Gifts galore: YouthNet hosts holiday gift drive

Participants in last year's YouthNet gift drive. (Photo courtesy: Rosalind Curran, Executive Director of YouthNet)

Participants in last year’s YouthNet gift drive. (Photo courtesy: Rosalind Curran, Executive Director of YouthNet)

King’s students have a tendency to get involved within their community. This year, some students are helping to spread holiday cheer to kids through a north-end organization.

YouthNet is operated out of the Saint George’s Round Church on the corner of Cornwallis and Sackville streets. They provide after school, lunch time, summer and teen programming for kids who need it in the area. Rosalind Curran, executive director of YouthNet, says it is important to show the kids that they are appreciated.

“The gifts are just our way of showing our appreciation and love for them. Many of them won’t receive as many presents as some peers,” she says.

This year’s gift drive has no shortage of donors. The children participating in the after-school program YouthNet offers at Saint George’s round church will receive a gift purchased by a donor.

For the gifts, YouthNet asks people to sign up to sponsor a child in order to get them the gift. Each donor is given a description of the child and a few gift ideas based off of YouthNet volunteers’ interactions with the child. The donors are able to buy the gift for the child themselves, or they can donate money for a volunteer to purchase it.

“In many cases, this might be one of the few gifts that the child is getting, so we try and get nicer gifts,” says Verity Thomson, a King’s student and volunteer with YouthNet.

This year, there is a donor for each child. King’s students who are still interested in getting involved will have their chance on Saturday, Dec. 2 during the Warden’s Christmas party at the King’s chapel at 11am.

“Basically, the day entails decorating the chapel, and having apple cider and eggnog while we decorate a Christmas tree,” says Sarah Griffin, another King’s student and volunteer with YouthNet. “Part of that is wrapping the gifts together, whether or not you bought a gift. And then we also write cards to give to the kids along with the gifts.”

Participants in last year's YouthNet gift drive. (Photo courtesy: Rosalind Curran, Executive Director of YouthNet)

Participants in last year’s YouthNet gift drive. (Photo courtesy: Rosalind Curran, Executive Director of YouthNet)

The King’s chapel and YouthNet have a long-standing partnership, says Thomson. Many King’s students volunteer with YouthNet regularly, and Thomson and Griffin are some of the people helping to organize the gift drive this year.

“We have a lot of young people who are interested in being in the community and trying to make valuable contributions,” says Thomson.

All of the wrapped gifts and cards will be brought to Saint George’s where they will be distributed at an after-school program day following YouthNet’s “feast of St. Nicholas” party on Dec. 6.

“They have a big community meal where they make a big turkey dinner and all of the kids, all of their parents and all of their siblings and everyone is invited together to share this big St. Nicholas day meal,” says Thomson.

Anyone interested in volunteering with YouthNet or finding out more can contact Verity Thomson at [email protected]