Dec. 15, 2017

James Russell Lowell Christmas Trip

SHOPPING FOR THE HOLIDAYS — Students from James Russell Lowell School 51 were invited by Kingsley Terrace Church to go holiday shooping at Burlington.

Many IPS students will have a very happy holiday, thanks to the generosity of school staff, community partners and even other students. Various churches and local organizations delivered toys, food and even household items to our students and families in need.

Here’s a quick look at some of the ways our students were helped before they left for winter break.

James Russell Lowell School 51 

Kingsley Terrace Church of Christ offered Christmas assistance to students at James Russell Lowell by taking 50 of the scholars to shop for gifts at Burlington on Dec. 4.

But that’s not all of the help the school received for the holidays, according to Parent Involvement Coordinator Latia Jointer.

Students also received toys from the Brightwood Community Coalition through the Toys for Tots program.

Arlington High School

Through the Lend a Hand Christmas program, Arlington High School usually supports 10 families in need each year. But this year was a little harder than most for some.

Sylvia Phillips, parent involvement coordinator at Arlington, said because the need was great, 11 families received assistance this year. From households with multiple members, including a grandmother raising seven grandchildren, and a mom who has three school-aged children and a newborn, but has only been able to secure part-time employment — the diversity of the need was vast.

Families, who are selected by Arlington social workers, are supported during the holidays through Campus Crusade for Christ and by Arlington staff. Phillips shops for the families each year.

“It just makes me feel good to do this because I know the families that are in need. I see the kids every day and see what they come to school in,” she said. “A few of the kids we shopped for are homeless. And we don’t just buy presents for the Arlington student, we buy presents for the siblings — whatever children are in the house.

Parents receive large food baskets, which is when Zion Hope Church steps in to help. The Lend a Hand Christmas program always culminates in a holiday dinner and food basket giveaway at Zion Hope, which is across the street from the school. “The baskets are so big that last year it took four men to carry one to a family’s car,” said Phillips.

James A. Garfield School 31

Nearly 60 families, including 178 children from James A. Garfield School 31 received help through the school’s Holiday Assistance program on Wednesday, Dec. 13.

Sponsors this year include: Community Church of Greenwood, Immanuel United Church of Christ, The Lincoln Center, OmniSite, The Union 525, Center for Diagnostic Imaging, private donors, and James A. Garfield staff. 

Families who applied and were selected for the program “shopped” for gifts for their children. At a minimum, they received one large present per child, stocking stuffers, board games, home items and food, along with wrapping paper. While parents shopped, children visited with Santa, decorated cookies and made crafts.

Newcomer Program

During the Newcomer Program’s Winter Extravaganza, each student received a present. Gifts included soccer balls, shirts and caps from the Indiana Pacers, food, art supplies, jewelry and more.

“The best thing about this is that all of our gifts were donated by folks related to Newcomer staff,” said the program’s Parent Involvement Educator Susana Colgan.

A second celebration was hosted for both students and their families, featuring student performances. Gift bags filled with food were distributed to assist families through winter break. There were also crafts and other treats. The Immigrant Welcome Center, one of Newcomer’s community partners, provided donations and also food.

“These events are especially meaningful to our families as Newcomer is comprised of immigrant and refugee students who often come to our country with little or nothing,” said Colgan. “We love celebrating the holidays with our families because it lets them know that even though they are far from their old home, they are welcome in their new one.”