Nearly 75 Area Children Receive Christmas Gifts at Averett University’s Angel Tree Celebration

Posted on November 30th, 2022 by Matt Bell

Around 75 children from the Danville and Pittsylvania County area received Christmas presents this year thanks to donors from Averett University and the community.

On Monday, Nov. 28, children gathered in the Carrington Gym on Averett’s Main Campus to enjoy a meal, decorate cookies, have pictures taken with Santa and to open their presents.

Averett’s Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness (CCECC), partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Danville Area and the Chatham Boys & Girls Club who provided names of children to sponsor. West Main Baptist Church members and Averett students, faculty, staff and alumni adopted each child and donated the items on their wish lists.

“The sheer joy and excitement of the children make this event a highlight of the year. It’s a great evening for Averett to show our support for children in need,” said Dean of Engaged Learning and Executive Director of the CCECC Dr. Billy Wooten.

Beginning in October, the CCECC began collecting donations for children on their angel tree. Children asked for everything from clothes to bicycles.

“While community needs seem to grow larger each year, the cheerfulness and willingness of the Averett family to support our community grows stronger. I am so proud of everyone involved,” Wooten said.

Monday’s festivities began with each child having an opportunity to color Christmas-themed coloring sheets. A traditional Christmas meal was served, followed by a chance to talk to Santa Claus and to decorate cookies as they pleased.

It was then time for the children to open their presents. Stepping behind a curtain in Carrington Gym, children rushed to find their names next to their presents. The familiar sounds of wrapping paper being shredded filled the air as the joy and excitement of Christmas filled the space.

Averett has two upcoming opportunities to celebrate the holidays – both with free admission. On Thursday, Dec. 1, Averett Celebrates Christmas will be held at 7 p.m. in Pritchett Auditorium in the Violet T. Frith Fine Arts Center, (150 Mountain View Ave.). Enjoy this annual festival of old and new holiday favorites with the Averett Music Department’s ensembles and special guests.

On Tuesday, Dec. 6, the Dr. Betty Heard Christmas Readings will be held at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Multipurpose Room (204 Woodland Drive). Linda Lemery, retired circulation manager at Averett’s Mary B. Blount Library, was a long-time staff and adjunct faculty member of Averett. Lemery has led the Betty Heard Christmas Readings for several years, and delights children with her lively Christmas tales. The late Dr. Betty Heard was a dear friend and Averett colleagues, and was our first reader for the children. Because of her love for children’s literature and the Christmas Readings, we named this special night at Averett in her memory.