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Wyatt Anderson, 9, of San Juan Capistrano, wraps a gift for his family at the Boys & Girls Clubs’ annual Operation Holiday Homework. Photo: Allison Jarrell
Wyatt Anderson, 9, of San Juan Capistrano, wraps a gift for his family at the Boys & Girls Clubs’ annual Operation Holiday Homework. Photo: Allison Jarrell

By Allison Jarrell

The scene at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley on Dec. 17 was reminiscent of Santa’s workshop.

Hundreds of members of the Boys & Girls Clubs were all smiles as they looked through rooms filled to the brim with toys and wrapped gifts for their families at the club’s San Juan Capistrano headquarters.

It was the organization’s annual Operation Holiday Homework, and this year, more than 150 volunteers made the event possible by helping each child select and wrap gifts for their family members.

Since 2003, Operation Holiday Homework has motivated Boys & Girls Club members to focus on their education. Club members participate in a homework “power hour” before play time and receive points for staying on task. Two weeks prior to Operation Holiday Homework, their points are tallied up to determine the number of entries they receive for the holiday store to “shop” for gifts.

Thousands of families in South Orange County have received gifts over the years because a youth in their family made homework a priority.

“It really warms the heart,” said James Littlejohn, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley. “It’s a perfect time to come together as a community and put smiles on their faces.”

Littlejohn attributed the success of the annual event to the hard work of club members and staff, volunteers from local businesses and organizations like the National Charity League, donations, and corporate sponsors such as Cox and Fluidmaster.

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