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Events and Programs

What Navidad en el Barrio Does

We work hard to make life more pleasant for those who are less fortunate. In the process, we enrich the lives of our staff, our volunteers and our sponsors by sharing the miracle of giving. We accomplish this year after year by hosting events which brighten the lives of children of all ages. We invite you to learn more about our events, visit them and see for yourself, contribute, volunteer or become a corporate sponsor.

Our Events and Programs

Browse our list of programs and events to learn how you can help make a difference:

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Christmas Program

The Christmas Program is where Navidad en al Barrio started in 1987 and remains our primary focus. Selected children from Houston Independent School District (HISD) and other school districts are treated to an entertainment program, enjoy a lunch, and receive gifts tailored to their age range and sex. Each school is awarded boy and girl bikes for essay winners. The Christmas Program model can be replicated. In 2001, it was expanded to San Antonio and Laredo and will soon be expanded to other Texas cities. In addition to the children's program, there is a gift wrapping party (relies heavily on volunteer support) as well as presentation of the Albert Vasquez Memorial Award. We invite you to learn more about the Christmas Program here.

Christmas Eve Program

Yes, Santa Claus does make special visits to families on Christmas Eve and often brings more than toys for the children. Santa and his helpers will go to any community to find families on their list. If you know of a family Santa Claus should visit on Christmas Eve, use our nomination form below to bring them to the attention of Navidad en el Barrio. Christmas Eve Program

Through our work in local communities, we often learn of families in more serious need. After Santa finishes delivering all the toys to all the children around the world, you might think he would be too tired to visit families, bringing them toys, food, clothing and other staples. Even though Santa may be tired from all his good work, he is never too tired to make a few special visits! On Christmas Eve, Santa gathers his helpers. There are so many of them, they leave the reindeer and the sleigh behind and ride in cars and trucks. That way, they can carry even more presents.

With limited funds and manpower, we regret that we cannot honor all requests. To nominate a family with special needs for a Christmas Eve visit, please fill out and submit the nomination form. Your nomination will be given serious consideration. If we can help, we will.

We also invite you to view past Christmas Eve pics.

Buen Hogar Children's Shelter Party

Children that are removed from their home by CPS are treated to an outing at the Houston Livestock, Show, & Rodeo and during the Christmas Holidays each child is invited to a party where they receive a gift card and a pizza party.

Santa on the Inside

Santa on the Inside brings Christmas to children of parents in incarceration. We all know that incarceration is designed to be punishment for past deeds. Many of us do not recognize or understand the punishment imposed on the families of inmates, especially the children who miss their parents during the holiday season.

Working with the Harris County Sheriff's Department, Navidad en el Barrio holds an event that brings families together with trustees, inmates whose good behavior has earned them special privileges and trust. Children who have only seen their parent through glass visitation booths for years receive presents from their parent and are able to hold, kiss and talk one-on-one with the person they miss most. Santa on the Inside

It all started with one telephone call to Navidad en el Barrio. A young girl asked for just one thing at Christmas: "To be able to kiss my daddy." They had visited their father in the Fort Bend County Jail many times, but they were separated by glass in the visitation booths. Volunteers contacted the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Department and the event was organized and in 2010 moved to the Harris County Sherrif's Department. The little girl got her wish and more. Her father met her with presents, they enjoyed pizza and lots of visitation, even a special visit with Santa Claus. For the first time in years, she held her daddy and spoke to him like other children.

Much is always learned by all:

  • Inmates at the Harris County Jail discover a new reason to follow the rules and be recognized for good behavior.
  • Inmates discover that the sheriff is more than an experienced law enforcement officer. He is also a person who genuinely cares about them and their families.
  • Navidad en al Barrio discovered that the world would be a better place if we could all pay a little more attention to just one little girl.

Snow Day in Texas

Select a low income neighborhood where safe entertainment for children during the holidays is hard to find... Add a few tons of ice crushed to fine consistency and blow it on a hill in the neighborhood park.... Throw in a few garbage can lids and about 50 volunteers to make sure the fun is safe, and you have Snow Day in Texas! Now, start a snowball fight..... Snow Day

For many areas, snow is nothing to be celebrated. In South Texas, it is rare enough to be cause for a party, especially among children who may never have seen it. Tough neighborhoods can be especially dangerous during the holidays. In response, Navidad en el Barrio decided to provide an event that was both safe and lots of fun. Snow Day in Texas provides an activity that can be enjoyed by the whole neighborhood, young and old alike. It also helps to unify the neighborhood and introduce neighbors to each other.

