In its 10th year, the initiative helps underprivileged families by collecting and delivering presents to an apartment complex in Central Arlington
The teenage years are generally the time when kids transition from enjoying the reception of gifts to enjoying the giving of gifts.
For more than 10 years, the Student Council at Bowie High School has had the pleasure of helping underprivileged families by collecting and delivering Christmas presents for the children in an apartment complex in Central Arlington.
Wednesday afternoon, in Room 319 at the school, almost 30 kids happily wrapped the presents, which were given to the families Thursday night. For senior Victoria Baldwin, that part is truly the highlight of the season.
“We have about 10 projects each year,” she said. “But you like to know what you’re doing. In this project we get to see what happens after we deliver the gifts. We get to see the impact.”
Of all the projects the student council does, it’s the one that the kids look forward to most, and the one that provides the most satisfaction.
“It is one of their favorite projects,” said Serena Hobbs, one of the Student Council sponsors. “We have Student Council leaders who reach out to Mission Arlington, and they give us a list of Angels to be adopted. They buy the presents, wrap them and deliver them.”
Hobbs says all the projects serve the public well, but this one stands out from all others.
“We collect cans of food and take them to Mission Arlington and food banks, but they don’t see how it affects the clients,” she said. “This is very straight-forward, and lets them take ownership of the project. It’s very humbling for them.”
One hundred children were adopted this year, and the presents were wrapped and placed in bags. Like Santa Claus, they’re making a list and checking it twice — although Hobbs says it’s probably closer to 50 times.
Hobbs and Marc Alcorn, two of the math teachers at Bowie, are in charge of the Student Council, but they needed a student coordinator for the project and appointed senior Nicole Odiase.
“All of our student council officers want to do community service, and this is a chance for us to really feel good about a project,” said Odiase, who is in her second year on the Student Council. “It’s a lot of work, but it makes me feel good about what we’re doing.”
On Thursday night, the students formed a caravan to deliver the presents to the apartment complex, which Alcorn admits is his favorite part of the project.
“It probably is the most fun,” he said. “I like to get a picture of our 30 cars pulling out of the parking lot on their way. It really is a cool image.”
This story is part of the Arlington Voice’s 25 Days of Good News series