Greater Loch Raven: Holiday dreams delivered in automobiles, airplanes

Although the holidays are over, several events that took place close to Christmas certainly warrant mentioning.

First, kudos to the staff at Bob Davidson Ford Lincoln on Joppa Road, who hosted two different toy drives to benefit area children.

The dealership, customers, employees and the community donated enough toys to fill two Explorers — and the items were forwarded to Baltimore County Department of Social Services, and to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive.

There are so many wonderful gestures that take place during the holiday season.

Our own son, Paul, along with 80 children, their parents and siblings, were treated to a fantasy flight to the North Pole by United Airlines leaving from Dulles Airport on a recent Saturday in December.

United Airlines and Children's Hospice International, with the help of various organizations and volunteers, host this sensational event each December for children who have a significant illness.

The destination boards at the airport list the North Pole Flight as No. 1803, leaving from D7 at 9 a.m.

As the excited youngsters waited to board, they were treated to doughnuts, bagels, fruit and juice, and were entertained by Ronald McDonald. A

After what seemed like a lifetime to the youngsters, boarding passes were checked, the children were given flying wing pins and everyone boarded the plane.

During the actual flight, (about a 30 minute trip), travelers could hear the pilot speaking with ground control at the North Pole to insure safe navigation through the snow. Stewardesses gave out goody bags during the flight.

Upon arrival at the North Pole, the children were welcomed by a host of characters — Elmo, the Chic-fil-a cow, Frosty the Snowman, Big Bird, choirs in costume, and others.

At the North Pole, a morning of activities were provided for the children — cookie decorating, bead ornaments to make, Nerf gun shooting, face painting and many other activities at stations provided by businesses and organizations.

There were many giveaways for the children and plenty of food to fuel them.

Before they departed for home, they stopped to see Santa and Mrs. Claus, where they were given a gift bag full of gifts and a picture with Santa to take home.

Thanks are due to United Airlines, Children's Hospice International and all of the organizations and volunteers who make this happen, so that the children served by the hospice organizations and the group, Connections Beyond Sight and Sound, can have a day of fun hosted just for them.

Fourth and fifth grade students at Pleasant Plains Elementary School can look forward to sensational month of science lessons in January.

Fifth graders will be participating in Project Bio-Eyes, in which they will study zebra fish.

Fourth graders will be working with Baltimore County Outdoor Education and will be making a reef ball — a 175-pound concrete structure which serves as habitat for bay life. Funding for supplies came from a grant from the Chesapeake e Bay Trust.

In addition, students will participate in a partnership science program with the biotechnology magnet program at Randallstown High School.

Mary Stapleton, PhD, and director of Bioscience Education and Outreach at Towson University, will work with the students to prepare them for the lab.

Best wishes for a new year that is filled with good health and contentment.

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