Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

Lending a helping hand for the holidays

by A.J. Hakim Staff Writer

January 03, 2013

Student Association advisor, Jonathan Byrne, knows it sounds cliché, but he and the other teachers, administrators and students involved in the Grosse Pointe North High School student organization’s annual Adopt-A-Family program can’t help feeling “warm and fuzzy inside.”

“You feel great when you get to drop those gifts off to the families and they show their appreciation,” said Byrne, in his first year as association advisor. “You know that you’re helping a child have a little happier holiday than they would have otherwise.”

On Thursday, Dec. 20, staff and students from nearly 40 groups and organizations at North participating in this year’s program, about a 10 percent increase from previous years, had that “warm and fuzzy” feeling while hand-delivering gifts to the 75 families adopted from around the Grosse Pointe community.

“There have been times we’ve reached out at charter schools in Detroit, but over the last few years the need has been so great in Grosse Pointe that we’ve just stayed here,” Byrne said of the program, which aims to help struggling families by providing extra support during the holidays. “We were stretched to the limit this year with 75 families.”

Each of the 75 families received fresh fruit and a Kroger gift card courtesy of the Student Association, as well as presents and other essentials from their adoptive groups to assure a happier holiday season. The Student Association contributed about $5,000 to the program, while most other groups spent an average of $300 to $400 per family, depending how much they raised or money was donated.

“We have some very generous families, too, that donated large sums of money to help out with Adopt-A-Family, just with the program in general, so that really helps out too,” Byrne said. “The program really went well, a great success.”

He added that students conducted most of the work, from raising money to shopping to wrapping and delivering gifts.

This year marked the program’s 26th at North. Former teacher and Student Association advisor of 26 years, Don Dungan, started the program in 1986.

“Since then, we’ve been doing it every year,” Bryne said.

“We will definitely be doing it for as long as I’m in charge of the Student Association.”