The Spirit of Giving

by Cale on December 13, 2013 · 10:00 am

Admissions Advisor Nia Hajenga with Modesto's Giving Tree

Both Modesto and Bakerfield have Giving Tree programs to provide for the family’s of students in need.

Across the state, SJVC campuses have been preparing for the holidays by starting their own charitable programs. A popular one is the Giving Tree, which has popped up at several campuses including Bakersfield and Modesto.

“It’s just something we do to make our students more welcome,” says Bakersfield Dean of Student Services Melissa Gonzales.

Starting in November, students and faculty nominate children of families that may not receive presents due to financial stress at home. Often these are the children of SJVC students in need of a little holiday help.

Wish lists are written up for each of the children, listing clothing sizes and gender. With this information, the faculty makes a tag for each child. Tags are then placed on a Christmas tree.

Instructors have a few weeks to take a tag, or two, and buy that child a gift.

This holiday help has become something of a tradition on a few SJVC campuses. SJVC Lancaster started their efforts this year and both the Modesto and Bakersfield campuses have been holding Giving Tree programs for several years now.

In Modesto, this year’s tree had 28 tags for 28 children. Bakersfield had 38.

At least there used to be that many.

In Modesto, all of the tags have already been taken, and gifts are being bought — but not only by faculty. A few students took it upon themselves to take a tag and help out their fellow students’ families.

”I’m incredibly impressed with our community’s generosity,” said Modesto Evening Dean Alyssa Bahr. She noted that their contributions went “above and beyond” her expectations.

After these couple weeks, the presents will all be collected and one lucky SJVC faculty member will dress up as Santa and give the presents to their intended recipients.

The students are very appreciative of their community’s good will.

“It has enabled me to not worry about not having anything for my son this Christmas,” said one student. “This year is definitely going to be even more special for us because of this amazing opportunity!”

The Giving Tree is just one more way SJVC staff and students can help their community and prove themselves the model citizens they are.

“I’m really proud of my students,” said Alyssa.

And she has great reason to be.

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