Monday, November 22, 2010

One more reason to be thankful this year

Every once in a while, something happens that gives a renewal of belief.

Anyone who works in the non-profit, charitable sector understands that there are many hurdles and many disappointments to be dealt with and sometimes it can get pretty discouraging. When it comes to asking people to volunteer their time and talents, it can be particularly challenging. After all, everyone is so busy these days and with money as tight as it is with most people, we’re all working harder than we really want to, anyway.

Then, consider teenagers.

Any parent knows how hard it is to get a teen to do anything around the house and pitch in to get things done.

So, when 19 teenagers get up early enough to get to DXC by 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning to spend half a day doing good work for people they have never met, it’s really something very special.

That’s what happened last Saturday (Nov. 20) when the Honor Society students from Chaminade-Julienne donated their time and work to help us prepare the gift boxes that go out to our families at Christmas.

Each year, we put together gift boxes from donated articles so that our families are sure to have something for the holiday. Each box, given to the kids by Santa, who makes a special visit just for them, contains clothing, a toy or game or two, and, for the older kids, school supplies. Parents get gift bags with household items and some little luxuries thrown as much as we can. All of these items come from our generous donors from all over the country, and we are always very grateful for that generosity. And, even though the economic climate has, as with everywhere, resulted in fewer donations coming in this year, the C-J students did their best to make sure every child will have a good Christmas.

While some of the students put together the boxes – sorting through our cramped Christmas Room where we keep the clothing items, picking out just the right items for kids (“OH! Look at this! Isn’t it cute!”?) and getting them all to fit into a box – others put their creative talents to good use in making beautiful personalized Christmas cards to go in each box. About midway through the day, they two groups switched jobs so that everyone had a hand in the whole process.

Throughout the day, every single one of them was polite and they never stopped working, showing a maturity that really was admirable in people so young.

And, when the day was over, each and every one of them thanked us for letting them come and volunteer!

If that’s not enough to give you the Holiday Spirit, there’s more: we will be blessed again on Dec. 5 when a second group of C-J Honor Students come in to wrap the gifts and help us get them ready for the party on Dec. 11.

Sitting down to Thanksgiving Dinner this week, one of the blessings we can be thankful for are these wonderful young people who make it all worth it.

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