NORMAN — Having been blessed with wonderful parents (who are still married to each other), I don’t know what it’s like to be abused, neglected or abandoned.
I can’t imagine how it must feel to be taken from my home, no matter how bad it is, and be placed in the care of someone I’ve never met. Sadly, hundreds of children in Cleveland County know all too well what that’s like. For various reasons these children are in the custody of the state Department of Human Services. That won’t change during the holidays. For 22 years, the Citizens Advisory Board of the Cleveland County Child Welfare Unit — with the help of county residents — has been making the holidays brighter for these children through its Secret Santa program. The first year, the board helped 69 children. This year, it expects 800 children to need the Secret Santa program. Not 800 children from families living all over Oklahoma, but 800 children from our community. "This year, our list is 650 kids and normally grows 20 percent by Dec. 25,” said Mike Hobson, Secret Santa chairman. Hobson said the philosophy behind Secret Santa is that at least once, a child should be able to ask for what he wants and get it, no matter how silly the request may seem.