For Immediate Release
Christmas comes to Downtown Silver Spring Market goers, vendors,  children, teens and the young at heart usher in the Christmas season on Veteran's Plaza by providing a dream gift for the area's neediest children in Silver Spring.

Silver Spring, MD December 2, 2017 :  Market goers and families descended outside the Downtown Silver Spring Civic Center last week (December 2nd) to participate in the 1st Christmas in Silver Spring Vendor Village Market to benefit a dream toy for children of families in need, sponsored by the Leaders Institute (LI), a youth leadership and development nonprofit.   There was something for everyone.  To the tunes of those Christmas favorites we all know and love, children enjoyed pictures with Santa and interactive craft stations to keep them busy while parents shopped for unique merchandise for the holiday season.  To add to the Christmas cheer, there where hot chocolate and hot apple cider stations for anyone who wanted to complete their Christmas season experience on the Plaza.  Proceeds were generated on a voluntary basis to include anyone who had a heart for the cause.  

Christmas in Silver Spring is the brain-child of LI student Mimi Phan.  Stephanie Clark, Executive Director of LI reports "From the time Mimi enrolled in her first program with us 3 years ago, hosting a Christmas Vendor Village Market has been a dream of hers.  So much so that after taking a year hiatus from the program, when Mimi returned, the 1st thing she said when she saw me is, "Ms. Steph, I've been doing some research about the Market...." That is what LI is all about, discovering a student's passion and using that passion to transform a community."  

In September 2017, in walks, Mimi and two other classmates, Catherine Sarca and Rose Milano ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work.  When asked, how the market will transform our community, the response was astoundingly beautiful "I have been a part of many programs to help children with gifts they need, but never what they WANT.  I want to give children what they want.  Their dream gift." said Mimi.  Collectively the three students decided to partner with the YMCA's, Youth and Family Services Linkages to Learning, Angel Tree project to do just that.  Moreover, the three girls, Mimi, Catherine and Rose, will "pay it forward" and conduct a leadership development workshop, for gift recipients training them how to give back to others just like they are.    

The outpouring of support by the Silver Spring Community was amazing.  One mother commented "This is truly amazing.  There typically isn't this type of Christmas expression here in Silver Spring.  It is really great to be able to come out here and experience this."  Passersby, waved at Santa and donated to the cause whether they entered the market or not.  The most amazing thing of it all, was seeing students in charge, going here, there and everywhere, to make sure the market was running smoothly to serve children in need this holiday season.
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Leaders Institute (LI) is a non-profit organization that provides project based, leadership training and development  to inspire students to become agents of change, who impact the community with excellence and integrity.  To learn more about us, visit on the web at leadersinstitutemd.org, follow us on Facebook at Leaders Inst, Twitter @LeadersInst, IG #leaders_institute or contact us at via email at info@leadersinstitutemd.org or phone on 301.655.9679 .

Leaders Institute | 7201 Wisconsin Ave., Ste. #440, Bethesda, MD 20814