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FLINT, MI – It all started with Rafeal McDaniel’s vision to enlighten Flint children on the greater meaning of Christmas.

It’s not about gifts, but more about a search for happiness, he said. And then, spreading that joy to others.

McDaniel, a music teacher, taught hundreds of Freeman Elementary students nine Christmas carols, and took them into the school’s surrounding neighborhood to sing for the community on Thursday, Dec. 13 on Flint’s south side.

“To the children, it means happiness. So many come to us without that, and they finally got to see joy,” McDaniel said. “They finally got to see what happiness is, and what the holidays are truly about. It’s not about gifts or presents, what you have or don’t have, but it’s about being happy and spreading that to all of those around you.”

Flint resident Kathy Mitchell saw the first few students walking up her sidewalk and peeked out of her window.

When she realized what was happening, she opened her window and watched as her neighbors came to their front doors to hear classic Christmas songs, such as “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”

“This is absolutely fantastic. I’m about to cry,” Mitchell said. “I was just telling my daughter how I wish stuff like this happened, and it just doesn’t anymore. To see this, it’s just fantastic. I saw a couple kids, looked out the window and was amazed to see so many smiling faces. This right here just makes the holiday that much better.”

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