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Fontana High School Students Spread Holiday Cheer at Neighboring Nursing Home

Citrus Nursing Center

FONTANA, CA – More than 60 Fontana High School students across a variety of campus clubs and organizations made the less than one-mile walk across Citrus Avenue, with many carrying gifts or dressed to perform for the residents at Citrus Nursing Center (CNC) on Dec. 13.

Students in FOHI’s Steelers for Christ (SFC), a religious club on campus, ballet folklórico, choir and nursing programs paused their busy schedules during Fontana Unified School District’s finals week and three days before the holiday break to visit with the CNC residents.

ballet folklórico

Fontana High’s Madrigals Choir and ballet folklórico programs put on vibrant song and dance performances to the applause of the CNC residents and staff. Students also delivered gifts to residents in the 99-bed skilled nursing facility that provides 24-hour, patient-tailored care.

Fontana High’s SFC Club organized the event in less than a week-and-a-half after they received a donation of approximately 100 stuffed animals from BJ Meyers of the Fontana Police Department’s Community Outreach And Support Team (COAST). Once the donation came in, the SFC Club decided to donate them to the CNC residents, SFC Student Co-Presidents Daniel Rincon and Desirie Rodriguez said.

Desiree Casillas, left, and Diana Gomez

“We saw this as an opportunity to spark some joy for these residents, we want to make someone’s day,” said Rincon, a junior who is set to graduate early in spring 2024. “These residents are living through challenges and a small teddy bear can serve as a reminder someone is thinking about them and they are not alone.”

Fontana High’s connection to the Citrus Nursing Center runs deep, as students in the school’s Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) career technical education (CTE) program log hours there daily on their path to earning their state nursing assistant certification.

“We are right across the street from the Citrus Nursing Center, and they have always opened the doors for us to do our clinicals there,” FOHI nursing instructor and SFC club advisor George Tiwari said. “A lot of their staff members are our former students, who are two or three years into college and getting into their RN programs.”

Both Tiwari and Rincon said the SFC plans to make visiting the CNC an annual holiday tradition for years to come.

“We want to make sure our students are well-rounded individuals and part of that is caring for your community,” Fontana High Principal Ofelia Hinojosa said. “There is a need here because many of these residents do not get to celebrate the holidays with their families. It was amazing to see this idea snowball and all these different groups come together for a good cause.”