With the holiday season upon us, many families struggle to buy their children gifts. Senior citizens with no family are often left with no presents to unwrap. To solve this holiday dilemma, many students take part in various community service programs that directly benefit those in Prince William County. The “Un-Trim-A-Tree” Holiday Gift Program is a program that serves children and seniors in need. Classrooms and organizations all over the county are buying gifts for people who would otherwise not be receiving any holiday presents.
An organization called “Volunteer Prince William” provides the name, age, and desired gifts of children in need in the community to the classes and organizations that wish to participate. Senior baskets can include but are not limited to card games, crossword puzzles or other suitable activities as well as little treats. Children are each provided two gifts, valued at no more than $50-$75 to ensure all the kids are treated equal. According to Volunteer Prince William’s website, “In 2016 we served more than 5,005 children and 250 seniors through the UTAT Holiday Gift Program.” The gifts are collected the week before winter break and are then wrapped and distributed.
Many classes and clubs at Battlefield are participating in this, including the publications programs. Journalism is sponsoring one infant boy, and yearbook is sponsoring a boy and a girl. Design editor for yearbook Emily Childress commented, “I think more clubs should be involved with Un-Trim-A-Tree. I think of the kids who usually wouldn’t get gifts being able to unwrap some of their favorite things.” The act of giving gifts to families who could otherwise not afford it is just one way of giving back during the holiday season.
Société Honoraire de Français (SHF) and Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica (SHH), also known as French and Spanish National Honor Society, are each also sponsoring a child this holiday season. President of SHF Caterina Deuser chimes in saying, “I enjoy being able to make such a huge difference in such a small way, especially around the holiday season. It’s incredible to see how much joy events a single, small gift can bring to someone’s life. The ability to give a gift to someone who so deeply appreciates the act inspires me to get involved in this project.” In addition to the joy of granting someone their holiday wishes, these clubs also get to come together as organizations in support for a fellow Prince William County student.
Many leadership clubs also take on the responsibility of providing children with gifts as a way of increasing their community service. Student body President Johannah Suegay helped the Student Council Association arrange to sponsor someone and comments, “During the holiday season, our materialistic and greedy nature often come out at its peak. However, seeing the simple wants and wishes of these children help me realize how blessed and grateful I am to have the things that I often take for granted. To me, the holidays is the season of giving. Every time I am given the opportunity to participate in Un-Trim-A-Tree, I am inspired to do so because I have an end goal of giving to those who need it the most.” Un-Trim-A-Tree provides an accessible source for students to directly help their community.
With giving hearts and open minds, Battlefield students are widely participating in this Prince William County organization to directly benefit the less fortunate in their community. Un-Trim-A-Tree is a community service that not only helps children and seniors in need, but gives community members the priceless opportunity to impact those around them during the season of giving.