Not every kid in Isla Vista leaves town for the holidays. Not every kid wakes up to a pile of presents under a Christmas tree. Not every kid gets what they want most of all.
“One year, I started to cry,” Isla Vista Elementary School kindergarten teacher Lorena Chavez said. “One little girl [drew] a picture of a Christmas tree for her family, nothing for herself.
“She just wanted her family to have a Christmas tree.”
A few weeks ago, Chavez’s students again started drawing pictures of what they want for the holidays. The pictures will be matched up with donations to an on-campus gift drive. The drive’s organizer, the Community Affairs Board (C.A.B.), is looking for presents and help from UCSB’s students, staff and faculty.
C.A.B. has placed gift collection bins around campus at the Information Desk in the UCen, the C.A.B. Office at Room 2523 in the UCen, and in front of Cheadle Hall. Gift drive organizers said they prefer unopened gifts, but will accept used gifts in good condition.
“We’re hoping to get gift certificates, art supplies, sweatshirts and sweatpants, games, books, videos, Legos, stuffed animals and sports equipment,” said James To, associate director for community affairs for Associated Students.
C.A.B. will be collecting gifts until the end of finals week.
The gifts will be given to I.V. Elementary School kindergartners.
“The kindergartners always appreciate the toys,” Chavez said, “and it’s good to have an extra tie to the college campus.”
Someone in a Santa suit – presumably of the large and jolly persuasion – and his helpers will distribute the toys Dec. 12 during an in-class holiday party, refreshments for which are being provided by the Professional Women’s Association.
Another opportunity for volunteers to offer their time would be at the holiday celebration, Dec. 6 from 3 to 6 p.m. The event will be held by the I.V. Youth Project, the I.V. Academy After-School Program and C.A.B., and will involve games, arts and crafts, cookie decorating and snacks.
“We’re going to have the kids make picture frames and take Polaroids of them making the frame so they can give it to their parents,” Volunteer Chair Katie Joaquin said.
Organizers anticipate a large turnout for the event and hope to enlist more volunteers in the coming weeks.
“We can always use more volunteers,” Holiday Celebration Chair Kristen Reed said. “We have over 100 kids in the program that will attend the party.”
C.A.B. is also working with other organizations to offer caroling, celebrations and gift-wrapping nights.
Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital, New Directions and C.A.B. will host caroling Dec. 4 from noon to 1 p.m. and a gift-wrapping party Dec. 12 from 7 to 9 p.m.
“Christmas is a good opportunity to make students aware of families in Isla Vista and to bring Isla Vista some holiday cheer,” C.A.B. Chair Nicole Gonzalezsaid.
Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Katie Joaquin of C.A.B. at 893-4296.