Tis the Season to Volunteer and Spread Holiday Cheer


This year, Miramonte Public speakers collected cans to donate to people in need for their annual winter volunteer project.

Maya Sherne and Youngjoo Ahn, Staff Writers

The holidays seem like the perfect time to indulge oneself with Christmas music, bright lights and gifts. However, the holidays can also be a time for volunteering and helping others, and some Miramonte students experience the joy of giving back to the community during the holiday season.

Miramonte students find a variety of ways to give back. One way students can help less fortunate children is by donating gifts to Toys for Tots. Toys for Tots is a national organization that has been providing Christmas gifts for children since 1947. At Miramonte, this program is school-wide and toys were collected from each fourth period class.

“I think it is the spirit of the season,” senior Derek Lin said.  “December is a time of happiness, the atmosphere is happy and it’s a time of giving.”

“Donating makes me feel warm and tingly,” senior Nathan Danziger said. “It’s the whole spirit of the holidays to give gifts.”

Leadership has been in charge of this program for years. In the spirit of friendly competition, the class that collected the largest amount of toys received a prize. “Toys for Tots is a great way to share with children and outreach to the community,” Associate Principal Jan Carlson said.

Classes are also finding other ways to give back to the community. It’s been a tradition for public speakers to organize a community service project before Winter break. This year, they are organizing a can food drive to benefit Contra Costa Food Bank.

This fundraiser lasts for two weeks and is a competition between each of the public speaking classes. Winners will receive a prize to be determined later.

“Two years ago, we started doing them every year,” Fundraising Coordinator junior Evan McAvenia said.

Key Club, a club that provides volunteer activities for high school students, has a busy volunteer schedule during the holidays. Students can volunteer by planting daffodils or sending out books and letters to prisoners. A favorite among students is Christmas carolling.

“There’s nothing like volunteering, helping, and giving to those who cannot always support themselves, especially since we live in a such a privileged neighborhood,” Key Club officer junior Julia Shen said.  “Volunteering during the holidays is a great way to experience the tough times that other people are going through. The most rewarding thing about volunteering is the appreciation of your presence and the feeling that you’ve made a difference in a community.”

Many students that otherwise don’t have time to volunteer find the winter holidays a great time to help out. “I signed up for Key Club so that I would have more motivation to help the community despite my busy schedule. I realized that volunteering is a great way to give back to the community while still having fun with friends,” junior Nikki Kyllonen said.

“Volunteering is definitely a rewarding way to spend the holidays,” Kyllonen said.