BATH BEACH — Lucky children got to see Santa Claus in person at a recent holiday party hosted by the Federation of Italian American Organizations at the organization’s community center, Il Centro.
It was an afternoon filled with fun and laughter as Santa Claus happily posed for pictures with smiling children in the spacious community room at Il Centro, 8711 18th Ave.
Kids munched on pizza, played games and had their faces painted at the event.
Adults also had fun.
Carlo Scissura, chairperson of the board at FIAO, brought his mom Teresa Scissura and his young daughter Teresa Rose and playfully posed for a picture with Santa Claus. FIAO President Jack Spatola was also on hand to greet guests and enjoy the festivities.
Scissura said he was pleased with the outcome of the event.
“The one thing we wanted, from the time we opened Il Centro, was for it to become a true community center, a gathering place. With our holiday party, it truly became that. It was a wonderful gathering of children, grandparents, parents and people from the community. It was so exciting to see!” Scissura told the Home Reporter.
The FIAO was founded in 1975 to promote Italian culture in Brooklyn. Since that time, the organization’s mission has expanded significantly. It now provides assistance to immigrants and social service referrals, and sponsors after-school programs.
The FIAO opened Il Centro, which is Italian for “the center,” in 2018.
In addition to serving as the FIAO’s headquarters, the six-story building houses classrooms, an interactive learning library, a fitness center, a gymnasium, an auditorium and an indoor pool on the fifth floor that boasts floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides offering breathtaking views of Bensonhurst, Coney Island and the Manhattan skyline.
Among the popular programs offered at Il Centro are English language lessons, yoga, swimming lessons, dance lessons and history classes.