It can be really hard to get into the Christmas spirit when there are endless piles of schoolwork that still must be done. The combination of the presentations, papers and exams are enough to make a person completely forget about the love and joy of the season. What better way to take a break and celebrate then by helping make childrens’ holiday wishes come true.
Through the Center for Service and Social Justice (CSSJ), this became a reality. Every year in the beginning of December, Jaime Gerhart, Director of CSSJ, along with the students of DeSales, decorate the McShea Student Center and completely transform it. They string lights at the entrance of the building as well as put up beautifully decorated Christmas trees with lights and ornaments. They set up an area for the children to get their pictures taken on Santa’s lap as well. When the children go over to Santa, they receive a small gift after telling him what their biggest wishes are.
The CSSJ office has a program that allows DeSales students to volunteer with local schools and tutor young students throughout the year. It is a great opportunity to help those children that need a little more attention as well as becoming a friend and role model for them. Every year, DeSales invites the children that are tutored to come to our school and enjoy a day filled with Christmas music, fun activities and relaxing with friends.
The Christmas Party took place at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 5, in McShea. Children were able to experience and participate in many activities such as gingerbread house making, karaoke and playing various holiday games with their tutors.
There were 60 to 70 middle school students from Francis D. Raub Middle School, Trexler Middle School, Boy Scout Troop 104 and Girl Scout Troop 62032. Freshman Rachel Costolnick spoke about the experience: “It was really wonderful to see the kids come here and just relax with all of the tutors. It really allows the children to know their tutors on a more personal level.”
Student volunteers worked tirelessly for one week straight to make sure our student center was transformed into a winter wonderland in time for the children to arrive.
The middle-schoolers all had such a wonderful time, but it was easy to tell how excited and dedicated the DeSales students were about putting on the best possible party they could. Junior Jimmy Herrighty has been a part of the party since his freshman year and has dressed up as Santa Claus for the last two years. “The party takes a week to set up and lasts less than three hours but the joy and happiness we bring to these kids will last us and them a lifetime.”
Sometimes all it takes is putting a smile on someone else’s face to get into the holiday spirit and that is exactly what the students of DeSales did.
A version of this article originally appeared in the December 11 issue of The DeSales Minstrel. Top photo by Justin Gambone '14; Santa photo by Stef Schloo '16.
See More Latest News >>