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Two hundred-fifty children in the Castle Rock area are receiving special surprises this week thanks to the Town, local volunteers and the generosity of a Castle Rock business.
The children are beneficiaries of Santa’s Second Chance, a program that since 1997 has been using traffic fines to buy holiday gifts for children whose families are in need.
Drivers who received tickets from Castle Rock police officers between Oct. 18 and Nov. 30 had the option of donating their fines to Santa’s Second Chance instead of having them go into the Town’s general fund, as normal. The maximum of $10,000 in fines was donated.
Last weekend, 85 volunteers had a lot of fun putting that money – and a $1,000 grant from Walmart – to good use. They spent Saturday morning at Walmart attempting to find the perfect gifts to fit the children's wish lists, which Department of Human Services, local schools and the Douglas/Elbert Task Force provided.
“Ninety percent of volunteers are repeat volunteers,” said Town Court Administrator Karla McCrimmon, who spearheads the program. “They contact me every year and want to help.”
One Walmart customer was moved by the activity she saw Saturday and donated a $50 gift card toward the effort, McCrimmon said. Toys for Tots also pitched in to help fulfill 24 children’s holiday wishes.
Once the shopping was done, the volunteers headed back to the Town’s Municipal Courtroom, where they wrapped all the presents to get them ready for delivery. Castle Rock Police Explorers – a group of teens who receive training in law enforcement – are taking the presents to the children this week.
Castle Rock resident Terry Foose-Williams brought the idea for Santa’s Second Chance to the Town, and Town Council continues to endorse the program. Councilmembers have been among the shopping and wrapping volunteers every year.
This year, volunteers included two Girl Scout troops, a church youth group, members of Castle View High School’s Future Business Leaders of America club, Town employees, local families and volunteers and defendants from Castle Rock’s Teen Court.
“A couple of former juvenile defendants were assigned to help last year for community service,” McCrimmon said. “They came back this year because they wanted to.”