Schools help families in need with Adopt a Family


Peyton Thompson

Toys are collected from all those who donated in Mrs. Fetkenhier’s class.

Peyton Thompson, News Editor

Schools across the Deer Valley Unified School District, including OHS, have taken part in donating to the Adopt a Family project this holiday season. Through this project, the community is able to come together to give less fortunate families the holiday they deserve.

In October, an email was sent out from the Deer Valley Unified School District office to invite employees to sponsor families within the Adopt a Family project and help make a difference. During the month of November, students and staff alike will contribute by donating specific items off of their family’s wish list which will all be collected and sent by Dec 7.

The amount of sponsors increases each year, consequently allowing people to make a bigger impact in their community. Jan Ickes, Early Childhood Head Start clerk, explains what good she has seen come from being a part of this project.

“Not only does it help the families but each year we have more and more sponsors that want to get involved. So I think the idea that we are spreading out to people [who] look forward to getting involved in this and helping others at the holiday season,” Ickes said.

Being sponsors of this project, students of certain clubs and those who take a CTE class have the opportunity to get involved.

“It’s getting a lot of students to interact. So we have NHS, FCCLA, all of the CTE classes are all helping with, not only the Adopt a Family, but all of the events included,” said Lauren Fetkenhier, interior design teacher.

In most cases, the holiday season revolves around gifts and getting everything one might hope for. However, being a part of Adopt a Family shifts one’s perspective, allowing people to see that there is much more to this time of year than receiving gifts and that the act of giving itself is what is most important.

“It helps kids learn how to grow, learn how to give, learn that the holidays aren’t just about gifts for themselves but helping other families [and] being able to make a difference. So I think that when they get to see how much stuff has come in and that this family is going to have a happy holiday it makes a big difference,” Fetkenhier said.

Contributing to this project can become an eye-opening experience for some people, as it allows them to see past the limits of their surroundings and look at the larger picture, realizing there are more important things than fulfilling one’s own desires. Inspiring them to focus on other people’s needs rather than just their own.

“It’s an opportunity for students to realize the bigger scheme of things… it shows awareness that people in our community, because they are in our school district, are less fortunate [and] don’t have [some of the] simple things,” said Melissa Portela, sports medicine teacher.

By contributing to Adopt a Family project, it helps people in the community and change people’s lives one small step at a time.

“I know that everywhere else at stores they have ‘hey, donate donate donate’ but you don’t know where it’s going to. So this aspect, it’s somebody in our community that is struggling, that does need some help, and if we can help out a little bit it just shows that we are one big family, one big community together,” Portela said.

In the end, Adopt a Family creates a sense of community bringing everyone together, students and district employees alike, to help the lives of less fortunate families this holiday season.

“It does help our school and our community come together. Because we have our students, we have our department that are all kind of coming together to help the Adopt a Family. Like whatever we can’t get, other people will hopefully kind of chime in and help purchase as well. So it helps bring us closer together,” Portela said.