Buddha's Light Radiates Warmth at “Winter Wonderland”

On December 15, "Winter Wonderland" exploded at William Steinmetz Park in Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles County, near Hsi Lai Temple. Ven. Hui Cheng—representative of the Social Education and Outreach Department of Fo Guang Shan (FGS) Hsi Lai Temple—and a team of 12 enthusiastic volunteers, including numerous families from the Three Acts of Goodness School (TAG School), brought warmth and laughter to nearly a thousand community visitors who attended. Throughout the brisk, chilly night, Hsi Lai volunteers nurtured good connections and spread Dharma JOY, by dressing up in inflatable snowman costumes, by setting up and leading popular craft stations, and by creating fun games for kids and families.

Brian Ceballos, manager from County of Los Angeles Department of Park and Recreation, conveyed deep gratitude to Hsi Lai Temple for bringing an abundance of canned fruits and vegetables to support the evening's giving activities. He also invited Ven. Hui Cheng to join in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Another manager, Michael Hamilton, acknowledged Hsi Lai Temple's three years of consistent participation as an invaluable community partner which has truly elevated and enhanced the annual family event. Ven. Hui Cheng stated that it's truly a pleasure to share joy, warmth, and good connections with others within the community.

The night was filled with musical performances, raffles, mini-theater shows, a giant dancing Transformer, cheerleading team performances, a racing zone, and even an artificial snow zone for families to have snowball fights or to try out sledding, fueling continuous laughter throughout the evening.

Armando Cabanlit, a participant from the TAG School parents’ class, and his family just completed the parent-child “Little Greeters Training Program” at Hsi Lai Temple. Cabanlit proudly wore the 'TAG Snowman' inflatable costume, attracted crowds swarming in for photo ops, offered servings of piping hot 'Hsi Lai Apple Cider,' and browsed through Buddhist books with visitors. Patricia Nathali, Cabanlit’s wife, skillfully guided children in creating handicrafts using paints and other goodies. Ethan, their son, cheered loudly and enthusiastically for all the kids who played the ring toss game.

Volunteer Cassandra Garcia had her father, Victor, handcraft a stand for the ring toss game. When Victor visited, he received heartfelt thanks from Ven. Hui Cheng and numerous volunteers. As he saw lines forming at their booth, with continuous applause and cheers, he remarked that it was indeed a joyful and heartwarming community night for families.