Kirkland Eighth-graders Share True Spirit of Giving

March 01, 2008 | Leif Andersen

At Christmas, Kirkland School eighth-graders planned to have a gift exchange with their fellow classmates, sharing gifts valued up to $25. However, two eighth-graders considered putting the money they would be spending on their gifts toward a worthy cause instead. Sasha Swensen and Natalie Dorland considered a few different charities, and finally picked Angel Tree foundation. Angel Tree is a prison ministry helping give the children of prisoners two gifts for Christmas. One is a needed item (like clothing) and the other is something the child has been wanting. For every $14 donated, another child is given more hope and joy, and a better Christmas season.

Swensen and Dorland talked with their teacher, Mr. Leif Andersen, and then decided to bring their proposal to their classmates. Would they be willing to give up half the expense of the gift they would be receiving to help a child less fortunate? The response was a unanimous “Yes!” The funds began pouring in. In about one week’s time, the eighth-grade class raised $180 for Angel Tree.

Then another opportunity came. The school faculty decided to allow the eighth-graders to have the offering at the Christmas music program go toward Angel Tree. Swensen and Dorland took their proposal to more than 300 parents and friends at the annual Christmas program and the response was overwhelming, raising an additional $920 to support their selected charity. In one week more than $1,100 was given to this charity.

"Isn’t it amazing what our youth can do when they set their minds on God and rely on Him? I am proud to be a part of Adventist education. Watching students put their Christianity into action is my goal," says Andersen.