DECA works with Family Partnership

Club organizes sponsors for children without holiday gifts


Grace Farley

Senior Alexis Machoka volunteers with children during DECA’s annual visit to Family Partnership to celebrate the holidays with children in 2016.

Senior Anthony David said a classmate of his, who is a DECA member, introduced him to the opportunity to sponsor a child’s holiday gift.

“I was asked by one of the DECA participants if I was willing to sponsor a child,” David said. “I got a little sheet and on there were three things the child was asking for as well as their hat size and glove size.”

David said this small act of buying a child a gift felt fulfilling, especially because the child he sponsored shares some of his interests.

“I sort of saw the different children, and I was like, ‘Oh I wanted that one,’ because my child wanted things that I’m also interested in,” David said. “It was fun for me to get some toys I might buy for myself or something like that for someone else who enjoys similar things as me.”

According to DECA adviser Sophia Ross, the has worked with a preschool run by Family Partnership every year for over 20 years, to give gifts to 60 children who might not otherwise receive a holiday gift.

“We come back with this wishlist back from the kids and it says what their names are, what their gender is and sometimes the race is important because if it’s like a little girl and we try to get her a doll of the same race. She puts down three things on their wishlist and what size they are,” Ross said.

Ross said DECA also asks the sponsors to buy a hat and mitten set for the children so they can have warm gear for the winter.

“Not only do we want to get one of the three things off the wishlist but we also want to provide them with the hat and mitten set for the winter season,” Ross said.

Senior Olivia Guenzel, who is a DECA member, said the hat and mitten set doesn’t cost too much extra money for the sponsor and is essential for providing these kids with warm winter gear.

“(We give them a hat and mittens) because in Minnesota it gets cold and a lot of times they aren’t able to purchase mittens and hat,” Guenzel said. “Usually they only have a coat or jacket so usually we just add that in and it isn’t too much extra money and also just so that they can have it for the winter.”

According to Ross, Family Partnership is a program that helps children whose families are struggling financially.

“What’s really cool about this school program though it’s usually kids who are in a poverty type situation because this preschool is free for all of the families, it’s also kind of like a counseling center,” Ross said. “They do a lot of therapy with the kids and the families because some of the parents are struggling with different addictions.”

According to David, he would advise other students to participate in the program and give a child a holiday gift.

“If anyone is thinking about it, I would recommend doing it as it’s very fulfilling and you might be giving a child the only gift they will be getting this holiday season,” David said.

Guenzel said it is an exciting opportunity to surprise the kids and celebrate the holidays with them.

“It’s fun for the kids because they get to celebrate when usually they wouldn’t be able to and it’s kind of a surprise because they don’t know what they’re getting and we go to the building and surprise them and sing songs,” Guenzel said.

Ross said DECA members will bring the gifts over to the preschool and run programming for the children Dec. 20.

“We bring in all those gifts bags over to the Family Partnership and spend the morning interacting and playing with the kids and helping them open up their gifts. We sing different holiday songs. We do have one of our students dress up as Santa Claus and kids can get their picture taken with Santa Claus,” Ross said. “It’s really a fun day to go out and hang out with the little kids and I love watching all of our high school students interact with the kids.”