NIA children celebrate with jolly ol’ St. Nick

The Brooklyn Paper
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The holiday season in Brooklyn wouldn’t be complete without festive live performances from area children, merriment and food with family and friends, topped off by a visit from Santa. That’s exactly what happened at the NIA’s Annual Holiday celebration at Regina Hall in Dyker Heights, 1230 65th Street.

More than 500 children and their families, many of whom attend NIA after school programs, enjoyed the festivities or took part in the performances during the course of the evening. Guests were entertained by the holiday harmonies of the students from PS 247’s choir, who sang traditional Christmas songs, while enjoying food and refreshments.

“The turnout tonight is unbelievab­le,” said NIA President Michael Bové. “Our close knit community, our elected officials, all our friends are clearly in evidence as we begin to celebrate the holidays.”

Seventeen children representing the NIA Advantage Program from PS 247, 7000 21st Avenue, ranging from first to fifth graders, performed for the audience. Once a week, Activity Specialist Melissa Pellegrino met with each grade for an hour of dance learning their steps for the big night. Pellegrino joined the NIA as a group leader in January 2006, and soon advanced to become an activity specialist.

Pellegrino had been practicing with the children about two weeks prior to the NIA holiday event, teaching the children the dance routines they performed to a medley of holiday music the night of the show. “The children did a great job and are proud of what they learned during the NIA’s after school program,” said Pellegrino. On hand to extend warm greetings to all in attendance were local elected officials including Congressman-elect Michael McMahon, State Senator Diane Savino, State Assembly Members Peter Abbate and Alec Brook-Krasny, Councilman Vincent Gentile, as well as NIA Board Members and staff, area business and political representatives and other community leaders.

Also on hand at this year’s holiday event was the new commanding officer of Fort Hamilton Army Base Garrison Commander Colonel Stephen V. Smith and Command Sergeant Major Silvia Laughlin.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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