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Making the Holiday Season a Bit Brighter for Needy Children

Community Service Advocate Savannah Fuller helps open a doll during the annual Angel Tree Project.

“When we recall Christmas past,” said the late comedian Bob Hope, “we usually find that the simplest things—not the great occasions—give off the greatest glow of happiness.”

And the Christmas glow of happiness was evident in the number of bags and boxes for ­­­the 36 children receiving gifts though Keuka College’s Angel Tree Project. The gifts for the children were wrapped and delivered to the Child and Family Resource Center in Penn Yan, where Santa Claus was on hand to give the gifts to the children.

“Angel Tree is probably one of the most fun projects to do because it is devoted to making sure that local kids in need have a good holiday,” said Mitch Leet, a sophomore art and design major from Stanley and community service advocate.

Photo by Stephanie Lockhart '15

The Angel Tree Project is one of the College’s longstanding traditions. Students, staff, and faculty select a paper angel from a Christmas tree. The angel contains a child’s age and gender, and a suggested gift of toys, clothes, or both.

The Angel Tree Project saw “contributions from students, staff, faculty, parents of students, and my husband, who loves to shop for the angels,” said Valerie Webster, community service advocate adviser and co-curricular transcript coordinator. “Every child is an angel and they all should have something special during this time of year.”

Savannah Fuller, a junior occupational science major from Philadelphia, N.Y., said the Angel Tree Project is her favorite to work on and she believes it is the most important project the Community Service Resource Center runs.

“Angel Tree is a project that takes everyone’s focus away from the ‘receiving’ aspect and turns it to the ‘giving’ aspect of the holiday season,” said Fuller, who serves as a community service advocate. “During this project we witness a coming together of students, faculty, and staff at Keuka College who all share the common goal of giving children in need the magical Christmas experience they deserve.”

Webster said Rotaract and the Association of Future Social Workers (AFSW) combined to help a family of six children, and their parents, while the PRIDE Club collected gifts for a family of three children and their mother.

Sarah Schneider, a sophomore unified childhood major from Stanley said she “loves being able to make someone else’s Christmas special and see the kids’ smiling faces,” while Leet said “it’s fantastic that we’re able to help so many families, because it is a tough world to live in right now, and sharing what we’re lucky to have just comes naturally.”

Photo by Stephanie Lockhart '15

To Fuller, Angel Tree means “means putting a smile on a child’s face when they open the toy they’ve been dreaming of on Christmas morning. It means focusing on something other than yourself and reaching out to those in need.”

Added Nikita Wilkins, a junior biology major from Bloomfield: “Angel Tree provides an opportunity for needy children to experience Christmas. It gets the community involved in an activity that gives back. Christmas is more than gifts—it is the spirit of everyone coming together for a greater purpose.”

For more photos, click here.

Keuka College, Head Start Classes Get a Jump on Easter

Sophomore Kayla Hall helps her new friend open an Easter basket. (Photo by Stephanie Lockhart '15)

Peter Cottontail might be out of a job.

That’s because, as the perennial favorite says, members of the Keuka College community brought every girl and boy—in the Head Start programs in Dundee and Penn Yan—baskets full of Easter joy.

Keuka students, staff, and faculty donated toys, bubbles, stuffed animals, and other Easter basket goodies and distributed them to the children in each class.

The Community Service Resource Center in the Center for Experiential Learning and the Class of 2015 coordinated the Easter Basket Project, a College tradition since the mid-1990s. The baskets were then given to the Dundee and Penn Yan classes.

Sophomore Emily Brown examines what is in her new friend's Easter basket. (Photo by Stephanie Lockhart '15)

On hand to help distribute the baskets were Jamie Allen, a sophomore psychology major from Canandaigua, who serves as treasurer of the Class of 2015; Nikita Wilkins, a sophomore biology major and a community service advocate in the Center from Bloomfield, Savannah Fuller, a sophomore occupational science major and community service advocate in the Center from Philadelphia, N.Y; Mary Leet, a freshman visual and verbal art major from Stanley and a community service advocate in the Center; Kalya Hall, a sophomore occupational science major from Ballston Spa and Class of 2015 representative; Emily Brown, a sophomore occupational science major from Homer and Class of 2015 representative; Sarah Schneider, a freshman childhood education major from Stanley and community service advocate in the Center; Paige Fuller, a sophomore American Sign Language major from East Greenbush; Alex Morgan, a junior biology major from New Berlin; Shanita Williams, a freshman exploratory major from Geneva; and Jeffery Miller, a sophomore occupational science major from Bloomfield.