Averett Family Creates Christmas Experience for Danville Area Angels

Posted on December 1st, 2016 by Danielle Staub


AngelTree GroupAverett University recently partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Danville Area for an Angel Tree Celebration. Averett students, faculty, staff and Board of Trustee members sponsored 55 children this Christmas. The Boys and Girls Clubs bused the children over to the Averett Student Center where they started the night by eating dinner with Averett students.

“It was a really humbling experience! It meant the absolute world to me to witness all the joy those children felt in their hearts and the whole event epitomized the meaning of Christmas,” Averett freshman and cheerleader student-athlete Becka Scearce said.

AngelTree hatsAfter dinner, the children met with Santa before heading into the multipurpose room to open presents. Each student-volunteer grabbed an elf hat and stood next to a bag of presents, holding a child’s name.

“For some students, they see how fortunate they really are…yet other students, see themselves in these children and feel responsibility to help. They see how their efforts can bring such happiness to others…how small things can have a profound impact in someone else’s life,” Averett President Dr. Tiffany Franks said. “I think they can see how one of the greatest gifts they can give is showing love and care to children.”

This is the third year the Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness (CCECC) at Averett has partnered with the Danville and Chatham units of the Boys and Girls Clubs. Each year, the program has grown with both the number of angels and sponsors.

“We had more interest across campus from individuals and groups who wanted to sponsor angels this year. We were really excited because it’s becoming a tradition on campus and people look forward to it each year,” said Rachel Covington, assistant director of community engagement at the CCECC.Angel Tree Alpha Sigs

Covington says they wanted the event to be about building relationships. Instead of sending the presents to the child’s home on Christmas, they decided to create a Christmas experience for them.

“We wanted an opportunity for the angels to celebrate Christmas with the Averett family, so the whole focus wasn’t just about the presents,” said Covington.

“I got to experience young children opening their presents and seeing their reaction when they got new clothes, or a really cool toy they asked for from Santa, was priceless. Giving is probably one of the greatest feelings in the world, especially when you get to share that moment with friends and family,” said Austin Bramhall, Averett sophomore and soccer student-athlete.

Leaders at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Danville Area say that great feeling is felt both ways.

“This program is so impactful for our kids; they love it,” Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Danville Area Faith Stamps said. “To know that the students and staff at Averett are AngelTree Savannahso vested in our youth and want to give back, just shows how important what we do for our kids is.

“Our kids look up to the Averett students. As one young lady said, ‘I want to go to Averett when I grow up.’ It truly is an invaluable partnership; a win-win.”

And for angel parent, Angela Oakes, parent of 9-year-old Anardia Harris, it’s not just about what presents her child now has for Christmas. It’s also what the Averett family did to make a positive impact in her daughter’s life, “knowing that some of the students here found it in their heart to give to the kids.”