Little Broncs' faces, as well as those of their parents, will be smiling this holiday season, thanks to givers' generosity to the Adopt-An-Angel program at The University of Texas-Pan American.
The goal of the program is to provide presents to UTPA students who have children and receive need-based financial aid. Gift wishes are adopted by donors to ease some of the burden on student parents who balance academics and home life.
"This is one of the University's ways to show support for the students who are balancing a number of commitments such as family, school and work," said Rebecca Gadson, assistant dean of students for The Office of Student Involvement. "It's one thing UTPA can do to support our students who have children as they work to balance those multiple commitments."
According to Gadson, this year has the largest group, with more than 250 children who will be positively affected through the program. More than 120 enrolled students decided to participate out of 2,100 students who were eligible.
"We've doubled in size this year in terms of how many young people we'll be able to serve," she said. The Adopt-An-Angel program has come quite a ways since its inception 18 years ago.
"The program was originally conceived by the Student Government Association," Gadson said. "It eventually became a departmentally sponsored event to keep its continuation."
Friday, Nov. 30 is the last day to exchange a parking ticket by donating a toy item for the program with the UTPA police department.
"The University police department, for the past several years, has been a big supporter of the Adopt-An-Angel program by allowing students to exchange a parking ticket with a toy valued at $15. We have received over 85 toys thus far from the police department where people have taken advantage of that opportunity and we encourage students to do so still up until the deadline," Gadson said.
The deadline for gift adoptions and to turn in unwrapped gifts is Dec. 3.
Applicants are invited to participate at a celebration scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 8 from 2-4:30 p.m. at the UTPA Wellness and Recreational Sports Center. Participants can bring their children and spouse or partner. Santa Claus will make an appearance and handing out gifts to student participants and their children.
Gadson states she is pleased and excited with the support of all involved in making Adopt-An-Angel a success.
"People always feel good when participating in service, especially with this program, this time of the year. There is great joy in making a difference in our communities for the people we serve. We can do so much to make a significant impact right here on campus at UTPA," she said.
For those interested in adopting an angel from the Angel Tree, the tree is located on the second floor of the University Center.
To contribute a monetary donation, adopt gift wishes or receive more information or special accommodations, contact The Office for Student Involvement at (956) 665-2660.