As Christmas music filled the air, student volunteers gathered in the Encore for the 3rd annual ‘Tis the Season event. In interest of giving and sharing the holiday spirit with others, the Student Involvement and Employment Office organized the event for students to help decorate both cards and cookies.
“It is a passive way to get involved in the community. It’s a volunteer experience where volunteers can decorate cookies and make cards,” said Kirsten Donkle, the SIEO special events coordinator for the SERVE office.
The cookies were made by the Dining Advisory Board and donated to nursing homes in the community and the Salvation Army’s Hope Center after they were decorated. The cards will be mailed to sick children around the country.
On average, about 50 students normally register to take part of this event. The message hits home for many of the volunteers.
“I hope to brighten the lives of people who don’t really get to have that huge holiday experience like they use to,” Donkle said.
Anna Kaisler, a freshman dietetics major, initially attended ‘Tis the Season because she loves participating in holiday traditions, but she realized the event had much more meaning.
“I feel that the holidays are really important to people and if they get a card, then they can also feel a part of it, even if they’re far away or don’t necessarily have all of the traditional things with them,” Kaisler said.
Matt Cooke, a musical theatre and health promotion/wellness major, also attended ‘Tis the Season to shake up the holidays a bit this year.
“I wanted to do something different that I don’t always do. I don’t volunteer as much as I would like to. I think it would be cool to do something for the kids and the others receiving the cookies and cards,” Cooke said.
Cook hopes to make an impact on the recipients of the cookies and cards as well.
“I hope it lights up their day and gives them a realization that there are people who love and care about them whether or not we actually know them,” Cooke said.
For many of the volunteers, the experience reminded them of home and some of their own family traditions.
“Tis the season for everybody to realize what they are grateful for in life, to be with family and to have a reason to smile,” Cooke said