The Japanese American Optimist Club of Los Angeles (JAO) held its annual Christmas party for underprivileged children from various locations throughout the Los Angeles area on Dec. 16 at Maryknoll Church. About 150 children and 50 adults participated in the event, which included arts and crafts, lunch, clowns, a talk on holiday safety, and a visit from Santa. Above: Santa (JAO board member Will McElroy, who is also a teacher at Los Angeles Elementary School), with, from left, 2017 Nisei Week Princess Kaitlin Hara, 2016 Nisei Week Queen and 2017 Miss JAO Jaclyn Tomita, 2017 Nisei Week Queen Jordyn Adachi, 2017 Nisei Week Princess Jordyn Terukina, and 2016 Nisei Week Princess Heather Iwata.

Tomita wears firefighting gear as L.A. firefighter Danny Wu speaks.

Magician Mark Kiyabu kept the kids entertained.

Participants were shown how to make Christmas crafts.

Volunteers served lunch to the kids.


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