It’s the season of giving, and Fairmont High School’s students and staff have stepped up to make the holidays a little brighter for hundreds of Kettering children. Fairmont “adopted” 205 youths through the City of Kettering’s Giving Tree program.
To come up with potential recipients for the Giving Tree Program, counselors from the various Kettering schools submitted the names of youths whose families were likely to struggle financially during the holidays. Volunteers from the city contacted the families, and about 670 Kettering school children and their younger siblings were identified. Fairmont students and staff ended up playing “Secret Santa” to almost one-third of the children.
Student Activities Coordinator Jenny Borchers coordinated Fairmont’s participation, and she was impressed by Firebirds’ generosity. “This year when we got to see the gifts piled up, it was truly astounding,” she said.
Each advisory or individual who “adopted” a child received a tag that showed the student’s age and sex, plus a list of needs and wants supplied by parents. Many asked for necessities for the winter season, such as winter coats, jeans, socks, underwear and other warm clothes. Toys, crayons, games and other items also were listed. Several parents just wrote messages like “any items would be appreciated.”
Borchers told the city she thought Fairmont would step up to buy for 200 of the children. She shared the information with the Fairmont community, and the request for tags began to roll in. However, as the Dec. 3 deadline to purchase gifts approached, Borchers still had 50 unclaimed tags and admits she was getting a little nervous.
But the Firebird nation was not going to let her or the children down. “People just kept volunteering,” Borchers said. Some parents and teachers said they wanted to help but didn’t have time to go shopping, so Borchers began to accept cash donations so that she and some students could do the necessary shopping.
During the last week, the donations came in quickly, and members of the USB Cabinet and sophomore Christian Davell shopped for 40 tags in one day at Meijer. “It was a lot of fun,” said Davell, who recalled shopping for some as young as 5 and as old as 18. “We got to see what all the kids wanted.” He added that it was also kind of sad to see how many of the children were in need of basic items such as winter coats and underwear.
Some of the advisories that made strong efforts to get gifts were those led by Kelly Mora, Ruthann Kain, Tim Parker, Tiffani Lobertini and Shellie Schultz.
Fairmont students and staff have done a lot this year for the community with the Spirit Chain, the Food Drive and now the Giving Tree. In many cases, Fairmont worked hard and broke previous records for giving, despite the difficult economy. “The accomplishment would not be possible without the efforts of Fairmont High School,” said Borchers.
Students were both proud and humbled because of their accomplishments, too. When USB President Spencer Kerivan was asked by a student what the best part of being on the USB Cabinet was, he responded: “I got to help make sure 670 kids in Kettering get Christmas.”