November 30, 2001

Christmas Wishes

By Yvette tenBerge

Modern-day holidays are incredibly commercial. As the years go by, Christmas becomes less centered around religion and helping others and more focused on purchasing expensive items. La Prensa San Diego was looking to do a festive photo spread on the children and youth in one of San Diego County's communities. What do children wish for themselves, for their families or for their community?

The Sherman Heights Community Center, located at 2258 Island Avenue, opened their doors to us. These children serve as a reminder that not all wishes are elaborate. Very few of these children asked for the pricey items that are continuously splashed on our television screens. All of them mentioned their families, and most of them had a special Christmas wish for the families affected by the September 11 tragedy.

(left to right) Cassandra Renfroe and Kareem Kattes.

Kareem Kattes, age 8, and his sister, Cassandra Renfroe, age 7:

(K): "I always get excited about Christmas because we always get presents that we like. This Christmas my wish is for a pack of little, toy cars: one with a Jeep, a Toyota Paseo and a dump truck."

(C): "My wish is for my mom. I wish that she had a beautiful house and a nice car. Also, my wish for the people in New York who died is that they would feel well. I wish that they weren't dead."

Christian Sánchez, age 7:

"My Christmas wish is that Santa would come and give me a blue bicycle and no more. I wish that my parents could buy a car for themselves and that my mom could have some new clothes. For my community, I wish that we could have more places to play for kids: a place to play soccer and more computers. Christmas to me is a time when Santa comes and brings presents for kids."

Joshue Tellez, age 8:
"This Christmas I would like shoes that turn into skates when you push a button and a Gameboy, that is it. I wish that my family, especially my uncle in Mexico, could come here to live with me. My birthday was on September 1l; I didn't celebrate it this year. I wish that the people who were hurt could come to live here, at my house. They could come and fish in Cuyamaca with my uncle and me. This New Year, I would like to go to the snow."

Oscar Diaz, age 9:

"This Christmas I would like a Pokemón game, a race car game, a Power Rangers game and a red bicycle. For my family, I would like food, like meat, tuna, mangos and Chinese food. I would like a new, gray car for my dad, an automatic car. I hope that people help the families in New York and that the terrorists don't do these bad things anymore."

Luzelena Jaramillo

Manuel de Jesus, age 7:

"Christmas to me is about presents, candy and a party. For myself I would like skates, elbow pads and a helmet. Oh, and a Playstation and pants that turn into shorts. I would also like different fruits, like watermelon, melon, strawberries, cherries, bananas, pineapple and kiwis. For my family I would like clothes, toys, shoes, Cornflakes, milk, a table and some chairs. I also have a wish for the people in New York. I wish that they would have lived, and I don't want anything like that to ever happen again."

Luzelena Jaramillo, age 8:

"For Christmas I wish for blue tennis shoes, clothes, a bicycle and some books about Arthur. For my family I would like new pants for my father and a bicycle for my brother. I would like my mom to have a new washer machine for the house. For the kids who lost their family in New York, I wish that this Christmas they could have their parents back."

Cesario Hernandez, age 7:

"Christmas to me is happiness. For Christmas I would like a red bicycle, Nintendo 64, WWF toys, a remote control car and a pizza. I would like my family to have food: oranges, grapes, potatoes and watermelons. I would also like for them to have a new, bright red car. For New Years' I would like there to be fires in all of the fireplaces."

Joshue Tellez

Fatima Berenice, age 7:

"Christmas is when somebody gives presents to someone else. Christmas is when you celebrate with your family. This Christmas I would like a purple bicycle with stars, a scooter and a pair of tennis shoes. For my mother I would like a cup for drinking coffee, a soccer ball for my brother and a bicycle for my sister. For the people in New York, I wish that the sons and daughters weren't by themselves. I wish that they had their family, and I wish that the kids could be with their father and their mother."

Marlen Barragan, age 10:

"Christmas is a day when I get together with my family. It's a day when we talk and eat together. My Christmas wish is that I will always be with my family. My wish for my mother is that she would have more children. I want to tell the kids and families in New York not to be scared because those things happen when somebody has to die. God will take care of them."

Carlos Velasquez, age 11:

"Christmas for me is fun. I would like a little, red, remote control car. I would like my parents to have a new, black, F150 truck. I would like my mom and dad to have a big, new house - a castle. I want people to take care of themselves this Christmas."

Sonya Jimenez, age 17:

"Christmas to me is a time of giving and of spending time with your loved ones. I hope that I can reach my goals of getting a law degree and becoming a lawyer. I wish that my family could buy a house. For the victims of the September 11 tragedy, I hope that they do not have to live the rest of their lives scared because of what happened. I hope that they can be happy even though they lost the people who they loved. Hopefully, they can get it together."

Sonya Jimenez

Elizabeth Ramirez, age 18:

"Christmas to me means time to spend with my whole family and just having a good time. My Christmas wish is to always be happy and to accomplish my goals of becoming a model and having a good future. I wish that my family would always be happy and that they would never be sick. My dad just had open-heart surgery, but he's fine now. I am thankful for my family, my life and for my friends who have always been there for me. My New Years' resolutions will be to always have a positive way, to keep working with kids and to be a good role model for them."

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