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Weddington High’s DECA club ‘adopts’ two families

Pat Kowalo, Weddington High’s marketing/business teacher and DECA advisor, (kneeling at right), assists students wrapping presents for two less fortunate families who are being assisted by Turning Point, a battered women’s shelter. Also pictured are, from left, Sam Corio, 17; Lauren Kempf, 17; Anna Meade, 17; Kowalo; Parks Busby, 14, and (standing) Kiki Heron, 17.

 Weddington High School DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) club members are no stranger to helping those in need. Each year they “adopt” a few less fortunate families and shower them with gifts and holiday cheer.

Madeline Tackeberry, 16, a junior, and DECA vice president, said that Weddington’s DECA students really enjoy helping others, especially during the holidays.

“Weddington is a very privileged area, overall,” Madeline said. “A lot of the kids have more than is expected, so for us to get together and gather things for the less fortunate really shows community service and how we can inspire others to give back too.”

This year DECA decided to do things a little differently. In the past, theyhave adopted a couple of less fortunate families as identified by local agencies, and brought them to the school. DECA students would then gather around in a brightly decorated area of their school and watch the children open their gifts.

Pat Kowalo, Weddington High’s marketing/business teacher and DECA advisor, said that some of her DECA students, through their volunteer work, knew about Turning Point, a shelter for battered women and families. Students decided to help two of these families this year.

“They like to see the kids open the presents, but since the identities of those who are being helped by Turning Point are kept confidential, they knew theywouldn’t be able to see them open the presents this year,” Kowalo said.

This year’s holiday giving effort took about a month to organize. Students purchased the gifts with their own money, choosing gifts for the families from a wish list provided by Turning Point. The list had the sex, ages, clothes sizes and various other needs of the family members. The students did the rest.

“Some students brought one gifts, while others brought gifts for every member of the entire family,” Kowalo said. “They’ve got the biggest hearts of any kids I know. There were some students who even bought gifts for every person in both families, and I’m talking outfits; pants and shirts. And some brought only one item. They give what they can, but they all give.”

Kowalo said what makes this effort even more special is that most of these students are seniors who have little time for anything other than studies and preparing for college. “Most of them are getting ready to go to college and the fact that they’re taking time to give back to the community says a lot about their character,” she said.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Dec 19, 2011 by Cheryl Edwards

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