As Clayton State Director of Financial Aid Pat Barton puts it, “you have understand that Christmas is a major event in the Financial Aid Office! We are very close, and enjoy celebrating the holiday together.”
Prior to last year, Barton’s staff would draw names for a Secret Santa. Then, prior to the holiday break in 2013, one of the Financial Aid staff suggested that maybe the office might consider another way to celebrate, by getting something for the little girl she was sponsoring for Christmas.
“It was so much fun that year to watch her open things that she would then be able to give to that little girl,” recalls Barton. “Our office decided at that same party that we wanted to adopt a family for Christmas next year.”
Well, “next year” just came up, and the Financial Aid Office’s holiday party was indeed dedicated to adopting a family for Christmas. Instead of exchanging gifts with each other, they spent the time being with each other and wrapping presents for the family.
What family? Enter Dr. Christine Smith, director of the Clayton State Office of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
“Last year, Michelle Craig from Financial Aid asked me if CAPS was aware of a student who was struggling to provide a holiday for his/her family,” she says. “We identified a family, and the Financial Aid staff brought us a lot of presents, as well as a food gift certificate, for both the children and the parent.”
And Smith then delivered Financial Aid’s holiday support to the student’s family.
“It has been such a wonderful experience on so many levels!” says Barton. ”We know many of our students struggle, and Christmas can be a very hard time for those with small children. We feel very grateful for the opportunity to help a family.”
Taking part in the wrapping party were; Traci Gragg, Priscilla Foster, Cameron Gartrell, Mindy Filien, Melissa Belle, Amanda James, Michelle Craig, Charlene Brown, Tiffany Robbins, Ta-Mia McGruder, Kristy Riggs, Billy Evans, Sherry Barwick, Krystal Houston, Pat Barton, Jean Dady and Jean Philippe.