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Beline Obeid

North, South team up for Adopt-a-Family

Jack Rieth, a student at Grosse Pointe North High School, organizes the presents in preparation for their Adopt-a-Family deliveries. photo by Renee Landuyt.

January 02, 2014
Grosse Pointe South High School's student association teamed with its city neighbors to the north last month for the Grosse Pointe North student association's Adopt-a-Family program. It's South's first time participating in the program's nearly 30-year history.

"The program has been growing at North, so they reached out to us and invited us to join in with them," said Laura Distelrath, South's SA advisor. "Since it is a community-wide event, I think it is wonderful for both of the schools to be involved."

With both schools involved, the 60-plus Grosse Pointe-area families adopted this year for Christmas — which equated to about 150 children served — were divided between North and South.

Only homerooms at each school adopted families to avoid burdening students involved in multiple school groups or organizations.

More than 40 classes at South participated.

"It was energizing to hear (students') excitement as they talked about the gifts they got to pick out for their family and the experiences they had while delivering," Distelrath said. "The staff also played an integral part in helping the students bring everything together and sharing their own joy in giving and helping others in our community."

Gifts were a mix of canned goods, gift certificates, sheets and blankets, winter coats, basketballs, toys, household items and other essentials for the families and children.

Each school's homerooms raised money to pay for gifts for their adopted families.

North SA advisor Jonathan Byrne said students typically spend a couple hundred dollars per family, and the student association contributes a $50 Kroger gift card as well, paid for using association funds.

"The (program) response is usually overwhelming, both for the families that are adopted and the students who provide the gifts," Byrne said. "It is a really important event to show the community how much we care for one another."

Distelrath agreed, saying her students were energized and excited about their involvement in the program.

"My student association students were really excited when I brought the idea of getting involved up to them, and I have heard nothing but positive feedback from the students as they have gone through the process," she said. "Hearing students speak about their deliveries showed how rewarding and enlightening their experience was."

Delivery was Dec. 19.

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