Teens Care and Share Together to Provide Christmas for Others

Christmas Spirit is the focus of local teens who helped to fund and carry out the 10th Annual “Kids Helping Kids Christmas Program” for area youth in foster care.

The program is a collaborative effort organized, and funded in part, by the ACT NOW Kids Helping Kids Committee of Roscommon County. The 3-event project to help Santa and Mrs. Claus shop, wrap, and deliver gifts to forty-nine children from Roscommon County, focuses on goodwill as it culminates with a Christmas Dinner and Program for the children and their foster care families.

A total of (forty-six) teenagers served together from Charlton Heston Academy, Houghton Lake Alternative Education, Houghton Lake High School and Roscommon High School, representing Houghton Lake Rotary Interact Club, Roscommon Rotary Interact Club, and the Roscommon County Community Foundation Youth Advisory Council to provide the helping hands for the Christmas Program.

Students volunteered one or more of the three evenings to assist with the shopping, wrapping, and dinner events that make up the annual program.

The shopping was held on Thursday, November 29th and the program was benefited by the caring staff and generous discount given at the Houghton Lake Walmart Store. The student volunteers met with the program coordinator Jamie Mead, Roscommon County Department of Human Health Services, and several adult chaperones to assist with the shopping event where they shopped for gifts purchased from monetary donations from the Houghton Lake and Roscommon Rotary and Rotary Interact Clubs.

The four clubs collectively donated $2,200.00 toward the shopping event this year.

On Sunday, December 2nd, the teens wrapped the gifts and filled the Christmas goody bags at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Roscommon, whose members donated the use of the church to benefit the program. The ACT NOW Kids Helping Kids Committee provided pizza and pop to the teens that evening, as they joyfully wrapped multiple presents purchased just days before.

The area teens helped out as elves, during the Saturday, December 8th, Christmas Event at Good Shepherd, where they served and partook in the turkey dinner (donated and prepared by the generosity of benefactors) and assisted as the children received their presents. The teens served the elaborate meal country-style bringing food dishes and beverages to each family’s table, serving as wait staff, and bussing the tables following the meal. Each student Elf carried presents to assist Santa and Mrs. Claus as they greeted and interacted with each child receiving gifts.

The Kids Helping Kids project has been a huge success during each of its ten charitable years. The student volunteers look forward to this event each year to provide joy to the children and their families and to work together to promote peace and goodwill.

Nearly three dozen area students assisted with the Kids Helping Kids Christmas dinner event at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church of Roscommon, representing the Houghton Lake Rotary Interact Club, the Roscommon Rotary Interact Club, and Roscommon County Community Foundation Youth Advisory Council. Pictured (left to right): Front row: Jessica Disney, Anna Erickson, Marissa Dugan, Lindsay Lewandowski and Peyton Church 2nd row: Ashley Patti, Cami LeRay, Raven Lewandowski, Raynee Thorton, Avery Smitz and Connor McNamara 3rd row: Karlee Erickson, Jake Hamp, Kaylyn Allen, Ashley DeSmith, Emily Johnson, Joel Edwards, Zoe Tomes, Angel Brethauer and Randee Gage Back row: Anthony Lindemeyer, Walter Suchin, Jennifer Tussey, Kelli Ignat, Sidney Shaloy, Trey Heliin, Josh Fairbanks, Guillermo Jimminent, Chase Plott, Joey Peterson, Kyle Barnes, and Jackson Thiel.