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PCSD students, staff generously donate to those in need this holiday season
December 17, 2018
Every year, Parma City School District students, families and staff come together to generously support those in need in the community during the holiday season.
At the PCSD Administrative Building, the Treasurer’s Office has been coordinating a holiday gift giving program for over 15 years.
“It reminds us that there are kids and families out there that don’t have much and can really use our help,” expressed Sheri Bartko, PCSD payroll clerk who helped to coordinate the program.
This holiday season, administrative staff and principals bought gifts on 95 children’s wish lists. In total, 210 wrapped and decorated packages were delivered to The Parma Area Family Collaborative to be picked up by families. All donations and gifts benefit families throughout the three communities.
“For me and my children, because I have my kids use a little bit of their money to buy for a child also, it gives us this warm feeling inside to be able to help out another child,” Bartko shared. “As for the staff, I would like to think that helping out these kids would give them a warm and joyous feeling also and I’m sure it does. If you could see the reaction from the employees when they walk into the Treasurer’s Office this time of year when we still have the packages, it’s amazing.”
She added the program also received outside support from the Parma Justice Center, PSE Credit Union and a woman’s group in the community.
Many buildings were also getting into the giving spirit, holding holiday collections of their own.
Parma Senior High School held ‘Stuff Mrs. Armstrong’s Office’ gift drive again this year, sponsored by the school’s Girl Power group.
“The cornerstones of Girl Power are service and leadership,” explained PSH School Counselor, Marian Armstrong. “We have always tried to do at least one large service project per year. The Parma Area Family Collaborative has been a great partner to us and we wanted to help them with their holiday toy drive. Last year we were very successful and grateful that so many children who might otherwise not receive gifts were able to enjoy the holidays as well.”
Like last year, the 2018 toy drive was a success with Armstrong’s office bursting with gifts donated by students and staff. Over 100 gifts were wrapped by members of the Girl Power group and donated the Collaborative.
“We are hoping that this becomes a tradition in our high school,” Armstrong shared. “The response from the community and especially our staff has been overwhelming. I cannot thank our staff enough. They go above and beyond consistently and I am honored to work with them.”
She further expressed that community service is essential to developing well-rounded students who not only excel in the classroom but also give back to their community.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my life and am very grateful for the things that I have,” she added. “It is important for our students to see outside themselves. Many have difficult situations at home but even those students have something to be grateful for. There is a sense of pride and a job well done when we help others. I love when my students share that feeling as well.”
Renwood Elementary School Student Council teamed up once again with the Donna Smallwood Senior Center to help home bound senior citizens.
The school collected several personal care items like daily pill organizers, toothpaste, toothbrushes, body wash, hand soap in pumps, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, denture care items, deodorant and laundry detergent. They also collected warm gloves, hats, scarves and comfy socks.
Each student who brought in an item received a star to write their name on, which was strung throughout the school from the giving tree to the front door. This signified a bright path connecting the school to the community.
“We have many seniors in the Parma area who are unable to leave their homes without assistance and often have to make the choice between eating and having basic supplies for daily life,” the school shared in a flyer home to families. “We would like to help them and to help build a bridge to the seniors in the Parma community to show them that their young people and families care for them and want to help.”
Dentzler Elementary School Student Council held a similar collection of paper products, personal hygiene items, socks and underwear, cleaning supplies and canned food to support the Parma Area Family Collaborative.
The Parma Area Family Collaborative continued with their Community Elf program, where members of the community are encouraged to support a child or family in the community by purchasing gifts this holiday season.
Over 1,000 children received gifts through this program last year, and strives to help as many families as possible this year.
The PCSD Transportation Department with the Parma Area Family Collaborative held the annual Stuff-The-Bus holiday gift and toy drive on December 1, 2018 collecting donations to support families in our community during the holidays, as well.
PHOTO CAPTION: Members of the Parma Senior High School Girl Power group load in donated gifts on December 14 for “Stuff Mrs. Armstrong’s Office.”