The holidays are just around the corner, and the Student Government Association and The Children’s Home Society of Florida have teamed up once again to ensure that it’s a great one.

The Children’s Home Society of Florida is one of the oldest private not-for-profit organizations in Florida. This organization provides services to children at risk of abuse, neglect or abandonment.

Their main goal is to help break the cycle of abuse and neglect and help find safe, loving homes for children. Each year the Student Body President’s Advisory Council organizes the philanthropy event.

SBPAC serves as a committee of freshman leaders, functioning as a primary recommending body for decision making.

Facilitating their transition into student government, they also partake in a mentorship program where they are paired with a member of the executive cabinet.

This year, their service event is titled Hope for the Holidays. The service project is an effort to bring the holiday spirit to underprivileged children and give them the opportunity to receive gifts for the holidays.

“I want as many people as possible to have an enjoyable holiday,” said Cephas Talbot, a sophomore accounting major and philanthropy chair of Hope for the Holidays.

Although he is very passionate about this service project he realizes he can’t do it alone.

“As UCF students who reside in Central Florida it is our responsibility to improve our community,” Talbot said. “Every kid deserves the chance to be a kid.”

SBPAC hopes that UCF will unite and bring happiness to children this holiday season. Last year, UCF collected more than $16,000 worth of toys, clothes, and toiletries.

“UCF was the largest contributor to Children’s Home Society of Florida for the 2009 holiday season,” said Amanda Chadwick, development specialist and volunteer coordinator of Children’s Home Society of Florida.

“There are over 1,000 kids in Osceola, Orange and Seminole county in foster homes or looking to be adopted.

The kids suffer from a wide range of issues ranging from abuse and neglect to parent’s being incarcerated.

“We hope to provide a couple of gifts per child,” she said.

SBPAC, Children’s Home Society of Florida, and other community sponsors are encouraging others to get involved as well.

Each UCF individual, organization or corporation will have the opportunity to sponsor a child. You can begin the process by stopping by the SGA office and adopting a “little angel” with a child’s name and wish list.

Gifts can be brought, unwrapped, to the SGA office on the second floor of the Student Union by December 3.

Valerie Greco, SBPAC advisor and sophomore health science pre-clinical major, participated in the philanthropy event last year as well, titled Quest for Smiles.

She thoroughly enjoyed her experience and wanted to inform people on how great it was, she said.

“The only thing that I can say to people who are thinking of ‘adopting an angel’ this year is that you are providing a child with the everyday things we take for granted,” Greco said. “It is not only the material things they are receiving, but it is also the hope that someone out there cares for them and knows they exist.”

Source: Central Florida Future, Giving hope for the holidays, by Joni Fletcher, contributing writer. Published: Sunday, November 7, 2010; Updated: Sunday, November 7, 2010 17:11