Pasadena, CA - Ella and Josh Gardner, 10 and 6, respectively, could easily spend all their allowances on candy, toys, and treats. Instead the two students at Campbell Hall, an Episcopal Day School in North Hollywood, saved 25 percent of their allowances all year long and used the money to buy holiday gifts for the children of Hillsides. They wound up with a total of $123, and spent it on a comforter and sheet set, Spiderman mega blocks, and a tennis racket and balls, among several other items.
"The kids were tempted to spend it all on themselves," said their mother, Valarie. "But they felt really good focusing on someone else."
The Gardners are just one of the families at Campbell Hall that participates in a yearly toy drive for Hillsides that is now in its 45th year. Each holiday season, the entire school, ages K – 12, donates gifts based on the wish lists of the Hillsides children.
"The support we receive from Campbell Hall is amazing, not only during this time of year but all year-round," said Laura Kelso, Hillsides director of community resources. "Students volunteer as tutors, the freshman class puts on a yearly service day, and the boys soccer and football teams put on training and sporting events for the children. Then, during the holidays, the school outdoes itself."
Campbell Hall isn't the only school that gives to Hillsides over the holidays. On December 13, Maranatha High School in Pasadena invited all the children living at Hillsides to a holiday show of music, singing, and dancing. Afterwards the kids enjoyed hot chocolate and tree-decorating. The Maranatha students also presented the children with gifts gathered from the high school's student mentoring groups. Also spreading holiday good will to the children was Pasadena's La Salle High School. On December 14, the school hosted the youngsters to a fun afternoon of lunch, games, and treats.
Many local businesses and organizations also contributed this year to making the holidays merry. Those who gave back to the children of Hillsides included Kaiser Permanente, Parsons Corporation in Pasadena, the Lonny Chapman Group Repertory Theatre in North Hollywood, the Royal Lyons Club of South Pasadena, and Panda Restaurant Group.
"It means so much to the children that local schools, businesses, and organizations reach out to them during the holidays," said Joseph M. Costa, Hillsides chief executive officer. "The children who live at Hillsides come from a variety of backgrounds, but one thing that unifies them is that they've all experienced a significant amount of trauma in their lives. They need a lot of nurturing, especially during the holidays, which is what these groups provide."
Hillsides is a premier provider dedicated to improving the overall well-being and functioning of vulnerable children, youth, and families. During the holidays, there are many opportunities to donate to the children who reside at Hillsides and also to the many families across Los Angeles that the agency serves. It is not too late to sponsor holiday outings for the children. To learn more, please visit https://hillsides.org/holiday-giving.
To learn more about Hillsides, please visit www.hillsides.org. Or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HillsidesChildren or on Twitter @Hillsides.