Teens Make Sure Peers Have Present for the Holidays

By: Jordan Shefte Email
By: Jordan Shefte Email

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Each year, as part of Operation Holiday, Inter-Faith Ministries collects thousands of toys for children in the local area.
But in the collection process, often times teens are forgotten about.
Evan Olson is a sophomore at Independent Upper School, and when he heard of this problem, he took the initiative and turned to his peers for help.

Each year, Inter-Faith Ministries holds their toy drive, but the organization noticed that one group of kids was being left out of the holiday cheer.

"The age group of 15-17, none of the programs in town were able to provide gifts for them," said Director of Operation Holiday Laveta Noble. "You know it's a hard age to buy for, the gifts are expensive and you just don't know what to do. So as a committee we decided to figure out a way to be able to meet that need this year."

The solution is a program called Teen to Teen, where local high-school age students are called on to help out their peers.

"Who's better to buy a teenager stuff than a teenager," Noble said.

The idea of not having presents to open on Christmas morning struck a chord for Independent sophomore Evan Olson.

"I mean it's just really nice to wake up and get something, and when you don't get something it it hurts," Olson said.

And when he found out that local area teens were being forgotten, he took the matter into his own hands.
He brought the Teen to Teen program to his school, and is asking his fellow students to donate presents they would enjoy receiving.

"I think they kind of forget about them because they don't see it as as much of a big deal because when you're a little kid it's really Christmas and all of it's real important," Olson said. "I think sometimes people just think that it's not as important to teenagers so they don't really try as hard."

Presents such as dvd's, cd's, personal hygiene items, and restaurant and movie gift cards are suggested, but really any donation will help a local teen have an item to open this holiday.

"I'm just hoping that I can help others to get what they need," Olson said.

The collection at Independent Upper School ends today.
A student at Campus High School brought the same program to her campus.
Inter-Faith Ministries has just under 650 people registered in the teen age group this year.

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