“Christmas is all about recognizing (and celebrating) God’s presence in the birth of Jesus Christ,” he said. “As a school community, we are challenged to recognize the ‘divine’ in each of the children that we serve and embrace the opportunity to bring the gifts of hope and joy to their world,” said Gary Meyerl ’82, Director of Outreach Ministry at Gibbons
Christmas came early for the children at Beginning and Beyond Child Development Center, thanks to Cardinal Gibbons High School.
After exams on Friday, December 15th, Gibbons students put on a special Christmas program for the children and their families that included singing, dancing, performing magic, and, of course, distributing presents. The program, a first for Gibbons, was a collaborative effort between members of Franciscan Youth International (FYI) and the National Honor Society (NHS).
Gibbons and the center, however, have a relationship forged over years. "Serving the needs of the children at Beginning & Beyond is not just something we do around the holidays," said Gary Meyerl '82, Director of Outreach Ministry at Gibbons. "We tutor, mentor, and engage with them on a weekly basis throughout the school year... We care deeply for the children and families we serve and are blessed that they have allowed us to become such an integral part of their community."
As part of our Outreach Program, Gibbons freshmen, every week during school, engage with children at one of three daycare centers, including Beginning and Beyond. And every week after school Gibbons students tutor the children at Beginning and Beyond. The Gibbons community also collected and donated toys and clothing for all the children at the center as part of the annual NHS Toy and Clothing Drive. This year Gibbons added the Christmas program.
Rosiland Sanders, the center's director, described it as a wonderful collaboration. "Our children see the Gibbons students as role models and mentors and the older students have the opportunity to share their skills and talents," she said, noting that the Christmas program, which drew 250 attendees, was an exciting new addition.
Gibbons students were excited about participating in the program, just ask Amanda Karazin '19. "After spending every Thursday afternoon with these kids, I was excited to see them have a happy Christmas," she said, adding that such outreach efforts also "remind us that there are people who are less fortunate than us and through helping them we can be selfless."
Meyerl said the Christmas message this event sends is one of hope and joy. "Christmas is all about recognizing (and celebrating) God's presence in the birth of Jesus Christ," he said. "As a school community, we are challenged to recognize the 'divine' in each of the children that we serve and embrace the opportunity to bring the gifts of hope and joy to their world."
Merry Christmas from the Cardinal Gibbons school community.