Dec. 15, 2010

Enough cheer to fill the room

Kay Fly with family gifts

Contributions from members of the Geneseo college community for the 13th annual Adopt a Family for the Holidays program filled two rooms. More than two dozens families will be helped this season, including teenage moms and moms-to-be. Kay Fly, coordinator for student volunteering and service-learning, poses with some of the gifts. /PHOTO BY BRIAN BENNETT


The new teenage moms and mothers-to-be who participate in the Teenage Services Act services could often use extra support. This time of year, that also comes from holiday help and supplies they can use all year through the annual Adopt a Family for the Holidays program.

This year, the college community is assisting 28 families in the Livingston County area, in conjunction with Catholic Charities and the Teenage Services Act (TASA). TASA specifically assists pregnant teens and new teen mothers in Livingston County.

It is the 13th year that Geneseo student groups, departments and individuals have filled entire rooms with gifts. Seventeen student groups, from sports teams to Greek organizations, participated. Students also donated extra baby bottles and other everyday items to TASA for future use.

"It just keeps growing," says Kay Fly, coordinator for student volunteering and service-learning in the Center for Community. "Every year, it gets bigger and bigger."

Fly publicizes the opportunity to assist families in need, but doesn't need to. Right after Thanksgiving, students and faculty and staff start inquiring about this year's drive, says Fly.
Prior to coming to Geneseo 11 years ago, Fly worked for TASA. She says she knows how happy the gifts make the girls feel and how important the contributions are.

"I know what an impact this project makes," says Fly.

Wendi Kinney, coordinator of Greek affairs and off-campus housing, has participated for four years. As a staff member in the Center for Community, that department adopts a family. Kinney and her family and in-laws also chose to assist a new mom through Adopt a Family instead of exchanging gifts.

"We had a lot of fun purchasing gifts for a little one and making sure she had the essentials," says Kinney. "We're trying to get her off on a good start."

Theresa Boyle '13 also adopted a family this year. She says her family struggled a lot when she was younger and benefited from Adopt a Family. Now that she is able, she wanted to give back.

"People are interdependent and you never know whether you might be on the giving end or the receiving end," she says. "but we all have a responsibility to one another."