The Austin Green Team hosted their annual Christmas tree lighting and children’s party on Saturday, Dec. 9. The tree-lighting took place at the Green Team’s Memorial Garden on Washington and Laramie. The children carols during the lighting and then everyone went across the street to St. Martin’s DePorres Church, 5112 W. Washington Blvd., for the party. Master of Ceremony was Vice President George Lawson.

Green Team President Mary Peery refers to the children of their organization as “little sprouts.” Mary said that because Green Team members are mostly senior citizens, the members always thought about their work continuing in years to come. So by training, and including the children early, their community efforts will be carried on by the young people.

There are 20 to 25 young “sprouts” and their ages range from three years to teenagers.

Lakesha Kneeland is responsible for coordinating the children’s songs and their performances. The children performed ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas with each child reciting one verse line. Away in the Manger was done to interpretive dance by several of the young girl performers. Each year the young people are very eager to participate and Kneeland said they start asking about the party in July and August.

This year the teens put together their own dance and taught the younger children all the dance steps. Some of the steps included the electric slide as well as individual performances of back flips, and a ‘Soul Train’ dance line. When the little four and five year olds came down the line, dancing between the two rows of children, the older children clapped and urged the little ones on. Once again, the Austin Green Team put on a successful program. Their annual Christmas Party takes place Saturday, Dec. 23, at 5447 W. Division St. at 7 p.m.

The Austin Green Team members are: Mary Peery, president; George Lawson, vice president; Vera Watson, secretary; Irma Ferba, treasurer; Lakesha Kneeland, director of Children Affairs; Donna Kanapes, Vivian Reed, Ellen Newcomer, J.B. Carr, Willie Ferba, Bessoe Lucky, Joe Peery, Missouri Grave, Mattie Holmes, Julie Samuels, Rose McNutt, Aliiyhoo B. Yisrarl, Cora Williams, Vennie Meeks