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Dec. 15, 2003
DH-03 TK 076
Contact: Thomas Knox
(310) 243-3367


California State University, Dominguez Hills
Spreads Holiday Cheer with Gifts for Children

CARSON, Calif. – Faculty, staff and students from California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) are spreading holiday cheer by donating gifts to children. Through the efforts of various University colleges and departments, the CSUDH family has been actively collecting assorted gifts and toys for distribution to needy South Bay area residents.

Local organizations including Parents of Watts, Young American National Awareness Campaign (Y.A.N.A.C.) and Angel Tree will receive the donated gifts on Dec.17 and 18 as CSUDH representatives travel throughout area communities to visit needy children who might otherwise have fewer presents to open this holiday season.

George Pardon, vice president of administration and finance, has spearheaded Angel Tree, a gift-giving program for children of incarcerated parents. “Angel Tree is a prison outreach program in which prisoners register their children to receive a gift on their behalf,” Pardon said. “When dad or mom is in prison, it’s the children who do hard time. The Angel Tree program provides us with an opportunity to let the children know they are not forgotten.” Under the program, university staff volunteer to buy an article of clothing or a toy for a specific child whose name is selected from a list assembled by Pardon’s office. Once the gifts are collected, Pardon and his staff distribute them.

Sandra Wilcox, professor of psychology, recently went to a local department store to purchase a gift for an Angel Tree recipient. When she explained the nature of her visit to the salesperson helping her, he replied, “I used to get gifts from them [Angel Tree] when I was a kid, and now that that things are better, we [the family] do it ourselves. It’s the right thing to do.” Pardon said 49 Carson-area children whose parents are incarcerated should receive presents through Angel Tree this year.

The Parents of Watts and Y.A.N.A.C. are local organizations that will also benefit from a collection of gifts on campus when the University holds its annual faculty and staff holiday party on Dec. 18. Boice Bowman, vice president for Student Affairs, is looking forward to an outpouring of gifts brought to the party to help local children. “We have the capacity and the desire to help those in need,” Bowman said. “This is our intention, to make individual and collective donations to our community members who have been hit hard by recent weather and economic bad times.” Bowman said the University has an obligation to help its neighbors who need a helping hand especially during the holiday season.

Community organizer, Alice Harris, also affectionately known as “Sweet Alice,” is a CSUDH alumna who helps in the distribution of these toys to needy children in Watts. “We consider it a blessing to have Cal State Dominguez Hills as a neighbor in our community,” Harris said. “The folks at Dominguez Hills really make you feel like somebody, that’s why everybody wants to go there.”

Following a campus toy drive last week, more than 120 infants and children from ages 14 months to 7 years from CSUDH’s Infant Toddler and Child Development centers received gifts. The children’s parents are staff and students. Academic Affairs’ Yvette Velarde said the toys brought a special glow to the eyes of each child who opened a surprise present. “During these difficult economic times and this holiday season, we wanted to support our students who typically work and raise a family while earning a degree here at Dominguez Hills. It was just a small way of showing that we care about them and their families as well,” Velarde said.

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California State University, Dominguez Hills • 1000 E. Victoria Street • Carson, California 90747 • (310) 243-3696
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Last updated Monday, December 15, 2003, 2:10 pm, by Stephanie Brown (sb)