7 December 2006

[teaching] Teenagers Christmas Gifts

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I received an email today from my favourite high school teacher (now the principle at St Francis Xavier College). A staff member there is organising movie tickets/giving tree etc for boys in the 12 – 16 year age bracket (apparently the most forgotten age group). What struck me is that a Catholic school is helping out a Uniting Church charity. A good sign for the season. Thought it was worth supporting and help spread the word. Enclosed is the email.

Have you ever felt as If YOU had missed out on something???? Or had a truly disappointing Special Occasion?? Do you remember it clearly?? Ever wanted to put something under a giving tree and found it harder than you thought it would be??? You wouldn’t be the first and you won’t be the last.
Read on and help me make Christmas Day one of Hope and Joy for a forgotten group.

Good Morning All,

I was wondering if you would please take a few minutes to read through the following information and consider if you – or someone you know – would feel able to help.

I am sure that you are aware that there are a multitude of Charities and churches gathering gifts for underprivileged children each year. What you may not know is that each year this fabulous show of community spirit unwittingly ignores one underprivileged section of society. Far fewer gifts are collected for boys in the 12 – 16 year age bracket. This is easily explained: boys in this age range are notoriously difficult to buy gifts for, more so when you don’t know them personally.

One possible solution is to collect gift vouchers to allow boys in this age group to choose a gift or indulge in entertainment more suiting their tastes. This is why I am approaching you.

What I am proposing is that social clubs, small businesses and generous individuals sponsor a Christmas gift for one of these boys. For example, for $35.00 you can provide two adult (over 15 years) entries to the Movies along with a voucher for the ‘Candy Bar’. The sponsored child would then receive a Christmas card from the individual or business with vouchers that would allow them to join their friends, find some quiet time or even treat a family member to an outing.

It is worth mentioning that for many of these kids there simply will NOT be a present unless ‘we’ provide one. On a school level we have 1120 students here at St Francis Xavier College, 609 of those are boys and 473 of them are between 12 – 16. It isn’t hard to imagine that a number of our Students MAY fall into the group that I am trying to help.

This problem is a very real one and is right here in our community – For instance the Kippax Uniting church has already received 200 requests for Food hampers and requests for 600 presents from the West Belconnen area. That’s just one small section of our city, and you can be certain that it is a similar story in Woden, Gungahlin and Tuggeranong. People are finding it harder to make ends meet and presents are simply going to have to be sacrificed to make sure that there is food on the table.

I have been delivering letters requesting sponsorship to the small businesses in my local area and I have friends who have taken this idea to their Work Social Clubs and their local shopping centres – I would love it if you could encourage the Small businesses in your area and generous individuals to back this gift drive.

PLEASE – we the power to put a smile on the face of the child they sponsored AND on the faces of that child’s parents. Knowing that we have made a difference will certainly make the day more enjoyable for me.

Sue Gore Phillips
Student Records
St Francis Xavier College
(02) 6278 9017

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Where I come from, many centuries ago, disadvantaged people (poor,sick, etc) got nailed to trees deep in Carpathian forest. It was our version of Christmas tree.
Now, we are more civilised, and we should donate to all such good causes if we can afford it.

Maelinar, I work for a charitable community organisation, as well as volunteering for another one in my spare time, and in neither do they go after more money once they have received some. I know this is 100% for sure with the one that I volunteer for, because it is a community organisation run by young people, and we do not have the time or the resources to chase people for money.

I think that it is a shame when people say they will not give money (or time or whatever) to charity (when they can) because of one (or a couple) bad experiences. I mean, most people don’t forfeit going to restaurants altogether just because of one or two bad experiences, they try others, seeing where they are happy and enjoy the experience. I think that the same should be said with the charities.

I do not think that it is possible for most people to give a donation to every person/group with their hand out, but people should donate to groups they are happy supporting for whatever reason suits them. I know I support the two organisations I am involved with, I buy the Salvo’s CD from Grace Bros (I still refuse to call it My**s) every Christmas, put a present under a wishing tree and donate to World AIDS Day. These are choices I have made because I believe in the work of all of the above and they are reasonable contributions for me to make. I do not give money to wildlife funds, children in Africa, or most medical causes (except HIV/AIDS), not because I don’t believe in them, I do, but because I have chosen who I am going to give my money and time to. For everyone it is different, and if I have a bit of change I will sometimes cave into other orgs/causes, such as buying a sausage sandwich from a BBQ fundraising for whatever.

I do know, however, that there are particular groups that I won’t contribute to for whatever reason, such as my not supporting their views of women, racial issues, sexuality, etc, or because I am aware of questionable financial management. This however does not mean I don’t contribute, and just because I don’t contribute to one group doesn’t mean the money won’t get to those who I want to help because I won’t support one group, there are very few issues only being supported by one group.

