At Keuka College, practicing social responsibility is a cornerstone of the College’s foundation. Throughout the year, members of the College community have myriad opportunities to help others in need. Students, staff, and faculty can regularly be seen raking leaves during Celebrate Service…Celebrate Yates, signing holiday cards for veterans, and donating non-perishable items for the local food pantry.
But one project is a favorite of the College, and is a community service staple—the annual Angel Tree Project. The project asks students, staff, and faculty to select a paper angel from a Christmas tree. The angel contains a child’s age, whether they are male or female, and if they need clothes, a new toy, or both. Those who chose an angel purchase a Christmas gift for that child. Ages of the angels range from five months to 19 years.
Coordinated by Community Service Advocates Jared Taylor ’17, Tessa Alianell ’19, and Brianna Griffith ’19, the Angel Tree Project is sponsored by the Office of Community Relations and Events, and co-sponsored by the Rotaract, and Circle K clubs.
According to Kathy Waye, director of community relations and events, there were nine different angels for each child this year.
“Three of the angels requests you purchase a toy or non-clothing item for the child, three instructs you to buy clothing for the child, and three more asks you to buy both clothing and a toy for the child,” says Kathy, who also serves as community service coordinator.
After making a purchase, the gifts are wrapped and delivered to children and their parents at the Child and Family Resource Center in Penn Yan. Kathy says the project netted nearly $11,000 in donations this year, more than any previous year.
“This program has definitely grown over the years,” says Kathy. “We had 28 children this year, plus a large family, and with nine angels each, we collected quite a bit of stuff. The College community really stepped up to the plate, and the families were appreciative.”
In fact, Kathy says that the Angel Tree Project collected so many items that some items will be given to the Yates County Christmas for the Needy program.
Kathy says each child received something “and if were not for the generosity of the entire Keuka College community, these children might not get anything for Christmas. The students put in a tremendous amount of work, but could not have done it without the generosity of the entire College community.”
The Angel Tree Project is one of several community service projects the College community is involved. During the fall semester, the Community Service Advocates organized the College’s annual participation in Make a Difference Day, one of the largest annual single-days of service nationwide.