Panda Restaurant Group, parent company of Panda Express and the nation’s leader in Asian quick-service restaurants, is hosting a holiday party for 180 elementary school students in recognition of its accomplishments in “The Leader in Me” program. The students were selected by their teachers based on excellence in leadership and study efforts.

The celebration begins at 11 a.m. on Dec. 16 at Panda Restaurant Group headquarters, 1683 Walnut Grove Ave., where the children, ranging in age from five to 13 years old, will enjoy lunch and entertainment. Santa will also be stopping by to deliver gifts.

The children are students from 15 elementary schools in the Rosemead and Garvey School Districts that are participating in “The Leader in Me” program, sponsored by Panda Restaurant Group through its Panda Charitable Foundation, whose mission is to support the health and educational needs of underserved children.

“The Leader in Me” is a school program that integrates timeless leadership principles with practical character and life skills relevant to today’s challenges. By building self-confidence, interpersonal skills, elevating student achievement, and reducing school-wide discipline problems, this program helps children to become leaders in their field of interest.

“We believe every child has the ability and desire to be leaders,” says Peggy Cherng, co-chairman of Panda Restaurant Group. “It has been a pleasure working with the children and their teachers in this program. To see them develop and create higher possibilities for themselves encourages and inspires us to do even more.”

Through the Panda Charitable Foundation, more than 25 schools throughout the U.S. are participating in “The Leader in Me” program, touching the lives of more than 25,000 children. Plans are in the works to expand the program into five additional schools across the country.

Charitable Giving, News, Panda Express