The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Winter blows in charitable gifts for TCC

By James Nwankpah/ne news editor

Most winter lovers have already purchased every gift they plan to give to their loved ones come December 25. But not every family is fortunate enough to cross off every item on all their wish lists.

Just like most community college students, many TCC students juggle multiple things along with classes. Some work around college applications and tests, some work full-time jobs and an even less-discussed percentage have spouses and tiny mouths to feed at home.

Balancing school and providing for a family can be an extremely difficult and fiscally strenuous task. That’s where NE Campus’ Giving Tree comes in.

“You know, I tried to think of how long we’ve been doing this the other day, and I couldn’t come up with the date,” said natural sciences associate professor Deb Scheiwe.

The Giving Tree traditionally takes place during the Tuesday of final exams week, Dec. 9 this year, Scheiwe said. The faculty and staff have a luncheon in the Larry Darlage Center Corner and discuss the project. The gifts are all usually delivered to the president’s conference room by that morning, and the selected students can pick them up that afternoon, Scheiwe said.

The students selected to be a part of the Giving Tree are chosen by the financial aid office and then contacted to gather information about their children. Clothing sizes, wish lists and toys are some of the items that regularly populate the faculty’s shopping lists.

“When I was younger, I was in need of assistance and help,” administrative assistant Stacey Herrera said. “It makes me happy to help students and assist people needing help to provide for their families.”

Administrative assistant Callie Sprabary has been a part of the Giving Tree for the 10 years she’s been at TCC.

“It’s a TCC NE tradition, and it’s just something that we’ve done for as long as I can remember,” she said. “The faculty and staff and everyone that is asked to contribute, they’re always very responsive and like to help.”

It has come to feel like helping out their own family, Sprabary said.

“There is, however, a sense of anonymity,” she said. “The identity of the student is never revealed, and the department that donates remains anonymous as well.”

Scheiwe enjoys volunteering outside of the Giving Tree, but she has her own reasons for staying committed to this program.

“I know I had a pretty easy time of it with high school, getting into college and then graduate school then right into marriage,” she said. “Still, I feel I had a straightforward path in my education. And since I have come to TCC, I have been bowled over in amazement at the dedication of my students.”

Factors like this consistently leave Scheiwe, a mother of two college graduates, in admiration and a compelling desire to advocate helping NE students any way she can.

“For somebody that has two kids, there is nothing that is more heartbreaking than knowing that your kids need something and you can’t give it to them,” she said.

Preparations for this year’s Giving Tree are underway, and faculty are looking forward to providing for the largest group of students they’ve had the chance to serve: seven families with 16 children.

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