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West campus students 'adopt' families for the holidays

October 28, 2010

With the holidays approaching, student government members at Arizona State University’s West campus are taking part in an ASU-wide initiative to brighten the season for members of the university community and their families.

Last year eight West campus families facing financial difficulties were assisted by the Adopt an ASU Family program, according to Leonard Montez, chief justice of the campus’s Undergraduate Student Government Supreme Court. “This year our goal is to increase the number to 10 families,” he said.

The focus of the university-wide program is on helping ASU students who are single parents, said DeDe Grogan, a staff member in ASU Family Resources, part of Educational Outreach and Student Services. “But we also have adopted staff members and two-parent families after a review of their circumstances.”

With assistance and ideas from other individuals and university organizations, Grogan started Adopt an ASU Family on the Tempe campus in 2004. The program has grown each year and now operates on all four campuses.

“The holidays can be difficult for students, many of whom are juggling work and family responsibilities along with school,” Grogan said. “It’s rewarding to see families who are adopted being able to enjoy more quality family time and less stress. I also love the fact that support for this program comes from so many staff, faculty, students and community members, even at a time when those making donations may be working extra hard to make ends meet themselves.”

Montez said he and his fellow student government members on the West campus found the experience of participating last year to be extremely rewarding. “We are honored to play a role in giving back to the community and making a positive impact on people’s lives,” he said.

Valley civic organizations, businesses and individuals, as well as ASU groups, are welcome to adopt a family. “Organizations can choose the size of the family they want to adopt. Over the years we have had families ranging in size from two to eight members,” Grogan said.

Families selected to be adopted prepare lists of “need” items and “want” items. Grogan asks participants to pick at least one of each item to give each family member. She also suggests stocking stuffers like fruit, candy and toiletries. Participants are responsible for wrapping and labeling gifts.

With the help of ARAMARK Higher Education, ASU’s food service contractor, each adopted family also receives a holiday meal through the program.

Anyone who would like to support the Adopt an ASU Family program, but not adopt an entire family, is encouraged to donate a gift card from a local merchant.

For information on supporting the program on ASU’s West campus, contact Montez at (602) 459-3832 or Grogan, who can provide information about applying for assistance as well as opportunities to help families on any ASU campus, may be reached at (480) 965-9515.