By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager
There are angels among us. This time every year we get a chance to straighten and polish our crooked, tarnished halos simply by picking a child’s name off a Christmas tree.
That angelic paper cutout is then transformed into a gift that brings real joy to a kid with not enough during the holidays.
The Angel Tree is a nationally recognized symbol of Christmas charity. For more than four decades, the Angel Tree has been a signpost to illustrate the genuine spirit of giving inherent in that beloved day.
Here at Big Thought we put up our first Angel Tree earlier this month and immediately embraced the beauty of benevolence. The tree was dotted with 47 angels, each angel representing a child in our Thriving Minds After-School program at Village Oaks.
The idea for the Angel Tree to benefit the children of Village Oaks came from James Adams, Big Thought’s Programs Manager, who had participated in the Angel Tree tradition before.
“The desire was to have a tree with angels on it,” says Adams. “Every time you take an angel, a present appeared under the tree. It’s the magic of Christmas. I wanted these kids to experience that magic.”
So on the evening of Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, the Village Oaks kids enjoyed their angels. The Village Oaks Community Center was abuzz with kids ages 5-14, with adult volunteers, and with members of the Big Thought team.
Volunteers Allison and DeWitt Corrigan, principals in Big Thought’s Young Professionals chapter, gave of their time and money to man the Christmas stockings table. They had a captive bunch busily glittering the stockings and then stuffing them with candy. Glitter was everywhere – on the table, on the floor, on hands and even faces. Clean up was, well, not a breeze.
But it’s worth it, because the children had a spectacular time. They also decorated Christmas cookies, and then sat down one by one to open presents. Nine-year-old Eimani, 5-year-old Josiah, 8-year-old Michael, 10-year-old De’Nyrion, 9-year-old Elijah, 6-year-old Sandel, 4-year-old Mariah and 14-year-old Corey, to name a few, ripped through colorful wrapping paper to reveal headphones, toy cars, coloring books, puzzles, an origami kit and even a Holy Bible.
We took pictures. We laughed. We hugged. We tried to keep order among the festive chaos. But mostly we relished the opportunity to be angels for angels. Take a look around; angels are everywhere.
We appreciate the continued support of the Rees-Jones Foundation and the Hillcrest Foundation, as well as our collaborating partnership with Behind Every Door.