The Eastern Michigan University Residence Hall Association is currently hosting Winter Wishlist, a program where students give back to students. EMU students are given the opportunity to donate gifts to elementary school students enrolled at New Beginnings Academy in Ypsilanti.
Rather than a charity, Winter Wishlist is a way for one generation to give to another. The children are given permission slips, to be signed by their parents, in order to participate. They then create wishlists with three items they would like for Christmas.
Participating students are assigned at least one child and spend $20 or less to provide them with one gift on their list. The first year, 96 children participated in the program and 121 in the second. This year, the program includes the entire school, with participation of 178 kids from preschool to sixth grade.
The program’s creator, EMU RHA’s Director of Human Awareness Anton Koyton, anticipated the growth of the program. Koyton started the program in 2010 while serving as an E-board member of the Village Advisory Council.
Residents at The Village were responsible for the first year’s gifting. The second year, the program expanded to participation from every residence hall. This year, the entire campus is free to donate to these students.
Koyton has been fortunate enough to see the program’s positive effects.
“The students love it so much they each wrote thank you letters,” he said.
A senior this year, Koyton is hoping to leave his program in responsible hands.
“In 10 years I’d like to come back and still see Winter Wishlist,” Koyton said.
As of press date, EMU students can still donate gifts. Those interested in participating can contact members of their hall’s leadership advisory board. Sign-up sheets for the program can be found at each hall’s front desk.
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