Foster kids get into holiday spirit at Winter Wonderland Celebration

By Erin Murray, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, December 18, 2017, 9:03 PM EST

Inside the Elks Lodge 12 North in Orlando, a dance party raged Wednesday night.

  • Winter Wonderland Celebration lets foster kids have fun
  • Foster kids also get makeovers for the event
  • Contact Misty Miotto at to help the cause

“I woke up this morning at like 2 o’clock in the morning and couldn’t go back to sleep, because I was like, today is the dance, today is the dance, today is the dance,” said 17-year-old Samantha Zuccarello.

“It’s been an amazing night, like I didn’t expect this,” said Arenthian McCloud,” 17.

Zuccarello and McCloud are both foster children. They are just two of almost 200 foster children enjoying a dance called a Winter Wonderland Celebration.

The point of the night is simple: to laugh, be merry, and to forget a little about the toughness of the world, because these kids know how harsh life can be at times.

“Actually I had three adoptions that failed, and I kinda couldn’t give up, because I knew there was more,” McCloud said.

The kids are from Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.

“This event specifically is for children ages 12 to 19, so a lot of times during the holiday they are the ones that tend to get forgotten when we have the plethora of toys and stuff coming in for the other kids,” said Misty Miotto, Lead Photographer and Heart Gallery Coordinator.

But no one is forgotten at this event. Along with the entertainment and dancing, the children are given complete makeovers by professionals. Those makeovers include makeup, haircuts and styling, and an option to pick out a donated formal outfit.

“We want everyone to feel special, and we know that some of our children coming into foster care are coming with a Publix bag of belongings, and so they don’t have shoes, they don’t have formal gowns, they don’t have anything, some of them,” Miotto said.

This not the first Winter Wonderland dance, but it was the first year to crown a king and queen. Zuccarello and McCloud both took home the titles, and the pair is taking their new royalty seriously.

“To be a role model and use myself as an example, to tell the kids not to give up and that there is more out there for them,” said McCloud.

“From cooperating and working hard, and every other kid that is in my position can do the same thing,” said Zuccarello.

Event organizers said planning the event has been the highlight of their year. Every gift to every service is donated. The list of donors include:

  • Florida’s Hometown USA Program
  • DJ Charles Miles
  • Florist by Debra She with Atmosphere Floral and Décor
  • Photo Booth by “I Heart Photo Bomb”
  • Photography by Misty Miotto, Lillian Rodriguez, Nelson Rodriguez, Jennifer Soltren
  • Videography by Manifested Vision LLC
  • Hair and Makeup by Kristy’s Artistry Design Team
  • Haircuts for the boys by Class A Barbers
  • Haircuts, nails and makeup by Hollywood Institute of Beauty Careers

Anyone wanting to help in the future can contact Misty Miotto at or visit