Hope in Huntsville

The Tree of Hope is an annual charity effort put on by the Department of Leadership Initiatives. To participate, one must choose an item or items from a child’s wish list (provided by the department) and bring it back to the Leadership Initiatives office in the Lowman Student Center. Those who wish to help have until Dec. 4 to get their contributions in.

“People can help out by stopping by LSC 328T to pick up an ornament with a wish list item on it,” Emily Snider, Department of Leadership Initiatives Program Specialist said. “The donation items will range from clothing items to toys of different types.  People are able to choose what they want to donate from the items on the tree as well as how many items they would like to take.”

All proceeds go to the Walker County Boys and Girls Club. Last year, more items were donated than were asked for, helping to expand the program and reach an even larger number of children than previously expected. Since SHSU first got involved in 2011, Leadership Initiatives have been able to double the number of children that will benefit from the Tree of Hope from ages five to ten.

At a University whose motto is “A measure if a life is its service,” charity drives have the potential to thrive. For faculty and staff who want to better serve their school’s motto around the holidays, the Tree of Hope is a surefire way to accomplish that.

“This is a service project that directly benefits a community that is tied to Sam Houston State University,” Snider said. “While we carry out the university’s motto in multiple places, this one hits home because it directly benefits the local community.”

Though she has a six-year history at SHSU, this is Snider’s first year to oversee the program. She is aided by student assistants such as Sarah Perez, who understand the gravity and potential of what is being done.

“The purpose is for students to get involved and donate gifts to kids who need them,” Perez said. “It’s basically a way to get Sam Houston involved in something that can create a better Christmas for kids who couldn’t have Christmas otherwise.”

The Tree of Hope is just one way to contribute and make a child’s holiday brighter. The Walker County Boys and Girls Club is always accepting donations, and there are usually volunteer opportunities available as well.

“We are excited to see what participation looks like this year,” Snider said. “We did really well last year as a campus, and we would like to keep the momentum going.”

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