CSW holiday drive benefits ASU families, foster children

donated toys

The generosity of ASU staff, faculty and students is making this holiday season a little brighter for several ASU families and foster children in the Valley of the Sun. For the first time, this fall the ASU Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) conducted a holiday drive to benefit ASU families and foster children.

The CSW worked with a variety of programs for the holiday drive. The CSW adopted student and staff families through “Adopt-A-Family” programs run through ASU Employee Assistance and ASU Family Resources. The CSW at the Polytechnic campus collected items for the ASU Police Toy & Food drive, which directly benefits ASU families, particularly student families in need. Additionally, the CSW collected hundreds of gift items to benefit Arizonans for Children, a nonprofit organization that provides holiday gifts to valley children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned and are now in the foster care system. For the children sponsored by Arizonans for Children, the gifts they receive from the program are likely to be the only gifts that they receive this holiday season.

The drive was a huge success, with the CSW collecting hundreds of new gift items for all of the programs. The holiday drive had some unexpected gifts as well.

“Going into the drive, the CSW was looking for a way that we could benefit ASU families and also Arizonans for Children directly, but as an added bonus, we were able to increase the visibility of all of these programs,” said Karen Engler, senior coordinator for the commission. “The CSW office received dozens of calls from administrative units, looking for how they could adopt families – and we were able to connect them to the coordinators for programs at Employee Assistance and Family Resources. Similarly, we also received calls from families in need and we were able to connect them to the appropriate resources.”

Arizonans for Children was particularly grateful for the donations from ASU, she said. One of the coordinators for their program noted they had received multiple donations from ASU staff, in addition to the donations provided through the CSW. “One lady brought by two big bags of fashion items for teenage girls. She smiled, left the bag on the table, said ‘ASU’ and left. We call her the Sparky Santa,” the coordinator said.

“The CSW holiday drive reminds us that ASU cares about its staff and students, and cares about those in our community who are in need. When there is need, ASU responds in a big way,” said Engler.

The ASU Commission on the Status of Women was created in 1991 by the ASU president to monitor the advancement of women at the university in three major areas: equity, career development and climate. Since its inception, the commission has sponsored and hosted many events and activities that have helped to increase the status of women at ASU. More information is available online at http://asu.edu/csw or at 480-965-2958.

Amelia Huggins, Amelia.Huggins@asu.edu