— -- Whoopi Goldberg recently helped give children in New York City the holiday surprise of a lifetime.
“For me the holidays represent magic,” Goldberg told ABC News’ “Nightline.” “I thought back to my own childhood where a man named Tom used to do a Christmas party for the children of the Elliott Chelsea buildings, which is where I grew up. … So I thought well, what if we did a Christmas party, you know, where kids can come and have Christmas.”
“The View” host, who is an EGOT winner having been awarded two Daytime Emmys, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony in her career, teamed up with Disney’s “Share the Joy” campaign and the nonprofit One Simple Wish to throw a holiday party for nearly 50 foster children at Mott Haven Academy in the Bronx. The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.
“Foster children are a fairly invisible population in our country. … In the United States, there’s over 500,000 kids in foster care,” Danielle Gletow, the founder of One Simple Wish, told “Nightline.”
Gletow founded One Simple Wish, an organization that helps children in need, after an idea that came out of her own experiences as a foster mom. Gletow went on to adopt a little girl named Mia.
“When we fostered, [at the] top of [my] mind was we just want to give a kid a moment of feeling nothing but love and support,” Gletow said. “We started One Simple Wish as a way to make sure that the kids knew that we were always in their corner.”
With the help of volunteers, the gym at Mott Haven Academy was transformed into a winter wonderland. And finishing touches came from some of Goldberg’s own childhood magic.
“I grew up in an interesting time,” Goldberg recalled. “We were at war in Vietnam at the time, and something that [news anchor Walter] Cronkite said on Christmas Eve that has stuck with me all this time is, ‘Everything is stopped right now. We are at peace everywhere.’”
The day for the children was filled with holiday traditions, like building gingerbread houses and crowding around the piano to hear a song from Major Attaway, who plays Genie in Disney’s “Aladdin” on Broadway. And Goldberg read the children Clement Clarke Moore's holiday classic, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” better known by its opening line,“'Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
And the children were also surprised with presents.
“Every kid deserves a little bit of love hope and joy in their lives,” Gletow said.
Goldberg emphasized the fun that Christmas brings.
“This is about just being a kid and ripping paper and getting stuff,” said Goldberg.
For more information about One Simple Wish and how they make children’s dreams come true, visit OneSimpleWish.org.