YSU Teams up with YWCA for Holiday Gift Drive

By Melissa Turosik

Youngstown State University teamed up with the Young Women’s Christian Association of Youngstown to help children in need receive gifts in time for the holiday season.

Becca Wolke, a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Activities at YSU, said YSU volunteered to take on 60 children and YWCA supplied them with a wish list of clothing sizes, shoes sizes and other necessities.

Wolke said she made ornaments out of the wish lists and placed them on a giving tree.

“People can come in and donate it to us, then we’ll take it over to YWCA,” Wolke said.

The giving tree table is in Kilcawley Center by the low arcade on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. until Dec. 11.

“They can stop by the Student Activities Office and put gifts out front. People can come at their convenience,” Wolke said. “If they have other gift ideas they want to get, they can wrap them up and bring them into the office before.”

Wolke said YSU students and faculty should participate because it is for a local cause.

She said any way a person can provide for a child, especially if they’re not expecting it, is a great way to give back and it is fulfilling community involvement.

Wolke said the children were given donations within the first three days of the drive and she said they had an amazing turnout.

Elise Skolnick, communications and rental coordinator at the YWCA, said the gift drive is for the kids in their housing program.

“For some of them, this will be the only gifts they receive, and we just want to make sure they’ll have a Merry Christmas,” Elise Skolnick said.

Elise Skolnick said they’re partnering up with several businesses this year.

“We have various nonprofit organizations and businesses as well as individuals who donate to this program. Some people do it every year, some have for years and others are new,” Elise Skolnick said.

Elise Skolnick said the Wish Upon a Start Gift Drive has taken place for 25 years and is successful every year.

“It’s truly amazing to see how generous people are and how much they want to give and help. Our gym will actually be full of gifts for these children,” Elise Skolnick said.

Logan Skolnick, president of the American Marketing Association at YSU, said this is their first year participating and they picked two children to shop for.

Logan Skolnick said they are going to be buying animal and dinosaur toys for an 11-year-old boy and a football for a nine-year-old boy.

She said philanthropy is a big part in the American Marketing Association.

“This year we’re just looking to get involved in the community and this is just another way to get involved and to help other people out,” she said.

Logan Skolnick said it feels nice to help a child out in need.

“It’s a special kind of help and they wouldn’t have a Christmas if it wasn’t for us, so it’s nice to be able to give them presents and help them still believe in Santa and just to bring them hope,” she said.