The holidays are just around the corner and many counselors head up some sort of holiday help program for families in need. I'm no different, my school sponsors a snowman tree (like an angel tree) for our holiday help program. It's quite a bit of work to plan and keep track of this but with some planning and help from others, it can be much easier to manage. Here's what I do:
-Send a letter to families that may be in need of assistance for the holidays (work with your student support team to identify families). On your letter be sure to ask for clothing sizes (shirt, pants & jacket size) and items that the child(ren) would like as gifts. It's up to you on what your price limit for the gifts will be. This year, we are asking parents to list clothing sizes, books that the child(ren) would like, and educational gifts (board games, school supplies) that the children may also need. It's up to you what direction you want to go with gifts. Also this year, we put in the letter that in order to receive holiday assistance that parents must have had a conference with their child's teacher (I do check with teachers to make sure that they do). If parents do not come for a conference their name(s) will not be put on the tree (I'm really sticking to this, school is a collaborate piece that requires parental involvement).
-As the letters are returned, I assign students a number for the snowman tree. I keep track of this info on a spreadsheet. I type in the student's name, sizes and gift item requests.
|Spreadsheet to keep track of info|
|Label filled out with gift info|
-I used 2 cards for each holiday request (Avery Postcards that are already perforated, $6 at Sam's Club). The 1st (top) card is the general information on what clothing sizes, books, board games to get with return information for the bought gifts (I used both sides of the card for this one). The 2nd (bottom) card is for parents who want to sponsor a child to fill out so that I can keep track of who has taken what number off the tree to get gifts for. Having this parent info allows me to know which gifts are "missing" so that I can send a friendly reminder call or email to bring in the gifts.
|Holiday request cards, the top card the parents keep for gift info, the bottom card comes back to me.|
-I hole punched the top of the card and tied red or green yarn in the hole. I used small safety pins to pin the cards (with the yarn) to the snowman tree.
|Cards hole punched with yarn and safety pins|
Here's the snowman tree:
My school is very fortunate to have so many parents to participate in purchasing gifts for our families who might need holiday assistance. To let the parents know about the snowman tree, I had the principal mention it in her weekly phone message (before the Thanksgiving break so parents could shop on Black Friday).This year, within 2 days nearly all of 45 tags were taken from the snowman tree! I'll be adding more gift card requests to the tree to keep it full.
What holiday help program(s) does your school do? I'd love to hear what others are doing at their schools. Pin It