Holley event helps 141 students receive gifts
New Interact Club has focus on community service
Article and photos from Holley Central School
HOLLEY – In late November, Holley High School students volunteered to set up the Elementary Primary Gym for the Holley Days of Shopping event on Dec. 1-2.
The students worked with Social Worker Samantha Zelent to bring donated gift items to the Elementary School, sort them into categories and arrange them on tables, floors, shelves and the stage so that district families could shop for holiday presents.
The shopping event helped 53 families, including 141 children, receive gifts this year. Any remaining items went to the Community Center.
“A big thank you to those who donated their time, money and/or gifts to make this event so wonderful,” said Erica Bailey, Elementary School social worker and coordinator of Holley Days of Shopping. “All who attended were very appreciative of the opportunity. Several stated that without this support, their children would not be receiving gifts this year. I am proud to be part of a wonderful district that truly cares for its community.”
Many of the students who volunteered their time at the shopping event are part of the new Interact Club at Holley Middle School/High School (MS/HS). This group is sponsored by the Holley Rotary Club.
About 30 students in grades 7-12 have joined in its first year. Their focus is on volunteer work at both local and global levels. They have already volunteered at the Rotary Beefeater dinner, and shopped and wrapped presents for seven Holley children, using money provided by the Rotary Club.
They are assisting teachers at the Elementary School, and they will help with a spaghetti dinner in January to benefit a Holley family. They plan to volunteer at a soup kitchen soon and conduct a prom dress drive in the winter for the MS formal dance. They’re also planning a book drive in the spring, where books will be shipped to children in another country.
Rotary member John Heise is the Rotary Club liaison and Holley MS/HS Social Worker Samantha Zelent and Art Teacher Evinn Neadow are the staff advisors.
“Whatever volunteer work the students want to do or ideas they have to help, we make it happen,” said Zelent, who is Heise’s daughter and very familiar with Rotary Club efforts over the years. “This is a great opportunity for students to interact with the community, and it empowers them to help meet some of the needs they’ve identified in their environment that need support.”
Zelent has been excited to see so many students who want to participate in the Interact Club. She has also been happy to see the support from Holley alumni to provide donations for the Holley Days of Shopping and to sponsor about 30 students this holiday season.
“Former students who have graduated in the last five years have been contacting me asking how they can help,” said Zelent. “Many of them are still going to school or just getting started in their careers, but they still want to give back. Isn’t that fantastic? We live in such a caring community.”