Adopting a New View Towards Giving


Some of the many gifts donated during the Adopt-a-Family drive

Alex Chang, Staff Reporter

Everyone has a wish list. However, sometimes those wishes are never granted. But every holiday season, Sequoia runs the Adopt-a-Family program, where families in need can apply to receive gifts anonymously. This year, 660 gifts were donated from people in the Sequoia community, and those gifts went 110 different families. All gifts are wrapped with colorful holiday paper and are delivered to the families. All the gifts this year that were requested were received. On top of all the generous donations by the teacher and student families, and supportive local companies, people also volunteer time to help distribute presents and organize the gifts for the families.
Every year, families can apply to receive gifts, and volunteers will donate their time and money for gifts to support these families and make their holiday season all the more special. And as expected, these students want the same things as their peers: Vans, hoodies, makeup. Some request things for their little siblings, such as Play-Doh, and parents will request things such as gift cards, where they can use their funds however they want.
But what some kids really want, not even Sequoia can give. Ms. Macias, who works at the family center where volunteers drop off their donated gifts, says “At least three or four kids told me, ‘Well, what I really want for Christmas is to see my mom, or what I really want to see my siblings.’ Many of them will not have a Christmas tree, many of them don’t live with their parents, some of them they were there, either older brother older sister, older sibling or uncle, grandma.” But with this help through Sequoia, the holiday season becomes a little more special. In the case of one teen, he received a bike. With only his brothers to take care of him, he desperately needed a way to attend school. But thanks to the generous Sequoia community, he now has a way to make it to school.
Along with all the individual volunteers, the band at Sequoia is doing their part to help led by Ms. Woodman. “It’s through the group of the band, so it’s something that every year I make it an optional thing for students in both bands, that we’re just going to pool money together as a group, and then I also contribute individually to that. So then I have my band leaders, who are called band-aids they go out and do the shopping and wrapping,” explains Ms. Woodman. For almost eight years, Ms. Woodman has organized a group donation for the band and also donates personally.
On top of all of the gifts being donated, some people go a little further and host a dinner for the families, which is happening on December 19th. People donate a piñata to make the party all the more special for the younger children at dinner.
The amount of kind-heartedness that is demonstrated by the Sequoia community is astounding. “The volunteers really feel that they’re making a difference, and you can see that they’re enjoying it too. I can see it on their smiles,” says Ms. Macias. With all of the volunteers that are giving their money and time, and programs that are being run for the benefit of those families in need, Sequoia really lives up to its motto of being a place of friends.