TJ’s DECA program lights up the holidays by spreading cheer to TJ families
Adopt a Family, a longstanding TJ tradition, has been celebrated schoolwide for the past fifteen years. It began when DECA teacher Matt Nicolo requested for the program to be set in motion in 2002, as he has participated in Adopt-a-Family since he was a boy. “I have been doing [Adopt-a-Family] for my entire life,” said Nicolo. “It was something me and my family always believed in.” The families submit what gifts they want and DECA collects donations and shops for the requested gifts. “We want to make sure that every family in the program has at least a food basket and presents for the parents and siblings of the household,” explained Nicolo. “We just want to make sure everybody has a good holiday.” DECA officer Mia Grijalva also feels passionate about Adopt-a-Family. “It’s just a good feeling to be able to be able to help them and do the right thing,” Grijalva stated. She also mentioned the importance of showing these families there are people who care. When asked what she believes the most important part of Adopt-a-Family is, “The gifts of course,” Grijalva said. “Then just the idea there are people in your community who care,” she continued.
During this event, DECA gives back to TJ’s families by raising $4,000 and feeding 12 families. Samanda Davis, TJ’s social worker, helps DECA by collecting the names of families and organizing their wishlists. Groups from around TJ have also pitched in, such as the TJ Journal staff. These groups donate gifts to help out Adopt a Family.
Not only is this advantageous for the families, but DECA students can receive community service hours by shopping for and delivering food and gifts. DECA is helping spread holiday cheer by donating gifts and food to a grateful TJ community.