Most teenage girls head to the mall to buy clothes, shoes or makeup for themselves.
But the girls on the middle school junior varsity at Franciscan School spent most of December shopping for and wrapping toys, sports equipment and children’s clothes.
For the team’s annual holiday service project, the girls decided to adopt 15 children through the Raleigh Boys & Girls Club and give them a Christmas to remember.
The girls had each child write out a wish list along with information about themselves, such as favorite color, their role model and what they liked to do in their free time.
“Most of the kids only wrote down one gift, but we wanted to give them a great Christmas, so we had to encourage them to write down more toys and gifts that they wanted,” said Robert Eastmann, coach of the girls junior varsity basketball team. The team also had the children give gift ideas for their parents and siblings.
But the project wasn’t just about gifts. The girls wanted to spend time with the kids and let them know that people cared about them.
Once the team had gift ideas, the girls headed for the stores and spent several weeks picking out the perfect presents for each child.
Before Christmas, the girls invited the children to spend the afternoon with them. After eating pizza together and getting to know the kids, the girls had each child open one present and sent the rest home with them to be opened Christmas morning.
As the wrapping paper was torn off, the kids’ faces lit up and the parents had tears in their eyes when they picked up their children. Eastmann said that one boy who had lost his older brother this year had found solace in music to get him through tough times, and the team had bought him a high-end keyboard.
“After he opened the keyboard, he walked into another room and started bawling out of happiness,” Eastmann said. “He was very emotional over the gift.”
Another girl was very shy and aloof when she arrived. By the end of the evening Eastmann said that she was hugging the girls and begging them not to leave. The team was so touched by the children at the Boys & Girls Club that they signed up to volunteer at a basketball tournament the club is hosting in January.
“Our girls saw how blessed they are and what they can do to others,” Eastmann said. “Since our school is in honor of St. Francis, who was a giver to the poor, it was great to live out what we teach at school.
“We want our students to share God’s blessing, and our girls were really able to do that. We were able to take God’s glory and share it with people that may not realize that God’s blessing is for everyone. We let the kids know that people care about them.”
Hope Community singles
Hope Community Church is having its monthly singles worship night from 7 to 9:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, at the church, 821 Buck Jones Road, Raleigh. Singles of all ages will hear an encouraging message geared toward singles, share a potluck meal, socialize and enjoy live music. For more information, call 919-532-0620, email email@example.com or visit facebook.com/hccjourney.
Habitat for Humanity
St. Francis is participating in its monthly Saturday workdays at Habitat for Humanity sites in Raleigh from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11. Additional volunteers are welcome. Construction experience is helpful, but not required. For more information, contact Diane Steinbeiser at 919-846-8026 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have some faith news to share? Send it to correspondent Jennifer Gregory at email@example.com. For events, please give two to three weeks of notice.