Holland College Blog

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The final post of 2009…Season’s Greetings to Everyone!

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This will be the last post for 2009, as we break for Christmas today. We’re very fortunate because we get the entire Christmas break off rather than having to divide our time between family and work for those few days in between Christmas and New Year’s.

There’s a strong sense of family at the college. Many of the staff have worked here for years, and quite a few are alumni of the college. There are also a fair number of people working on staff who are related to each other and students and alumni (we are on an island, after all!).

How we feel about the importance of family is evidenced by the way the college community supports less fortunate families at Christmas. I asked staff at all of our centres to send me a summary of what they have focused their fund raising efforts on this Christmas season and, regardless of the size of the centre, all of them have given generously to people in their communities. Here’s a summary of what Holland College staff and students have put their efforts toward this Christmas season.

A quick tally suggests that staff and students have raised or donated well over $7,000 in cash, groceries, and gifts. I had intended to list the centres and their charitable activities in the weeks leading up to Christmas, but it would be far too long. Each centre had its own fund raising activities, while others were college-wide.  Some centres sponsored a family in need for Christmas, checking off items on the family’s wish list and frequently adding extras for the parents, as the lists most frequently focus on toy and clothing for the children. Most centres also donated turkeys to the turkey drive, and many staff and students donated their time to worthy causes.

While all of the staff’s and students’ efforts are appreciated, of particular note are the Marketing and Advertising students at the Tourism and Culinary Centre, who participated in fund raising activities for organizations such as Breakfast for Learning, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Children’s Wish Foundation, the Cancer Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Operation Christmas Child.

The Charlottetown Centre, Montgomery Hall and Tourism and Culinary Centre students and staff contributed enough to sponsor not only the mother and three children they had originally committed to, but to help out two additional families.

From Casual Day Money collected during the months of June, July, August and December, a $200 grocery gift card was given to a second family and a $500 donation was made to the St. Vincent De Paul Society to help out a third.

Confidentiality prevents giving details about the first family Charlottetown staff and students sponsored. Suffice to say that although the family was in need of many items, the mother provided only a modest list of requests all of which were items for her children. Staff and students answered the call with their usual enthusiasm. When I asked for more information, Madonna Gallant, Facilities Coordinator for the college and one of our most active volunteers, wrote this:
“So many came forward to help out.  We had staff come forward and offer to shop for the kids, wrap the parcels, sell the BINGO cards, collect boxes, we had luggers and lifters.  The student union pitched in and looked after mom’s stocking, individual staff members as well as programs collectively got together to look after one or more of the children’s wishes.  It’s an amazing process.
“Each child received new snow suits, boots, hats and mittens which they were in need of. They received new clothes and the toys they so desperately hoped Santa would bring. Mom received new uniforms for work and a Christmas stocking that would make Mrs. Claus envious. This was a very deserving family and thanks to the generosity of our staff and students, they received a very special Christmas.”

There are also many Holland College employees and students who volunteer outside of the college. Gregory Gairns and Ryan MacPhee, coaches of the Holland Hurricanes women’s hockey team, participated in a unique fund raiser with the other three members of the their triathalon training team, Tdisc. Greg, who is one of our Student Services and Athletics Officer, sent this information:

“On December 12th, all five members of Tdisc, a triathlon training team comprised of Holland College staff, participated in the Ole Charlottetown 5k Christmas Run. Each member was dressed in full Santa Claus costume, beard and all. Tdisc sought pledges and donations to go toward gift packages for local families. The five guys, Ryan MacPhee, Kris MacPhee, Josh Patterson, John Brioux, and myself raised $3,500 dollars for families in need. With the help of Birchwood School, they identified ten families in need and delivered a package of gift cards to help make their Christmas better.”

In this, the final blog entry of 2009, thanks go out to all Holland College students and staff for their wonderful contributions to their communities not only at Christmas, but throughout the year.

Special thanks to Madonna Gallant, Greg Gairns, Kathie Coffin Sulis, Elaine Black, Kim Gallant, Gary Torraville, and Lisa Finkle for providing me with information. 


Written by Sara Underwood

December 23, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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