SAIT gives back

Adopt-a-Student Family program provides a helping hand

The season of giving is upon us, and SAIT is doing its part to give back to those among us who could use a little extra support during the holiday season.

SAITSA is bringing back its annual Adopt-a-Student Family program to benefit SAIT students who are having trouble making ends meet and need a hand providing a merry Christmas or happy holiday for their families.

Shona Sutherland, communications coordinator for SAITSA, said that in past years, both students and staff have adopted student families.

“We had someone who said that they wanted to give back and sponsor a family because their family was [previously] one of the sponsored families.”

Currently, only SAIT students and their families are eligible to apply, but Sutherland said if an individual SAIT student or a SAIT faculty or staff member and their family were having similar financial struggles, they would be unlikely to be turned down for sponsorship. 

The same goes for students and staff wishing to contribute, but who can’t necessarily afford to sponsor a family on their own. 

While groups and individuals sponsoring a family must have their gifts in by Wednesday, Dec. 7, the SAITSA Resource Centre is always willing to take donations of food, cash or gift cards that they can put towards filling requests from families.

Sutherland said SAITSA started receiving applications to the program almost immediately, without even having to advertise beyond posters put up around campus.

Sutherland said it’s too early to tell at this point, but there seems to be a slight increase in applications this year. At the time of writing, 28 families had applied to be sponsored.

Sutherland also said there has been a noticeable increase in people utilizing SAITSA’s food bank this time of year, which is available through the SAITSA Resource Centre. They accept food and money donations year-round, so students in need can access food hampers at any time.

For those wishing to make a contribution to causes outside of SAIT, the school’s Aviation Student Alliance is holding a fundraiser for the Veteran’s Food Bank called Fill the Boeing, in which their goal is to collect enough food to match the maximum take-off weight of a Boeing 737 aircraft. That’s approximately 24,948 kilograms, or 55,000 pounds, of food. 

For anyone wishing to contribute, non-perishable food donations are being accepted until Dec. 7 at the Art Smith Aero Centre, the SAITSA Resource Centre and the SAITSA office in room V204 of the Campus Centre.

The gift of time is also appreciated more than ever during the Christmas season, and volunteering is an inexpensive way to give back, especially for students on a tight budget.

SAIT’s Legal Assistant Society (LAS) is teaming up with the International Society of Automation to present The 12 Days of Giving, a volunteer drive that aims to match up potential volunteers with local charities and encourage the spirit of philanthropy year-round.

The 12 Days of Giving is being held on Thursday, Dec. 8 from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. in MacDonald Hall. Admission is $2 and representatives from several Calgary charities will be on hand to meet with students and answer any questions potential volunteers may have.

Some of the charities that will be available that day include the Alberta Sports and Recreation Association for the Blind, Making Changes Association, the Calgary Food Bank, the Calgary Humane Society, the Salvation Army, the Children’s Legal & Educational Resource Centre, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society.

Students can sign up to volunteer on the spot and can collect a volunteer log from LAS organizers. Each verified hour the student spends volunteering from now until March 3, 2017, earns them an entry in a draw for a $200 Visa gift card. 

Students are encouraged to volunteer for 12 days throughout the remainder of the school year, but there is no minimum number of hours needed to be eligible to enter the contest – the goal is simply to get students engaged and involved in their community, even if it’s just for an hour or two.

Miranda Brown with the LAS said that the event is a win-win, both for charities and organizations benefitting from the spirit of volunteerism, and also for students, as it can be advantageous for job seekers embarking on their careers post-graduation.

“Even in these tough times, to boost your résumé and really set yourself apart from all the competition, volunteering is really the way to do it.”

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