Holland America, Making Our Children’s Dreams Come True
Refugee parents don’t always have the words to describe what they are feeling, but Mu Chi, a mother from Burma, only needed one -- "Happiness" -- as a tear of joy rolled down her cheek. On behalf of our refugee families, the IRC would like to say, "THANK YOU, Holland America!" The week of March 27, 2010, employees of Holland America Cruise Line donated 110 bikes, helmets, and locks to IRC refugee children in San Diego and El Cajon. Volunteer San Diego helped to coordinate the donation.
But that’s not all.
To celebrate the bike donation, Holland America invited children and their families to take a tour of their magical cruise ship, Oosterdam. This was a day of many “firsts” for all. Upon boarding the ship, families were escorted into a plush theatre where they were dazzled by singers and dancers. Families enjoyed primo service at lunch, with many being waited on for the first time in their lives. After each child received a balloon, the group observed the spectacular view from the Lido Deck and played basketball and soccer on the Sports Deck.
The children had such a good time that the only way to lure them off the ship was the promise of receiving a new bike when we returned to City Heights. After participating in a bike safety training, children and parents alike went home that day with big smiles and beautiful memories. What a way to kick off spring break!