Credit: Sally Dillion, Idea Garden Advertising

VERO BEACH — For a 7th year, a local group of talented kids have kicked off their nursing home tour, bringing smiles to the residents with holiday songs. The Mistletones are comprised of musical theatre students from Charter High School and kids from St. Helen School.

On Dec. 13, 2012, an eight-year-old returned from a magical trip to New York City where she had seen the Nutcracker, the Radio City Rockettes and all the sites that inspire the best of the holiday season. Then, December 14, 2012 happened. It was the day of Sandy Hook. On that day, this child made a promise to the 26 victims of that horrible crime to always remember and honor them with an annual pay it forward act of kindness. This year marks the 7th year that Lily Jaramillo has shopped and delivered 26 presents to American Veterans in memory of the 26 victims of Sandy Hook.

At 14, Lily is an established local performer, having had roles in musical theatre shows at both Riverside Children’s Theatre and the Vero Beach Theatre Guild. Now, her 26 gift deliveries also include a holiday show of musical numbers by a band of talented kids who work hard and put together an impressive musical review, packed with holiday favorites. During the holiday season, these kids sing at area nursing homes and Veterans’ hospitals and homes. The singing group, which started with 3 children several years ago, has now grown to 9 and is known as The Mistletones. Performances are free and are truly a labor of love.

A few years ago, Lily’s 26 gifts were baskets of basic necessities delivered to homeless Veterans living in the woods. Now, thanks to a non-profit called “Every Dream Has A Price”, Indian River County has several comfortable and clean homes that house Vets. The Mistletones will visit for an inspirational evening of gifts, laughs and song. This year, the kids will be delivering a complete dinner, courtesy of Bri’s Cuisine, to complete the special holiday party honoring the Veterans.

Most have received training at Riverside Children’s Theatre. They volunteer their creative talents to rehearse and create a wonderful holiday show. They work hard visiting nursing homes, rehab centers and veterans. Their first stop this year was Green Gables Nursing Home in Vero Beach. On their calendar is a special party they have planned for Veterans that live in a duplex built by the non-profit “Every Dream Has A Price”. For the Vets, they have planned their musical show and gifts. Bri’s Cuisine also donated a full dinner to complete the festive evening.

The Mistletones include Lily Jaramillo, David and Michala Calahan, Jessica Griffin, Angelina DuBois, Kate and Julia Busch, Reese Fox and Maddie Moscrip. If your organization is interested in a performance, please contact the group’s technical director, Sally Dillon at 772-778-2832.

This article was distributed through Treasure Coast Business, a news service for the readers and advertisers of Indian River Magazine.