Volunteers will be gathering around 8,000 Christmas presents for kids on Friday, Dec. 9, at Guerin Prep High School, as part of the Adopt-A-Kid program, which Dominican participates in along with about 60 other schools. Each year the program distributes to Chicago area children two gifts, one practical and one “fun,” each costing about $20. Karla Bayas, Vice-President of Dominican University’s Student Government Association, said, “For some children, it is the only gift they get for Christmas.”
On Saturday, Dec. 10, 250 – 300 volunteers participate in Santa’s Workshop, where they sort, check, wrap, and pack all gifts that go to Christmas parties at places like foster care agencies, family shelters, and low-income daycare centers. Adopt-A-Kid, a non-profit organization, started 23 years ago when founder Roseanne Eiternick began working with a group of young people from wealthy families, a far cry from her days working with underprivileged children at St. Angela’s on Chicago’s West side. When she realized the stark contrast between the two groups, she knew there had to be a change. “It’s not that kids don’t care. Kids aren’t aware,” Eiternick said, referring to her privileged youth group. This situation inspired her to create Adopt-A-Kid, beginning at Guerin Prep, extending to Holy Cross, and doubling in size during the subsequent years.
Even in a bad economy, the number of people willing to give children Christmas gifts has increased. “Everybody wants to help,” Eiternick said. “Dominican has been extremely supportive.”
– Brigid Presecky, Copy Editor