It’s the season for giving, and The Gardner School is proud to provide our families a way to jump into the charitable spirit during the holidays. This year, all 17 of our schools across six states took part in donating to various organizations who provide joy to less fortunate families during the holidays. Not only is it wonderful to see the impact of these donations on the receiving families, but it has been a true gift to witness The Gardner School’s students learn about the importance of helping others and eagerly participate in making spirits brighter for other children.
Here’s a look at a few of The Gardner School’s various holiday giving campaigns, along with a breakdown of the impact our students and families made for others in need this holiday season.
Toys for Tots
The Gardner School’s schools in Chicago and Minneapolis, as well as our Herndon, Virginia school, took part in hosting drop-off locations for Toys for Tots, a program of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve, which collects new, unwrapped toys during the months of October, November, and December to distribute as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the communities where the campaigns are conducted. “Kids can relate to toys and know how special it is to receive one as a gift. Through Toys for Tots, our students can also experience how feels to help other children feel special through the gifts they donate,” says Stacey Richman, Director at The Gardner School of Minnetonka.
The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree
A handful of The Gardner Schools—including Blue Ash, Brentwood, Dublin, and Franklin—adopted families through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree. Angel Tree gifts are given to infants through 18 years old whose families need extra assistance around the holidays. “Our Brentwood school students and parents were able to assist 25 children and families who are less fortunate than most. We dropped off more than 100 items to the Salvation Army Angel Tree warehouse, including two car seats, several boxes of diapers, a pack and play, a stroller, and a doll house. Our parents were delighted to help make Christmas special for several Nashville children,” says Rachel McCormick, Director at The Gardner School of Brentwood.
“Our gifts totaled five large bags full, including over $500 in gift cards. We were able to get everything on each family’s wish list, plus more,” added Sonnia Richards, Assistant Director at The Gardner School of Blue Ash.
Other Programs and Projects
Other giving projects our schools participated in this holiday season include The Gardner School of Louisville adopting families for the Christmas Basket Program from The Cabbage Patch Settlement House, The Gardner School of Midtown (Nashville) organizing a luggage drive for children transitioning homes in the foster care system, and The Gardner School of Nashville donating 12 food baskets to Nashville’s Hermitage Elementary, with each basket containing a $50 gift card so parents could purchase things for their children.
“We took a different approach this year and have decided to work alongside the Department of Human Services to support children in foster care with luggage and other items that they are not able to take with them when taken from their homes. It helps these children on the first night of their DHS foster placement,” says Lauren McConnell, Director at The Gardner School of Midtown in Nashville.
Students at The Gardner School of Glenview-Northbrook (Chicago) even created holiday cards for children at the local hospital.
The Gardner School strives to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources—children. Our staff members know that many families struggle to provide gifts for their families this time of year, and being a part of a positive and uniting community cause allows us the opportunity to talk with our students about the importance of helping others. Thanks to the students and families at all of The Gardner School’s families and teachers for your overwhelming participation in making the holidays a little brighter for many children and their families this year!