Staff Committee “Adopts” Two Local Families, Donates Christmas Gifts
Staff from the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business made the holidays a bit brighter for two local families, celebrating the season and distributing donated toys, household items, food and gift cards during a special reception in Melcher Hall on Dec. 22.
The event was organized by the college’s Morale and Training Committee, a group comprised of staff from Bauer College that plan activities designed to promote a positive work environment.
“Throughout the year, we identify different ways to bring all of the employees at Bauer College together, whether it’s offering programming that will teach them something, like the handyman training we held recently, or giving them the chance to show off their creative talents in an art competition,” said educational technology specialist Dawn Shaw.
A survey of staff interests conducted by the Morale and Training Committee showed that community service ranked high on the list of activities staff wanted to do as a team.
“During the holiday season, we knew we wanted to give staff an outlet for community service, and the committee came up with the idea to sponsor two Houston families who are going through rough patches this year,” Shaw said.
The families included a single mother of three children and a couple with six children, all having trouble finding work. Members of the committee asked both families for a “wish list” for the holidays and learned that the children had asked Santa Claus for items that many of their friends and classmates will likely find under their trees – bicycles, clothing, computers and video games.
But layoffs and a tumultuous economy meant that these families wouldn’t be able to provide those gifts to their children. That’s where Bauer staff stepped in.
“This year, times are tight for so many people, but we knew that if we could provide just one family with a Christmas and the message that someone cares about them, it’s worth it,” said program coordinator Cathy Hutzell. “Here at Bauer, we understand the importance of family and wanted to adopt these two families as our own.”
Staff gathered in the AIM Center lobby during the reception to surprise the families with the gifts, which included every item on the children’s lists along with a box of food for a holiday dinner and gift cards for household items.
“Seeing the looks on the families’ faces and knowing that our staff came together as a family to bring Christmas to them was the best gift of all,” Shaw said.
The committee plans to find more ways to volunteer locally in the new year, she added, and is welcoming new members. For more information, contact Shaw at 713-743-4941 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jessica Navarro