SERVE, DU adopts families for Christmas

By: Dana Bitto

December 5, 2012

It is the time of year when both thanks and gifts are given. Here at Dominican, there is a long-running tradition called the Adopt-a-Kid program, run by the campus club SERVE.

“This program has been around for over 20 years at our university and always continues to gain new recognition each time it is ran,” said SERVE president Jamie Mussen.

Through the program, students, faculty and staff can “adopt” children from low-income families who otherwise would not receive Christmas gifts. They purchase one practical gift and one fun gift for the child and volunteers distribute the gifts to various organizations throughout the Chicago area.

“Dominican usually receives foster care, family shelters, prison ministries, community outreach, and low income daycares,” said Karla Bayas, head of the student club SERVE.

Dominican’s goal is to “adopt” 300 children every year. Children who receive the gifts range in age from infants all the way up to 17-year-olds.

The Adopt-a-Kid organization also serves others such as seniors, teenage mothers, the physically impaired, abused women and Native Americans.

University Minister Matthew Palkert added that, “Athletic teams, like men’s basketball, have participated in the difficult task of sorting the thousands of gifts that are collected through the wider Adopt-a-Kid program.”

The children receiving the gifts are not the only ones to feel joy from the experience. Volunteers who sit at the registration tables and organize and wrap the gifts feel rewarded by the process as well.

Senior Jenna Ramiro said, “This is my fourth year volunteering for Adopt-a-Kid by getting people to sign up. It is a fun experience seeing people do something for the children for the upcoming holidays.”

This year, SERVE reached their goal of “adopting” 300 children, resulting in over a total of 600 gifts.

SERVE workers and other volunteers began gift collection in the Underground on Monday, Dec. 3 and continue until Wednesday, Dec. 5.

Because of its consistent success and generosity to others in the DU community, there is no doubt that the Adopt-a-Kid program will continue to be a tradition at Dominican for years to come.

For more information about SERVE or Adopt-a-Kid, contact