But a full three weeks before Rudolph, his antlered buddies and the big guy take the big ride on a busy night, the holiday’s commander-in-chief will beef up his energy levels with some pancakes and sausage ... in the glowing company of area families and a legion of bright-eyed children.
It’s called “Breakfast with Santa,” a 90-minute holiday blitz at the Bradley Square Mall when area families will be treated to a cozy morning meal hosted by an organization that believes in children, and the development of their minds — Junior Achievement of the Ocoee Region.
Scheduled from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the mall, parents — for a bargain price of $5 per person — can get their fill of pancakes, sausage and beverage, while the kids can eat up the company of St. Nick while showcasing their talents in a coloring contest. And all participants will leave the festive occasion with a bag of treats.
Children age 2 and under are admitted free and their meal is on the house.
Photography opportunities for children with their favorite year-ending mascot will be available at every corner of the breakfast table. Parents are reminded to bring their cameras to document the morning of Yuletide memories.
A key community awareness festivity by Junior Achievement since 2007, “Breakfast with Santa” raises a small amount of money for the organization, but it’s mostly about getting families under the same roof at the happiest of times while helping the community to understand what JA — and its educational messaging — is all about.
“Breakfast with Santa is far more than just a fundraiser for Junior Achievement,” according to Sandy Moore, JA president who has been a part of the organization for years. “It’s a great way to bring the children and families of our community together. That’s important because that’s part of what JA is all about.”
It’s about families.
It’s about children.
It’s about children’s minds.
It’s about developing those minds.
It’s about doing it through education in partnership with professional educators — the teachers, administrators and staff of area school systems.
The local JA, whose work is overseen by a volunteer board of directors and whose principal staff are unpaid volunteers who provide independent instruction in the classrooms, partners with schools in Bradley, Polk, McMinn, Monroe and Meigs counties.
At “Breakfast with Santa,” families can enjoy the morning meal — which is cooked on-site by JA board members — and the children can participate in the popular coloring contest, all while parents are snapping pictures of the kids with the lead elf who will be making his rounds through the crowd.
This year’s “Breakfast” is being sponsored by a local business — Andrew Johnson Bank — that believes in Junior Achievement and in developing young minds in conjunction with the school systems.
“I’m so delighted that Andrew Johnson Bank is able to support JA during their Santa breakfast again this year,” said Jennifer Pennell-Aslinger, a bank representative and JA board member, in an organization news release. Her knowledge of JA and its year-round work comes firsthand.
“Junior Achievement is a great organization that puts our youth first and we are happy to be a part of it,” she said. “The Santa breakfast is always a lot of fun each year — getting to see the smiling children as Santa arrives is the best!”
Event tickets may be purchased at the Bradley Square Mall Guest Services Booth, from any Junior Achievement board member or by calling the JA office at 423-476-6772. The JA office is located on the Cleveland High School campus.
Junior Achievement’s hands-on, experiential programs teach students at all grade levels the key concepts of work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. JA volunteer instructors work closely with classroom teachers to make available educational opportunities that are not included in schools’ academic curriculum.
The local JA operation was launched in 1965 with primary backing by Skeet Rymer, president of the former Magic Chef Company.
JA is a widely recognized 501(c)(3) organization.