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Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014

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Residence hall association ‘adopting’ 19 local children for the holidays


Demonstrating the true reason for the season, the Residents' Action Council (tRAC) at Ohio University is playing Kris Kringle to 19 local families. 

Through tRAC, 17 OHIO residence halls have been raising funds for Athens County Children Service's 26th annual Santa Tree Project, which provides holiday gifts to area children in need.

"Christmas is the season of giving," said Alexander Howell, president of tRAC. "We are helping a lot of parents who don't have the money to provide gifts for their kids this Christmas season."

Each of the participating residence halls selected one to three children to "adopt" for the holidays and was provided each child's name, age and ideas of gifts they may like to receive through the Santa Tree Project.

"This is the 26th year of the program," said Robin Webb, public relations and event coordinator at Athens County Children Services. "We will be providing gifts to 1,290 kids in the community thanks to organizations like tRAC. We are glad to have the support of community members."

Howell said he believes participating in the Santa Tree Project is a great way to give back to the community Ohio University students call their temporary home and said the residence halls have really embraced this program. In fact, one of the residence halls has exceeded its fundraising goal and plans to donate the extra money to Athens County Children Services.

A residence hall association that designates funding to hall councils for their programming, tRAC is a student organization that provides and supports social, cultural, recreational and educational programming for OHIO's on-campus students.

The association is also committed to community service. Since the 1990s, tRAC has hosted trick-or-treating for area children at residence halls on the Athens Campus. Each participating residence hall is decorated, and students living in those residence halls hand out candy. Children who participate in the on-campus trick-or-treat are also treated to Halloween-themed activities like pumpkin bowling, ring tossing and cookie decorating.

According to Howell, tRAC plans to participate in more community events. Potential projects for spring semester include participating in Athens Beautification Day and collaborating with Phi Theta Kappa and the Ohio University Police Department to raise money for the Special Olympics.

tRAC meets every Monday at 7 p.m. in Baker University Center 230. For more information on tRAC, visit http://www.ohiotrac.com/.

For more information on the Santa Tree Project, visit http://www.athenschildrenservices.com/pages/2012-santa-tree.