LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian Chair the 2014 Della Robbia Wreath CampaignAug 28, 2014 -
Work experience program powered by teens.
Centuries-old artisanry, electronic technology and celebrity advocacy unite this year to help facilitate Boys Republic’s single largest student self-help activity and one of the most comprehensive self-funding efforts conducted by any non-profit child-care center in the nation — the annual Della Robbia wreath campaign.
With the beginning of wreath production just weeks away, boxes of seed pod clusters and pine cones are piled ceiling-high and wreath assembly booths are jam-packed into the old wreath barn at Boys Republic’s main campus in Chino Hills, California. Meanwhile, wreath office receptionists are frantically processing an avalanche of customer orders that will guarantee a busy production schedule.
The Della Robbia wreath operation is first and foremost a work experience program for disadvantaged teenagers enrolled at Boys Republic. From gathering, sorting and preparing decorative seed pods to fastening them to supple evergreen boughs and finally, to shipping the finished “circles of Christmas cheer” to destinations throughout the world, students working in the Della Robbia program experience the challenges and rewards of adult responsibility, while earning part of their own way.
Symbols of Christmases Long Ago
Just as wreath production embodies traditional work values, the wreath themselves continue to be what they have been for nearly a century, enduring symbols of Christmases long ago. Hand made of aromatic greenery, fresh apples and lemons and thick clusters of cones, seed and pods, they look and smell like Christmas itself.
Produced by Boys Republic students since 1923, the distinctive wreaths have gained international fame in part because of the sponsorship and promotion of prominent Americans. Since the original wreath chairperson, First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, posed for publicity photos with Boys Republic students holding a Della Robbia wreath in 1956, dozens of prominent citizens from many walks of life have added their personal endorsement to the effort. All have been drawn to the Della Robbia campaign by a common desire to help vulnerable, troubled teenagers work and study their way to responsible, productive lives.
This year, LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian have generously accepted the role of Della Robbia wreath campaign National Chairpersons. The celebrity couple, stars of the reality show LeAnn & Eddie, have added luster and prestige to the annual wreath sale by appearing in campaign literature.
A singer, author, and actress, Ms. Rimes rose to national acclaim with the release of her second album Blue when she was just thirteen. Ms. Rimes, whose vocal style is reminiscent of Patsy Cline’s, has enjoyed 42 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart, 13 of which have made the Top 10. She has also won two Grammy Awards, three Academy of Country Music Awards, and 12 Billboard Music Awards for her contributions to country and pop music.
Mr. Cibrian is a versatile television and film actor whose extensive résumé includes Third Watch, CSI: Miami, Hot in Cleveland and Say it Isn’t So. The actor’s foundation lies in daytime dramas including The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, and Sunset Beach. Five months after his leading debut on Sunset Beach, TV Guide designated Mr. Cibrian one of “Daytime’s 12 Hottest Stars.”
Ms. Rimes and Mr. Cibrian are long supporters of charitable organizations including Make-A-Wish Foundation, StandUp for Kids, National Psoriasis Foundation, and the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes.