Jane Ziolkowski, Contributing Writer
Despite the economic recession and the cost of tuition, students, faculty and staff banded together this holiday season to give Christmas presents to local children in need through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program. The Office of Student Activities and the Rotaract Club co-sponsored the program, selecting a total of 85 angels for adoption. The process was simple: In November, each participating student or staff member chose a paper tag listing his angel’s name, age and Christmas list from a Christmas tree in the Student Activities & Leadership Center. Each participant had two to three weeks to shop for everything on his angel’s list. This year, all of the angels were children ranging in age from 2 months to 13 years, and every single one was adopted by a UD student or staff member.
In the following interview, contributing writer Jane Ziolkowski speaks with senior Chandler Johnson about her experience adopting an angel this year and in years past:
JZ: What made you decide to adopt an angel this Christmas?
CJ: Well, I’ve been adopting an angel with my roommates or friends every fall I’ve been at UD, so three years (one year I was in Rome). The main reason I adopted an angel is for the tradition but also the community aspect of impacting someone’s Christmas in the Dallas area.
JZ: What has your adoption experience usually been like?
CJ: Every year I’ve done it, I’ve loved it! There are a wide variety of kids to choose from with a variety of gifts they’re looking for. Last year, when I had a little more money to spend, I was able to pick a boy who wanted a remote-control car. It’s really flexible to adjust to the needs of the kids.
JZ: Did you find it difficult to find time in your schedule to shop?
CJ: I’ve never found it difficult to go get presents for my angel. While you’re shopping, you can just imagine the impact you’re making on those who may not have a Christmas otherwise. I could just picture Lorenzo – with his new light-up shoes and dinosaur – enjoying his Christmas Day!
JZ: Would you participate in the program again? And would you recommend it to other students?
CJ: Though I won’t be a UD student next year, I will definitely participate through my church or the Angel Tree Foundation. My mom got me into this whole tradition when I was about eight years old, so I can’t even imagine a Christmas without it.