Making Your “Holiday Dreams” Come True


Media by Zara Tola

‘Tis the season of giving at MHS. While many students look forward to receiving gifts this season, not every family at MHS has the financial means to get gifts for their students. This year, the MHS community has gathered together to make sure that everyone can at least have one “Holiday Dream” come true.

The Holiday Dreams program allows anyone in the MHS community to donate money or gift cards for students in need, so they can buy anything that they want  for the holidays.

Brenda Casey, social worker, started the Holiday Dreams program at MHS five years ago. Casey said she likes to start the program in October and end it by Thanksgiving break. 

After that, the card distribution begins. So far this year, the program has distributed 60 $100 gift cards to students in need.

“I sent an email out to all of the staff and all of the parents who are on the MHS Parents Association, and I asked them to forward it to any parents they may know, any community members, any churches, anybody just to forward it on,” Casey said. 

In the future, Casey said she hopes more student organizations will get involved. This year, the baseball team handed in a check for about $500, and in the past, STUCO has done candy gram sales to raise money for Holiday Dreams.

Shelly Justin, language arts teacher, got her students to raise money for Holiday Dreams by donating loose change, raising $300 in all her classes combined. 

Freshmen Grace Watters and Rishita Yenumula decided to take this project to their neighborhood and go around asking their neighbors to donate their change to the program. 

“People really need help during this time of year,” Yenumula said. “They need to be in the spirit, and it really helps them to get in the spirit.” 

By themselves, the girls raised $48 for students in need. Watterse was inclined to help because she loves to help others, which she often does through her church.

“I just kind of thought of the idea when she [Justin] said it was going to help so many people,” Watters said. “In the past, I’ve done a lot of food drives and soup kitchens.”

Lisa Nieder, Activities Office secretary, donated gift cards to the program. Nieder said while she loves giving back during the holidays, people tend to only focus on it at this time of the year. Nieder said people should make it a regular practice to give back to those who don’t have as much.

“Human kindness is something that we should all strive for; you never know when you’re going to have hard times,” Nieder said. “Kindness should happen year round, not just holidays. It’s the season of giving, so we think about it a little more, but we need to think about it all year long.”

Ashley Hobbs, social studies teacher, also gave to the Holiday Dreams Program. In addition to donating gift cards, Hobbs said teachers had the option of paying money to dress down for a week to help fund the Holiday Dreams program.

It is always important to give back when we are able,” Hobbs said. “There are many people who are not able to meet their basic needs and therefore at the holidays they may not get to celebrate with their families. In this program, we are able to donate gift cards so that people may choose if they want to spend it on meals or gifts.”

Hobbs said part of being a good person is caring about other people’s lives. If you feel you have enough in your life, Hobbs said you should consider donating to others who may not.

“Kids especially are born into situations they can’t control,” Hobbs said. “A kid should never have to worry about when or where they will have another meal. A child should never have to worry if they are going to have a place to live or sleep at night. A kid should never worry if they will have clothes that will fit or if their peers will notice if they wear the same outfit every day.   But kids every day have to worry about these very things.”