'Tis the Season

This December, the Higher Education Administration Graduate Student Association (HEAGSA) chose to adopt a local family for its winter philanthropy. One of the HEAGSA members suggest adopting a family since she had been involved with this project at her church for awhile; however, it was the first 'adoption' for the Santas at HEAGSA!

Jeni Davidson, a graduate student in the program, headed up the project, with the assistance of the HEAGSA Engagement Committee. The family chosen consisted of a single mother with three children: a 12 year-old girl, a 9 year-old boy, and a 6 year-old boy. The family had been through a series of hardships, including their home burning down two years ago. The two eldest siblings were badly burnt in the tragedy and spent many painful weeks in rehab and physical therapy. Despite their adversity, the family remains close and focused on their future. The youngest started kindergarten this year; the eldest boy has taken interest in an afternoon art program; and the daughter made the school honor roll for the first time!

Four representatives, including Angie Carter, Ashley Staples, Jeni Davidson, and Jason Lynch, delivered over 40 donated packages to the family on Sunday, December 12th 2010. The gifts ranged from hats and sweaters to remote controlled cars and action figures. While there, the students met the mother and daughter who were both at home with illnesses. The mother was extremely thankful and commented how her spirits were uplifted at the sight of the gifts. The young girl's excitement was extremely heartwarming; Ashley Staples, HEAGSA President, stated, "I wish we could have a stop-motion camera to capture [the young girl's] face after each trip to the car to get more presents."

This was truly a great experience for both the family and the HEAGSA. As graduate students, we often are preoccupied with our classes/work, and this was a great opportunity for each of us to reflect on how privileged we are to have the opportunity to be in a graduate program.

Next month, HEAGSA will be painting apartments owned by an organization that takes in homeless families to help them get back on their feet

Want to get involved? Contact Jason Lynch, Vice President of Engagement at rjlynch@ncsu.edu, or Nicole Ralston, Assistant VP of Engagement at nicole_ralston@ncsu.edu.

Editor's Note: Story contributed by Jason Lynch.

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