In December 2018 , Alumni Coordinator Paula Kellija ’17 (Riga, Latvia/ Bonduel, WI) teamed up with her high school’s student council to organize a drive to collect items for Christmas gift bags to donate to people in a local retirement home. The students at the Riga French School collected coffee, tea bags, blankets, books, boxes of cookies, and personal hygiene items. Paula’s goal was to organize a campaign to emphasize the importance of volunteer work and the joy of helping others during the holiday season. One hundred and twenty students felt inspired by Paula’s call to action and wanted to participate to bring joy for those in need.  Paula and her team collected over 250 Christmas gift bags and visited the retirement home on December 20 to deliver the bags and spend some time with the residents.

Paula says of the event: ‘’I cannot explain the feeling that came afterwards. I felt very proud that we were able to engage so many high school students in this volunteer event and collect so many gift bags in such a short period of time.  But most importantly, I was proud that the events that my school organized brighten so many people’s day.  I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for one another other; not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.”


Written by Paula Kellija ’17