The Joy of Giving

Zakrey, a student in OCC’s College for Living program

It’s better to give than to receive during the holiday season. The actions of a kind-hearted student are proof of that.

Earlier this month OCC’s chapter of the American Association of Women in Community Colleges (AAWCC) collected cold-weather items for those at the Salvation Army Women’s Shelter in Syracuse. The generosity of the entire campus community resulted in a carload of warm pajamas, hats, mittens, socks and blankets for shelter residents.

The spirit of giving was exemplified by Zakrey, a student in OCC’s College for Living program which serves adult students with developmental disabilities. Part of the students’ program includes earning funds and then taking trips to area stores to help grow their independence, learn practical skills and interact with others in the community.

College for Living students prepared for a trip to shopping mall Destiny USA to buy gifts for their families and to possibly get something special for themselves. The effort included researching the stores in advance, picking out what they wanted to buy, and figuring out how much money they would have to spend on each item and at each store.

Upon returning from their shopping trip the students proudly displayed their purchases.  Zakrey gave his bag to Amy Mech, the Director of College for Living.  When Amy looked inside, she saw that the bag was stuffed with mittens, winter hats and warm socks.  Zakrey said to Amy, “For the ladies.” Zakrey had noticed a flyer on a bulletin board for the Salvation Army drive. Instead of using the money he had earned for himself, he bought gifts for the women at the shelter.

Thank you to Zakery for reminding us all of the true meaning of the holidays!