Gardendale High School is currently collecting donations to assist in sponsoring 205 children through their 2019 Christmas Visions program. Christmas Visions is their way to give just over 200 needy children his or her wish list for Christmas.
Collections will take place now through mid-December. Christmas Visions benefits children who attend 20 Jefferson County Schools.
The GHS student body strongly believes in the opportunity to give back and looks forward to the campaign each year. The majority of the money comes from small donations from 1,100-plus students. They believe in the opportunity to give hope and to give back. Gardendale’s Student Council helps facilitate the campaign under Mandi Adams, the GSC Adviser.
Adams said, “Our Gardendale High School students realize they are a part of something bigger than themselves. Christmas Visions develops, in them, a desire to help others. We hope this continues throughout the rest of their lives.”
GHS students want these recipients to feel special at Christmas and have the things that they need. They hear stories from the recipients and truly want to give. High school recipients say that the shoes provided to them were the first shoes that they have owned that did not have holes in them.
Some students request items like name brand food products because that is a special treat for them. The stories are endless.
In an effort to meet their substantial goal, the Gardendale Student Council also reaches out to local business to request their support. It takes a true community effort to obtain the goal.
Each participating school has a counselor choose their students with the greatest needs. A wish list is gathered for each child, citing their needs and wants, along with the needs and wants of any siblings who are not school-aged. Once all of the money is collected, a GSC member selects two to three children to shop for, purchasing ALL of their needs first, then their wants. Depending on the amount raised, $150 - $200 is budgeted per child.
Many kids list things such as toothbrushes, shampoo, blankets, jackets and food as needs. Wants often include basketballs, footballs, coloring books and bicycles.
Collecting money and donating to “Toys for Tots” was Gardendale High School’s first Christmas project. In December of 1990, GHS decided to sponsor families without the assistance of “Toys for Tots.” That year, the Student Government Association (now known as the Gardendale Student Council), decided to give their efforts a name, and Christmas Visions was born.
Almost 30 years later, the tradition of generosity continues. In 1990, $8,000 was raised to sponsor just over 50 children. By 2005, the total had increased to over $35,000. The 2019 goal is to collect $40,000 and to sponsor 205 children.
Gardendale High School has been blessing children across Northern Jefferson County for almost 30 years. Each recipient has a huge bag full of gifts that are delivered to their schools where their parents pick them up, just in time for Christmas… making spirits bright.
For more information or to make a donation to Christmas Visions, please contact Mandi Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org.