by Hannah Langley ’21
With the Christmas season upon us, the season of giving has begun, and the Dirigo Leadership Honors Society is promoting this Christmas spirit by hosting their seventh Annual Santa Shop program on Dec. 6.
This program is an initiative to benefit the families of the San Miguel School, an all-boys Catholic middle school in the Providence area. These boys, ranging from ages 10 to 13, come from predominantly Latino, low income families, where most parents cannot afford to buy their children presents for Christmas. For this reason, the members of the Dirigo Leadership Society and the Providence College community decided to give back by creating a toy drive.
For seven years now, PC students have contributed to the Santa Shop by donating new Christmas gifts for the boys. The Santa Shop is especially unique from other toy drives, as the Dirigo Leadership Society sets up a “toy store” on the PC campus with all the newly donated presents, allowing the parents to shop around with their sons for Christmas gifts.
Shannon Grady ’18, a member of the honor society, said that she loves this aspect of the drive, commenting, “Rather than just being given toys as a donation, the parents get the full experience of shopping for their sons for Christmas and picking out what they think their sons will like best.” Kevin O’Neill ’18, another member, noted that he loves the Santa Shop, not only “because it gives kids the opportunity to have a really exciting Christmas,” but also because it reminds the PC community that “Christmas is more than gifts [and], especially at a young age, this toy drive really does impact them.”
The drive is one of the largest events the Dirigo Leadership Honor Society takes on during the year, making it a tremendous amount of work for all those involved. Not only do the students from the society coordinate multiple fundraisers, but they also have to organize the entire event from logistics to marketing to outreach.
Delina Auciello ’18 stated that being a leader for such an important and large event takes a lot of hard work from everyone involved, especially since the members of the Dirigo Leadership Honor Society are involved in many other campus events.
She said, “I am so lucky to be in a group of such dynamic and hard-working leaders. We could not do this without each other.” Auciello stressed, however, that it is not just up to the leaders; it is the PC community that helps make it happen through their donations.
Collections for the drive will be taking place several days in the next week before winter break. The members of the Dirigo Society request that students take some time out of their day to go down the street to buy new gifts for the boys, including toys, games, sporting equipment, books, DVDs, gift cards, winter hats and gloves, or cash donations that the society will use to buy these items. For anyone who missed the bake sale and donation table in the Slavin atrium this week, the Dirigo Society will also be taking donations at the tree lighting on Slavin Lawn on Dec. 4.
Donations can also be dropped off in the Center for Orientation, Transitions & Leadership, which can be found in Slavin 106, until Dec. 4.
The Santa Shop, co-sponsored by children’s outreach and the English as a Second Language club through Campus Ministry, will take place on Dec. 6 in the Campus Ministry Center at 5:30 p.m.
Those setting up and running the program are looking for student volunteers, especially those who can speak Spanish, to help out with assisting the families by helping the parents shop for their children and wrapping gifts. Any students who want to volunteer can reach out to anyone on the Dirigo Leadership Honor Society.