Throughout the year, several organizations put on a variety of special day-long events for less-privileged children. Many of them have heart-breaking stories: some have life-threatening illnesses or severe disabilities, others have suffered neglect and abuse, many simply never have received a birthday gift or Christmas present.
Through the imagination and the hard work of many, many adults, the Burrage Mansion is transformed into a place where — for awhile— these children’s cares are forgotten and their dreams can come true.
Children and adults enter a world of Christmas magic at the Burrage Mansion during the December holidays. Thousands of sparkling lights lead up the front-steps entrance. A toy train is loaded with presents and on its way. A six-foot animated Santa waves and elves pop out of boxes. The vintage-decorated Christmas tree is showcased in the entry, with garlands, ribbons, and poinsettias everywhere. Santa himself often can be found in his special big red chair during children’s parties.
Two hundred adults in Santa hats greet the nearly 500 excited kids who clamber up the Burrage Mansion front steps for the Boys & Girls Club “Spark of Love” holiday party each year. What an extravaganza! Food and fun—games, crafts, magic shows—plus, each child gets to take home a special toy from Santa (donated by the community through Redlands Fire Department’s “Spark of Love” toy drive) and a new book to read (donated by the Rochford Foundation).Holiday Extravaganza at the Burrage Mansion
Families who have kids facing serious illnesses or disabilities are offered a “Magical Day at the Mansion,” produced and performed by If the Shoe Fits Character Company. Disney characters — the real Cinderella and her step-sisters, Little Mermaid, Jack Sparrow, Peter Pan, Captain Hook, the crocodile, Snow White — all sing and dance in a wonderful musical show. Then everyone eats treats at the Mad Hatter’s tea party, practices sword fighting with Pirates of the Caribbean, and dances with royalty at Cinderella’s ball.
Children from Micah House after-school programs and foster kids from Olive Crest and from Inland Empire Residential in Redlands celebrate Fall Harvest (and sometimes spooky goblins) with parties and pumpkins at the Burrage Mansion. And in Spring, hundreds of kids from several organizations have Egg Hunts all over the mansion grounds.
Families and children who are dealing with cancer and other serious illnesses leave troubles behind at a “An Evening for Royalty” at the Burrage Mansion. The all-volunteer Adonai Foundation produces the event, complete with Cinderella carriage rides with real miniature horses, dressing up in (and getting to keep) formal prom dresses and tuxedos, games, dancing, and dinner.
Elementary school children and their families from Building a Generation’s literacy program come to the mansion each spring for an afternoon of games with children’s storybook characters, listening to stories read by grandparents, eating story-themed snacks, then choosing a book they get to take home.
A day of music, food, games, balloons, costumes, silliness, and fun is presented by Olive Crest of the Inland Empire and Dessert Communities. Olive Crest serves abused, neglected, and at-risk children and their families.