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Team Effort Results in Joy with Toys

Novato Youth Center gets a huge assist from Novato Fire District and Ignacio Rotary Club on a toy and bike giveaway for youth center families.

Members of the Rotary Club of Ignacio and Novato Fire District gathered for their annual toy delivery and luncheon at the Novato Youth Center on Thursday, reported the center's executive director, Cheryl Paddack.

More than 1,200 toys arrived at the center, led by the special efforts of firefighter-paramedic Tom Gaulke. Toys were donated by hundreds of generous Novato community members and the Ignacio Rotarians. Special thanks to firefighter-paramedic Jason Pace for assembling 27 bikes for center’s children to receive.

The Novato Fire crew along with the Marin County Tamalpais Fire crew transported and set up the toy drive at the center. The toys are being distributed to the youth in need that the center serves.

Santa arrived at noon by fire engine, much to the delight of the Novato Youth Center's 40 preschoolers and toddlers. Greg Molloy of the Terra Linda Rotary Club and past District Governor of District 5150 wore the red suit this year, and each child told Santa their holiday wishes and chose a special toy. Preschoolers opened the luncheon festivities with songs, while the Ignacio Rotarians enjoyed their annual lunch.

Presentation remarks were made by Captain Erich Mesenburg, executive director of the Novato Fire Foundation, along with the Novato Youth Center’s Executive Director Cheryl Paddack.

"We are so appreciative of this annual toy drive that benefits so many youth in need. Because of the generosity of Novato residents, these youth will have toys under the tree this year," Paddack said. "This year especially, with the challenging economy, many families are struggling to meet basic needs. The generosity of our community is a special gift that we will all remember this holiday season.”

The Novato Youth Center is a 501c3 nonprofit that serves 4,200 youth and their families annually. The center has designed five program areas that support youth as they develop their academic, physical, social and emotional skills. The program areas include: child development and family engagement, youth & family counseling, adolescent health & wellness, community-based prevention programs and sports leagues.

Community partners the Novato Fire Foundation and Novato Youth Center are joining forces to hold a joint fundraiser March 14 to raise funds for youth programming in Novato. Mark your calendars!

Happy holidays to all Novato residents. Thank you for your generosity this holiday season. 

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