“It means family and friends”: Downeast Horizons hosts 16th Annual Christmas Party

Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 6:28 PM EST
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BAR HARBOR, Maine (WABI) - Here’s something to smile about...!

Downeast Horizons hosted its 16th annual Christmas party on its Bar Harbor campus Tuesday, and it was as festive as ever.

“It means family and friends,” said Ashley Cook of Ellsworth.

The Downeast Horizons Christmas Party means a lot of things, plenty of which to be excited about.

“The dancing!” Northeast Harbor’s Christine Ashley said.”The dancing, and the food!”

“I like the decorations, singing songs, and I like winter pajamas,” added Linda Mathis, also from Ellsworth.

“These individuals, they love Christmas,” said Downeast Horizons Executive Director Tony Zambrano. “When you see these folks here, the smile in their eyes, the joy that they have for Christmas and Santa, it’s something that you look back upon when you were a kid and you had that. These folks, they believe it. They enjoy it. They’re a role model to us who ought to do the same.”

While the Downeast Horizons Christmas party is mostly for the clients, it’s also a big day for the employees. They received a Christmas bonus that’s equal to the largest ever given out by the organization, and it’s made possible due in large part by the support of the community.

“I was very surprised,” said Ashley Johnson, the Downeast Horizons Resource Coordinator. “It’s very rewarding to know that staff is important, and I was a little emotional too, especially around the holidays. So it will be very helpful.”

Of course Christmas also means presents, and the Downeast HorizonsChristmas Party isn’t over until Santa himself makes an appearance to hand out the gifts.

Indeed, the Downeast Horizons Christmas Party means there are lots of things to be excited about. But at its core, it means the best things about Christmas.

“Just seeing all the smiles on their faces, it’s very rewarding,” Johnson said. “We’re one big family.”

To learn how to volunteer with or donate to Downeast Horizons, visit dehi.org.