Few events are so simple and inexpensive.

  • After publicizing the event with local radio stations and newspapers, a central park is selected in a neighborhood where need is evident.
  • Tons of finely crushed ice are blown on hills to allow the children to sled.
  • Volunteers place hay bails on the sides and bottom of the hill.
  • Procure a few plastic trash can lids with handles.
  • Add children.
  • Throw just one snowball.

You can view a collection of Snow Day pictures here.

Young-At-Heart Party

Working with Seniors Councils throughout our area, Navidad en el Barrio provides a special event each year: The Young-At-Heart Party. Many of our older children (otherwise known as seniors) live in difficult situations with a high degree of isolation. Giving smiles to our older children can be challenging. The Young-At-Heart Party brings entertainment, refreshments, gifts and friends to our senior community. Our older children can kick up their heels and make new friends. Young at Heart

Young at Heart Day is usually held during the summer because the senior citizens felt that everybody remembers them during the holidays but they have nothing to do during the hot summer days. This event invites approximately 390 senior citizens to a party with all the trimmings. Lunch is served to those in attendance and then the dancing begins. During the dance, seniors are treated to door prizes and each senior that attends receives a $10 gift check from Fiesta Mart Supermarket and an oscillating fan for the long hot summer months. Navidad realizes that numerous seniors are on a fixed income and cannot afford air-conditioning so the fans hopefully help them cope with the weather. This festival began in 1995 and participation has increased each year.

We accept nominations from the councils, total the number of attendees and the party is off the ground! Seniors are asked to bring their favorite covered dish and are bused to our venue.

Navidad en el Barrio provides:

  • venue
  • bar-b-que
  • gifts
  • gift certificates from our sponsors
  • entertainment
  • refreshments

In addition, we have a new innovation for our older kids called Senior Games:

  • The Dating Game: We have a new version of the famous TV show, especially for seniors. Winners get an exiting date in the big Houston Area social scene.
  • The Newlywed Game: For senior couples who really know each other: Married 20 years or more. Winners will be treated to an exiting weekend stay at a Houston Area destination. Romance will be the order of the day.
  • Dance Competition: A dance competition held at the event with 3 divisions. A finalist from each division is selected and concludes with a dance off. All 3 finalists receive cash prizes.

Rest assured, a good time is had by all. Old friendships are renewed and new friends are found. We invite you to view a collection of Young-At-Heart pictures here.

Scholarship Program

Navidad en el Barrio encourages young students to stay in school by giving them a tangible reason to excel. The Navidad en el Barrio Scholarship Program rewards students for their hard work in middle school by providing future funds for tuition and books. After high school graduation, these funds can be applied to the college or trade school of their choice. We provide, however, a unique method of awarding these funds which gives children a strong incentive to stay in school and excel: Scholarship

  • Eighth grade students receive $500 into the student's scholarship fund for each year their grades show excellence in academic achievement
  • After high school, financial assistance is provided for college tuition and books at the university of their choice
  • Each student must also do volunteer work with Navidad en el Barrio to learn the importance of giving

Our scholars "earn" their scholarships one year at a time. As each year passes their reason to stay in school and excel grows stronger and their focus on higher education increases.

Use our nomination form to nominate a Houston area 8th grader.

The Albert Vasquez Memorial Award

Albert Vasquez Family This recognition is given in memory of Houston Police Officer Albert Vasquez who was killed in the line of duty while arresting drug suspects. Officer Vasquez paid the ultimate price protecting those he swore to defend and left behind a beautiful son and wife.

Albert loved helping people and this award is a small token to keep his spirit alive within all of us. Every year, Navidad en el Barrio recognizes an officer who goes above and beyond his volunteerism with the program.

The Amelia Urban Volunteer of the Year Award

Amelia was tireless when it came to helping children. Amelia assisted the organization in numerous events and in 2004 lost the battle against cancer. This award is given in her memory to a volunteer who gives above and beyond to help those who are less fortunate. Amelia received this award in her honor in 2004.