January 3, 2013
Kerry spreads holiday cheer with Warm Wishes
More than 400 Nash Elementary students part of program
CHICAGO -- Retired Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood and the Wood Family Foundation spread some holiday cheer at Nash Elementary School in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago.
On Friday, Dec. 14, before the students went on holiday break, Wood and WFF volunteers transformed the school's auditorium into a "winter wonderland" and passed out winter coats and toys to all. Led by principal Tresa Dunbar for more than seven years, the school has seen some incredible changes with higher scores and staff morale.
Every December, WFF adopts a school for their Warm Wishes program and celebrates the school's progress while acknowledging the principal's vision of success for their students. Nash Elementary was selected out of the four target neighborhoods the WFF focuses on: Englewood, Humboldt Park, Lawndale and Austin. Nash Elementary has 430 students, with a community population that is 98 percent low income.
As the morning began, students were led into the auditorium by their class with Dunbar announcing their names to come up and meet Santa. Wood, along with Santa's elves, greeted each child. Governor Pat Quinn even stopped by the school to meet the kids and pass out gifts. Special friends of WFF that came out to volunteer included Tim Smithe from Walter E. Smithe Furniture and employees of JP Morgan Chase, Leo Burnett and the Chicago Cubs.
"What a way to kick off the holidays! Warm Wishes at Nash Elementary was truly a heart-warming experience," Wood said. "Seeing all 405 faces light up as they entered the auditorium to meet Santa and receive their gifts was priceless."
"I think we floated out of Nash that afternoon and haven't stopped smiling," Sarah Wood said. "Thank you to principal Dr. Dunbar, our board members, sponsors, volunteers and dedicated staff for making this day a bright one, for each and every one of those children. What a day!"
About the Wood Family Foundation: is a non-profit organization that was founded in June 2011 by Kerry and Sarah Wood. The WFF works to improve the lives of children in and around Chicago by raising funds and awareness for its children's programs and other children's charities they support. The WFF acts as an advocate for children in the Chicago community, inspiring others to join them in their mission of giving children the resources they need to succeed.