*phew* Sorry to keep going on, but I know as well as anyone else at this time of year it is difficult to make ends meet, and seeing a parade of groups with their hand out can be daunting, but I think that this is the wrong time of year to be giving up on people in need.

Mr evil – my understanding is that the gifts from this program will be going into the same bucket AS the giving tree – just suiting an age group that isn’t well catered for in the usual giving-tree gifts. (I know this because I know Sue Gore-Phillips, who’s running the program – possibly why I got a tad defensive when people called it stupid, etc).

Absent Diane1:45 pm 08 Dec 06

I tend to only give money to medical charities. Even then I am concerned that anything useful they discover will be patented by some american pharmaceutical and made virtually inaccesable through excessive cost.

I will however give old clothes and so on to vinnies et al..

mr evil – one reason to support charities is that if charities didn’t do the work they do, then the govt would have to do it, and they would spend an awful lot more than charities do, and also they can’t be seen to discriminate on who they aid, whereas charities can make a judgment on who is scamming and who is a genuine hardship case.

Simto, I still have a very small amount of compassion, and I will be putting a couple of gifts under the giving tree – one for a boy and one for a girl – because I’m not that completely horrible and intolerant! 🙂

All I’m saying is that I think some charities might need to be a little more strict with who they hand stuff out to.

Oh, to clarify that one – I’m not directly going you, Maelinar – I know you’re busy enough with your own mini-sproglet to foist any of your time and/or money on anybody else’s. And that’s perfectly undedrstandable.

More having a go at the use of the word “Compassion fatigue” as a euphamism for “can’t be arsed”.

People who claim compassion fatigue usually don’t have very much of it in the first place.

There’s only one final solution to poverty, and it’s not a particularly humane one for the people concerned. So in the meantime, why not indulge in a little seasonal goodwill to all men?

No, you won’t fix the entire world, but you’ll help one person for one day. And that’s enough.

You know,

You can always go and put a present under a giving tree. Then you know the gift is going directly to a needy recipient and not towards charity admin costs. And they don’t have your details to keep asking for more and more.

I imagine most people who queue up at the salvos etc really do need the money. Radio talk back will always find the odd wierdo who does it cos they’ve maxed out their credit cards.

The hard part is what to get for a 12-15 yr old boy, that won’t break instantly, or end up costing their parents more money.

There’s a word for people like us, it’s called ‘compassion fatigue’.

I too have personal aversions to giving money to aid and charity organisations, as it appears that the only thing they want from you is your address so that they can continue to ply you for money at a later date.

No matter how much money I give to world vision for some kid in plight in Africa, they will continue to approach me for more, therefore I shall give them none in the first place, which applies to pretty much every charity I have ever encountered.

Should my money ever be needed to reach an end-state, or an actual final outcome, then I will consider investing.

Because I’m such a cynical, disenchanted and angry old bastard, I really have a big problem giving to most charities nowadays.

And my view of the world hasn’t been improved after listening to a woman I know boast about going to Vinnies for food hampers because she was finding things were a little tough at the moment. Mind you, she didn’t have any problems spending $120 on having her hair done, and whatever else on buying ciggies and other non-essential crap!

At least she spent her baby bonus well – she bought a new lounge suite for her Mum!

Absent Diane10:06 am 08 Dec 06

your an idiot simto.

Giving to the disadvantaged is a useless charity, AD? Ah, how emotionally impoverished you are.

Any money given to improve the lot of your fellow man is not money wasted – it’s money invested in social capital.

Absent Diane9:37 am 08 Dec 06

okay sorry I missed the word under privelleged, my mistake, I thought it was just aimed randomly at school kids in that age bracket.. yes it is more worthwhile than my last post suggested.

I don’t think it’s entirely worthless. Sure it’s not going to advance technology in anyway, but it might give you warm jollies to know that you might make some little kid smile just a little, and maybe he’ll think twice before he smashes the window on your car to steal shit from you while you’re in the movies!:D

You can get a metric fuckton more candy if you take the “Candy Bar” voucher and use it at Coles/Woolworths though 😀

Absent Diane9:08 am 08 Dec 06

I think that is the single most ridiculous charity I have ever heard of.

No offence meant in anyway podfink.. but I think I would rather continue to donate money to something worthwhile such as motor neuron, stem cell, aids, cancer research. Peace.

Vic Bitterman10:20 pm 07 Dec 06

That’s a nice sentiment podfink, evern if you don’t know how to spell ‘principal’ in this particular context 🙂

So many charities…… so few for me to support…..

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