‘Santa’ is Everywhere!

 

While the ‘man in the red suit’ certainly adds to the excitement of the Christmas season, our community knows that bringing joy and being Santa to others can’t be left to him at this, or any time of the year. The reason for this season gives me hope, direction and purpose! I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas with loved ones this week.

Jenison High School students participated in some pretty outstanding events this month.  Keep reading to learn more about how the students have been busy spreading good cheer!

Thespian Santa Breakfast, November 24

What began 8 years ago as a way to offer a more intimate and affordable Santa experience, has turned into tradition for many local families. For about the price of a mall photo (without the fun of the usual long, boring line); a whole family is able to enjoy being served a pancake breakfast and a variety of other fun activities sponsored by Mr. Todd Avery and the Jenison High School Thespian Troupe.

The Thespian students do a great job taking their roles very seriously and maximizing the authenticity of the experience for their guests. They don their North Pole best, help serve breakfast and do face painting and crafts with the kids. This year, they added a fun story time; and last but not least, kids got a magical experience as they lingered during a relaxing visit with Santa (where he knew their names before they even approached him!) Photos courtesy of Larry Treece Photography.

18XM0127

46678720_2482314281785587_8973270215693434880_o18XM024218XM027518XM0375.jpg

Santa’s Woodshop, December 18 

When teacher, Dave Albert joined the Jenison Industrial Arts program this year, he brought with him a wonderful holiday tradition. As a class project, his woodshop students built wood rocking chair airplanes for selected families. It was a lovely evening with the talent of the Jenison National Art Honor Society students on display as well. They teamed up to with the woodshop students to paint details on the airplanes and helped transform Mr. Albert’s workshop into a winter wonderland! 

DuvKJ63WwAAyybF.jpg-large.jpegDuvGJToX4AYtRpr.jpg-large-e1545871706673.jpegDuvD4IKWwAALkyh.jpg-largeDuvGVlPW4AANEFF.jpg-large.jpeg

Santa’s Secret Shoppers, December 20

Long before the snow begins to fly, the elves known as the Jenison National Honors Society, get to work organizing a toy drive and arranging sponsors for families in the community. Often, teachers involve their students to become sponsors to adopt-a-family and complete gift wishlists. The high school students do the bulk of organizing for the event which includes facilitating the collection, organizing toys and shopping should there be cash donations. They arrange a pick up night for the families which also includes gift wrapping materials so they can proudly wrap the gifts! No matter the task, these students are committed to making sure these families have a very merry Christmas! This is the 15th year for this event and we’re so proud that over 90 kids were served by the generosity of our JPS community this year.

IMG_0843.jpg13560198a4b3930471f2816bf38dea15fca4110cIMG_0842.jpg13560203400585b68782c38662e8609a252d8ab713560209131f67715768e9e48a05dd5dab8dab42

 

Shop with a Sheriff

IMG_0226There was quite a scene near the entrance of the Jenison Meijer one week ago. Shoppers encountered emergency vehicles lighting the night sky with their flashers. No doubt, it caused a little confusion but once inside they would be met with a pleasant surprise. Members of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department and Georgetown Fire Department had responded to the call for a helping hand in a unique way: offering shopping guidance to fulfill Christmas wish lists for some Jenison families. Probably not part of their academy education, but they were up to the task!

IMG_5798-e1545281770314.jpg

IMG_0116

Starting the planning process shortly after school was back in session this fall; “Shop with a Sheriff” was organized by Ottawa County Deputy, Eric Smith. Deputy Smith reached out to Jenison Public Schools Parent Liaison, Mary Veldink and they got to work on a plan to ensure an enjoyable Christmas season for some families in the district. The 40 chosen students would have the chance to shop for family members with a little personal help from a friend.

The time and attention Deputy Smith put into making this happen can not be overlooked. He went so far as to personally match each student with a civil servant he thought they would be able to connect with and enjoy their time together. Creating some very meaningful touch points for the students. Meijer was also a very eager partner as they financially supported the shoppers with gift cards, wrapping paper and fueled everyone with treats and snacks.

IMG_003148398445_1950355971668430_9189677056344981504_o

Our local heroes weren’t the only ones playing Santa’s Helpers that night. Tucked away on the second story in Meijer, was a room filled with a small army of Pinewood Elementary volunteers. Whether they were teaching the kids how to wrap presents, sharing a treat or a joke; their hearts were filled by the genuine smiles on the students’ faces. Kids were beaming with pride and anxiously awaited bringing home the gifts they had chosen for their family. It is heartwarming to see our students focus on the joy of giving to those closest to them.

I continue to be overwhelmed by the ingenuity and heart of community friends like Deputy Smith. His vision for this night and Mary Veldink’s commitment to JPS Families is priceless. Thank you Ottawa County Sheriff and Georgetown Fire Departments, and Meijer for making this holiday season extra special! and Team Pinewood for making this a memorable Christmas for your students.

IMG_0225.jpgIMG_008448371345_1950356821668345_3957011888734208000_oIMG_5791IMG_5794.jpgIMG_5795