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This article was originally published on March 15, 2013.

To celebrate the holiday season, Tahirih staff and clients in Baltimore, Greater DC, and Houston paused this week to mingle, play games, sing songs, and celebrate the holidays. During a time of year that can be both joyful and stressful, parties fostered community and provided moments of laughter for clients and staff.

“It’s so nice that those of us that have gone through such difficult times have a chance to get together and celebrate something,” a client in Houston said.

In Houston, 150 clients and their families joined Tahirih staff for the Houston office’s 2nd annual client holiday party, held in a spacious room at Neighborhood Centers.

Tahirih was fortunate to partner at its holiday part with Museum of Cultural Arts Houston, who sent volunteers to create take-home art projects with the children. Volunteers from Shell Oil also helped make the festivities possible by offering games, face-painting, and refreshments.

In Baltimore, Tahirih had an incredible time sharing food from the different communities their clients represent. Tahirih attorney, Deepa, was deeply touched when her two clients who didn’t even share a common language were able to connect. Deepa’s client from Cameroon fell in love with the homemade tamales brought by another client from Honduras. She was so enamored by the food that she wanted to find out how they were made. Blanca, Tahirih’s Social Services Associate, who can speak French and Spanish, interpreted the conversation between the clients.

“It was one of the few times I have seen my Cameroonian client laugh or smile. For both of them, I think it was the first time that they felt they were part of a community,” Deepa said.

At the Falls Church office in Virginia, 50 clients came with their family members to enjoy the party. More than 25 children sang, played musical chairs, created art projects, and received two toys each. Because of generous donations, Tahirih was able to offer more than 40 winter coats to clients and their family members.

Tahirih thanks volunteers and donors who generously gave their time, resources, food, and gifts for clients. Thank you to: Toys for Tots, H-E-B, Shell Oil, MOCHA, members of the Greater Houston community, Martha Amaya (former client and member of Tahirih’s Wings), Moby Dick, Panera, Giant Food, Farshad Akhavan, Allied Inc., and members of the Woman’s National Democratic Club. Happy Holidays from Tahirih!