Secret Santas

Middle school students take gifts to fellow teens

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Yukon Progress
Ten students from Yukon Middle School attended the Secret Santa event at Youth and Family Services, helping to provide gifts for those in need. (Photo by Amber Donaldson)

By Alyssa Sperrazza
Staff Writer

Students from Yukon Middle School decided to be Secret Santas, but with a twist.

Instead of getting gifts for one another, they would give them to fellow teens and a family in the community who need some Christmas magic.

Ten students from Yukon Middle School participated in the Secret Santa program, raising money, buying and wrapping the gifts to give away.

Amber Donaldson, one of two sponsors for YMS student council, said this began in October, when they were looking for a way to give back to the community.

“We held a dance back in October and raised over $4,000 with the intention of doing a community service project,” Donaldson said. “I contacted Cindi Turner at Youth and Family Services and she gave us a list of names of kids and one family to sponsor for Christmas.

So we purchased about $1,500 worth of gifts for 17 kids and then we are purchasing a gaming system for the shelter.”

Mia Phillips, student council president and an 8th grader, said doing Secret Santa was something the council wanted to be a part of because it was a way to give back to the community.

“We are grateful to be able to help wherever we can,” Phillips said. “We enjoyed the feeling that we had helped people who really needed it. Giving is truly so much more rewarding than receiving.”

Campbell Schwartz, 8th grader at Yukon Middle School, also participated in the Secret Santa, knowing it was something she wanted to be involved in “to help other kids and know they will have gifts for Christmas…To show somebody cares about them.”

Yukon Public Schools has partnered with Youth and Family Services before and Friends Coordinator Cindi Turner said it’s been a great partnership so far. The students from YMS went to Youth and Family Services Friday, December 7 to wrap and give away the gifts they’d collected.

“The student council wanted to help children right here in the area and they reached out to us,” Turner explained. “We service all of Canadian county (as well as Blaine, Kingfisher and Oklahoma counties) and help a number of children and youth within our 10 programs.

The group specifically helped sponsor children and youth for Christmas gifts in our Caring Center, Emergency Solutions and Transitional Living programs. They came by Friday morning for a visit, a wrapping party and a tour. During our time together the group learned a lot about how YFS is involved in Canadian County and they had lots of great questions about the wonderful things that go on here. They were excited when I told them that we have had 71 adoptions since 2012 and more to come.”

Schwartz said her favorite part of the day was hearing from Turner about Youth and Family Services and her personal “heart-warming story of her kid’s story before she and her husband opened their home.”

Turner was also encouraged by the students and their effort to care about those in their community.

“It is very encouraging to see young people sincerely care and want to invest into the lives of others their age,” Turner said. “There is something that everyone can do. You just have to find the avenue of your choice to touch the lives of those hurting around you. If you don’t know where to start then start by calling Youth & Family Services.”