Bell students play Santa for West Woods

Published 5:59 pm Thursday, December 20, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – Students at Bell Alternative Education are helping in more ways than one this holiday season.
Not only did they adopt a family for Christmas, but students also made hand-made blankets for residents at West Woods in Niles.
According to Linda Ditto, service based learning teacher at Bell, students kept busy the last several months holding bake sales and pizza sales to raise funds for their family.
"We adopted a single mother with two children and from the looks of the gifts and food items, I would say they are going to have a great Christmas," Ditto said.
She explained that Amanda Freeze and Erica Doyle organized everything for the family.
"They researched the toys, went to the store to shop for the family and helped wrap the gifts. Overall we were able to raise $400," Ditto said.
The group will also be able to deliver their gifts on Saturday, Dec. 22 when a few students who volunteered their time will get to play Santa for a day.
"I know they are excited about that," Ditto said.
The material for the blankets was made possible with the help of Tyler Automotive, Stateline Cafe, Discount Muffler and Hot Dogs Plus, who all donated funds for the project.
"Debbie Davis organized the blanket project and did a wonderful job. These blankets will go to residents at West Woods who do not have family. The students wanted to make sure they had something," Ditto said.
This is not the first time Ditto's class has stepped in to help. In October, students collected around 50 coats from all four Brandywine schools – Merritt, Brandywine Elementary, junior high and high school – which were given to the Niles Service League for their annual Coat Drive.
Ditto said the goal of the class is learning the importance of giving back to the community.
Editor's note: We failed to print the end of this story in the Saturday's Niles Daily Star.