.” This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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