180 Days - Making the Holiday Bright

180 Days - Making the Holiday Bright

By Barb Hanson, GEAR UP Coordinator at OHS

"I have had the pleasure of working after school this semester with the Al Exito program. As most of you know, this is geared toward providing leadership, college-readiness, and cultural awareness programming to Latino students.

As we approached the holidays, we had planned a party to celebrate. Initially, we were going to do a gift exchange amongst the students. However, one of our students, Eduardo Padilla, pitched the idea that instead of buying gifts for each other, we adopt children from Wilson Elementary for the holidays.

The other students loved the idea. Together we worked with Wilson to identify families that weren't participating in any other holiday giving project. Two families were randomly selected. Students then donated their own money.  Students come from many different backgrounds but gave what they could to help others. They then went shopping and purchased a nice gift for each child, six children total from two families.

On Wednesday night, they will deliver the gifts to the families. Both single-parent families expressed so much gratitude and that this is their children's only presents they are receiving this year - all because of Al Exito students, their young children will now have gifts to open!

I am proud of our students and our community at Ottumwa High School."

Al Exito students shop for gifts to donate to families during the holidays.