More than 200 foster children and their families enjoyed food, games, gifts and a visit from Santa Dec. 6, 2014 at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif.

WesternU’s Student Government Association (SGA) organized the workshop with support from the Office of University Student Affairs and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Click here for a list of donors: http://webassets.westernu.edu/westernu-news/docs/thank-you-santa.pdf

"It’s hard to believe that WesternU has been hosting Santa’s Workshop for 26 years," said Michelle Tadros, Director of University Student Affairs. "I’d like to thank our generous campus community who purchased gifts, donated money, and volunteered to make this a special event for so many local foster children."

WesternU students, faculty and staff volunteered their time to provide 206 children with a special holiday program. WesternU family and friends also donated more than $2,500 and 266 gifts, including seven bicycles, ensuring every child received a wrapped present.

Children checked in and picked up their gift and a knitted stocking with crayons, pencils, candy canes and other goodies. They enjoyed crafts, face painting, cupcake decorating, songs by the WesternU Chamber Singers, a magic show, a performance by the Humor as Medicine club, and a turkey dinner.

"Everyone was so happy and thankful to be there for these children," said Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences student Soniya Patidar, MSMS ’15. "If I am blessed to stay here at WesternU, I can see myself doing this every year, and becoming more and more involved each year. I am amazed at the organizers of this event, as they put in so much time, work, and effort, all with a smile on their faces. They truly are WesternU’s angels."

The Master of Science in Medical Sciences Class of 2015 joined many others on campus to ensure all of the children received gifts, and several also volunteered on Saturday. WesternU values science, caring and humanism, and it shows every day, Patidar said.

"You can see humanism behind all our actions," Patidar said. "People like me want to go where we can give back. The faculty emphasizes connecting with patients and building rapport. It’s a school for people who want to make that connection, who see people as human beings, not just a name on a chart."