“Adopt A Family” has Impact on Local Community During the Holiday Season

Every year, The Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer center teams up with United Way of Isabella County to help students and faculty from Central Michigan University give back to the community.

Residence Halls, RSOs, Greek life or other groups can adopt families of various sizes for the holiday season, with varying wish lists. 

Last year, CMU groups and individuals adopted 52 families through the volunteer center. When it comes to adopting a family, volunteer hours are not on the minds of students who choose to participate.

Sophomore Dimitra Niotis, a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority said this opportunity can be used to create a bond with Isabella County and the community.

“My sorority wanted to give back to the community and help a family in need to have a good and happy holiday,” Niotis said. “Doing this can create a stronger bond within the community and unite our CMU community with the local Mount Pleasant community. It can also work to connect the Greek community with Isabella County.”

Niotis said as students and other members of CMU adopt families, they will be able to gain a sense of what it feels like to step into another family’s shoes for a moment and hopefully give back.

I think adopt a family is so important because people often don’t realize how very little others have compared to them,” Niotis said. “It’s easy to take for granted basic essentials like toothbrushes or a home cooked meal. We often forget what we have and what others don’t have.”

Sophomore Kayla Foley has been participating in Adopt A Family since she was 12-years-old and knows just how much it can make a huge impact on another family.

We have been so blessed in our lives that we wanted to share that blessing with others,” Foley said. “There are so many people in need during the holidays and it’s easier to forget that during this time of year. If people from CMU took the initiative to adopt a family or adopt families, then not only would it raise awareness to others that this is something that people could do as individuals, RSOs or resident halls, but it also provides for families that probably would have nothing else otherwise.”

Foley said the feeling of delivering gifts to families in need is the most rewarding experience that she has had in her life. While continuing to participate in Adopt A Family with her own family at home, she had the opportunity to participate in the program the past two years at CMU with her sorority.

This type of experience not only reminds an individual to be grateful for what they already have, but also to remember that there are people out there that aren’t as lucky as you,” Foley said.

Foley said this time of year is about giving, not receiving, and urges students and faculty to either contribute to Adopt A Family or get involved in another way to help a family in need.

“It’s a reminder that there is always something one can give,” Foley said. So many people have more stuff then they could ever use, while others barely scrape by. By adopting a family these two worlds collide, and provide hope and happiness for both parties.”