Right now, there’s a certain something in the air: excitement, good will…even a bit of magic. It’s a special time of year when families and friends gather, when children revel in excitement, and everyone tries to be a little gentler with one another.
Darol Rodrock loves this time of year and recognizes its importance to families. Growing up shuttled from foster home to foster home, such holiday joys were often something he could only glimpse through the windows of other people’s homes. So when he started planning his communities, he wanted to be sure the magic of the season could be shared with everyone.
So in the early 1980’s, Darol created the Rodrock Development Moms’ Council. An array of family-friendly activities are planned thanks to the Council, including spring egg hunts, Memorial Day pool-opening parties, July 4th bike-a-thons, outdoor movie nights, and pumpkin-carving contests.
But this time of year the Council outdoes itself: Every December, families gather for a spectacular hayride and caroling event, featuring Belgian draft horses pulling wagons down decorated streets. Santa even comes to visit, talking to each child within the community.
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These gatherings help new neighbors have fun but also build a strong sense of community and help provide families—and importantly children—a safe place to grow up. And it’s a difference that resonates deeply with residents.
“The Moms’ Council has provided such a sense of community for our neighborhood and our family,” says Aubree Barbosa of Grayson Place. “When we were looking for a new home, we were hoping to find a neighborhood that had exactly what the Moms’ Council helps provide. The Moms’ Council is about so much more than just holiday events. It’s about the feeling of celebration and community it brings to the neighborhoods lucky enough to have them.”
Aubree’s most beloved event—and the favorite of the majority of her neighborhood—is the holiday hayride and Santa visit. “It’s such a magical time of year, and while having Santa visit your neighborhood is an event in itself, the sleigh ride brings just as much excitement for the kids and families! Our ride is usually early in December, so it just helps to start the holiday season off right. It’s a wonderful event and always has the highest turnout.”
Keeping the holiday spirit alive is a priority in Rodrock communities both new and old. In fact, at Windham Park at 131st and Slater in Overland Park, an entire street is renamed “Christmas Place” from the night after Thanksgiving through January 2nd. The entire street is decked out from top to bottom with lights and décor. The neighbors all participate—and have done so since 1992—making their community a fantastic drive for those who adore Christmas lights.
“People just added to their homes each year,” says one of the founding members, Lee Hasty, “and then it had a life of its own!”
“This time of year, you see nothing but lights,” says her husband, Herndon. “I mean, what’s more beautiful than that?!...It’s really kind of remarkable. I’m not sure I can name another neighborhood that does what we do. It’s really special.”
But this is only a small part of what Rodrock Developments truly unique. The company and its residents, in partnership with the Darol Rodrock Foundation, regularly give back to those in need. This November jump-started a drive to benefit the more than 150 children in foster care who attended the annual Darol Rodrock Foundation Holiday Party. Every year, children show up in anticipation of a great holiday party, but many are under attired for the cold. To that end, Rodrock communities and beyond held a Winter Coat, Hat, and Gloves Drive, garnering dozens of warm coats and more for these very special kids.
Still, Rodrock Development wasn’t finished spreading good cheer! A Nicest Neighbor Contest was held as the holiday season began, and e-mails poured in as Kansas Citians nominated the best their communities had to offer. The applications were truly awe-inspiring. Parkhurst’s Brinda Swanson was awarded the grand-prize of a night out on the town for her incredible works in her community and beyond. Rodrock Development extended personal thank yous to all nominees to honor their impact on their neighborhoods and the greater Kansas City area as a whole.
“Christmas Place,” the Moms’ Council, community-building contests, and giving back to those in need—this is but just a small sample of what make Rodrock Developments cheery and bright during the holiday season and beyond. Stop in and experience some of this magic for yourself!
For more information, visit Rodrock.com