Christmas with class
Area children to receive gifts thanks to students’ efforts
December 9, 2016
For 24 children in
Dunn County, Santa Claus came to town this Christmas dressed as a University of
A total of 50
students, with campuswide support, are making Christmas a little merrier for underprivileged
children. The students raised about $1,000 to buy gifts for 24 children in the local
Christmas for Kids program affiliated with the United Way of Dunn County.
Christmas for Kids,
through the generosity of area residents, businesses and institutions like
UW-Stout, will help about 1,000 children from 350 families receive gifts this
year, said program director Diane Simon.
students, from the Environmental Science Profession class taught by Krista
James, are glad they could help. “I think everyone felt good about helping
others. It was fun to shop for somebody else for a change,” said Ryan
Siggelkow, of Crandon, an environmental science major.
Siggelkow and Mai
Lia Vang were two of the project leaders, acting as peer mentors. The students
split into 10 groups. They organized fundraisers that included campuswide office
donation envelopes, bake sales and GoFundMe online accounts.
Fellow students, faculty
and staff contributed.
In the seven years
James’ classes have been involved with Christmas for Kids, the $1,000 raised to
help 24 children is a class record.
donations support UW-Stout’s Holiday Giving Tree project, in which other
students, faculty and staff also donate to Christmas for Kids. The Holiday
Giving Tree is in its 24th year.
“Being able to
provide toys for less fortunate children made my team very happy. Everyone was
in high spirits,” said Vang, of Eau Claire, also an environmental science
raised the money, they went to Walmart in Menomonie to buy gifts for specific
children on the list.
“My group consisted of four
guys, and we were tasked to purchase toys for two little sisters. One was 12
years old, and the other was 5 years old. They asked for makeup, ‘girlie
things,’ and art supplies. With a little help from some friends, we were able
to cross those off their Christmas lists,” Siggelkow said.
James, director of
the environmental science Bachelor of Science program, involves her students in
Christmas for Kids as part of a class section on inclusive excellence. They
discuss issues related to justice, such as personal biases and diversity.
“I thought it would
be important to select a service project that helped people within our
community,” James said.
really showed a
lot of enthusiasm when she presented this fundraising effort to our class,”
Siggelkow said. “That passion really resonated with all of the students.”
project helped drive home the lesson that being involved and giving back can
improve the quality of life in a community, James said.
really helped us use the skills that we learned about,” Vang said.
students are setting the example by paying it forward,” Siggelkow added. “This
kind of effort shows the community that if struggling college kids can take the
initiative and time to help others, then they can too.”
Environmental Science Profession class, which raised $1,000 to
buy presents for children.
left, Mai Lia Vang, Jake Giersch, Connor Kvendru and Caleb
Maynes do their Christmas for Kids shopping.
left, Ryan Siggelkow, Nick Dacon, Nate Emerson and Cole
Yohnke shop for children on their Christmas for Kids list.