Applegate: The spirit of giving throughout Niles

As the holiday season continues, I am once again overwhelmed by the amount of giving and service that can be seen throughout the community. The spirit of the season is in full swing, and community efforts underway set good examples for our Niles Community Schools students, who are making this season of giving all their own.

From school to school within our district, to extracurricular clubs and athletic teams, our students are joining together for the greater good of our community and for those who are less fortunate.

In effort to help fellow students in need, Ring Lardner Middle School had a Teen Gift Drive where $600 was raised for teens whose families are struggling this holiday season. Donations were raised by candy gram sales, teacher donations in exchange for a “Jeans Day,” bake sales and public donations to a giving tree. Using those donations, students purchased clothes, hygiene products, sporting goods and crafts for their fellow classmates.

We were pleased to see various schools also “adopted” families in need to provide them with gifts and necessary items, including Howard-Ellis, the administration building and Eastside each adopting multiple families. At Cedar Lane, our Reaching for the Reins students made ornaments for others, and Ballard Elementary students in the same program made scarfs for children in need throughout the district. Our Niles High School key club completed a sock donation drive for the homeless community, and the Niles New Tech juniors organized a canned food drive for a local food bank.

In addition to providing goods to those in need, our students have joined together to provide much-needed services, too. At Cedar Lane, students have identified individuals with a handicap, elderly individuals, veterans and others in need of services that include snow shoveling, leaf raking and other household chores. This program is planned to grow and continue outside of the holiday season, as students build relationships with community members that could use the assistance all year-round.

We are deeply proud of our students, teachers and staff for their great work. During this season of giving, I hope we as a community continue to share the holiday spirit with those who need it most.

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