Students turn to Sharing Tree

Published 7:41 am Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Austin High School students James Kestner and Liz Rech check various Lego sets Tuesday afternoon at Target. Austin students were buying toys for kids who put wish lists on the Salvation Army's Sharing Tree. - Eric Johnson/

The students of Austin High School are giving back to 60 kids in the community this year. Over the past month, AHS Connects and other groups have raised money to help 60 children on the Sharing Tree at the Salvation Army of Austin have some happy holidays.

“We want to have all those angels off those trees.” said Kirsten Lindbloom, the adviser to CORE, the philanthropic high school student group that came up with the idea. “By doing it publicly, (students) want to challenge the community to ensure that all of the area kids have a great Christmas.”

About 60 high school students went shopping at Target Tuesday afternoon to purchase gifts and necessities for the kids the school had taken on. Lindbloom said the school adopted kids who were four to 10 years old.

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Students spent about $2,000 on gifts, ranging from Nerf guns to Barbie dolls to Batman and Spiderman action figures to board games like Apples to Apples. They also bought clothes, such as boots, pajamas and other necessities for the children. It seems each Connect was able to sponsor at least one child.

Matt Tylutki and Ethan Johnson, both freshmen, went shopping for some princess stuff for a six-year-old girl on behalf of their Connect.

“I think that every kid is entitled to having an opportunity to get Christmas presents on Christmas,” Tylutki said.

Johnson agrees.

“There are a lot of kids in the area that don’t have some of the opportunities that a lot of us have,” Johnson said. “To celebrate Christmas the way we can. I think it’s important for us to try and help them.”

All of the gifts will be sorted by the Connects and other student groups, to make sure every child receives a balanced amount of gifts. AHS students will then drop the gifts off to the Sharing Tree at Oak Park Mall, at which point all of the gifts will be distributed to the children.

“It’s really good to help others,” said Nyachang Monykuany, an AHS sophomore.