Edwardsburg middle school students adopt families for Christmas

EDWARDSBURG — The Edwardsburg Middle School student council went above and beyond the school walls this Christmas by adopting six families for whom they raised money and bought holiday necessities. The effort was part of the council’s yearly Adopt-A-Family-Program, which the council has been part of for 15 years, according to student council advisor Tonya Wright.

Students and staff at Edwardsburg Middle School donated money for the program between Dec. 3 and 7, and raised $3,500. The six selected families provided wish lists to the council. Then the elected officers of the council, Alex Carfi, Kirra Halfman, Hanna Kertes, Emily Swihart and Brady Wright, used list guidelines to shop at the Meijer and Barnes and Noble in Mishawaka. All the families received household items, clothing, books and toys.

For Wright, instilling the values of charity and community service into the hearts and minds of students is an important effort for schools, especially in Edwardsburg.

“I think it is good to instill these values as early as possible.  I want them to experience the feeling of helping others in need,” Wright said. “Our district really believes in teaching our students to have pride, passion and purpose in everything they do, both inside and outside of school.”

The student council has about 75 members in the 2018-2019 school year. Student clubs and extra-curricular organizations are as much a part of the learning experience as classrooms for many Edwardsburg educators. In programs like Adopt-A-Family, students learn not only about giving back, but they learn about having a balanced shopping list and working as a team. They also learn that such activities are not really about them, but about their community.

“The hope is that students realize it is far better to give than to receive not only during the holiday season, but throughout the whole year,” Wright said.

The Adopt-A-Family project is a middle school community effort, according to Wright. Although the student council facilitates, collects funds and does the shopping, the entire school contributes to the fundraising, and several other educators like Mrs. Shellhamer, the school librarian, Mr. Wright, 8th grade science teacher and Mrs. Benfield, 7th grade English teacher, also helped. Mrs. Benfield compiled a list of books to purchase for the families.

Working as the middle school community as a whole to serve the Edwardsburg community as a whole was the goal of Adopt-A-Family, and other programs like the high school NHS Christmas program, Operation Christmas. Wright is grateful for the rest of the community that contributes to make the student council program possible.

“We would like to thank the students, staff, community of Edwardsburg and Meijer for their gracious donations that helped make this even a success,” she said.

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