The Spirit of Christmas: giving back

Children wake up to Christmas presents today
Dec. 24, 2013 @ 06:00 AM

Partnerships are the backbone to any community. When Davidson County Community College approached Liberty Drive Elementary School about doing something for underprivileged children at Christmas, a remarkable partnership was born.

Students in the DCCC nursing program on Dec. 17 held a special holiday celebration to culminate a project that ensures close to 50 children have presents under the tree on Christmas Day. With a little help from Santa Claus, nursing students passed out bundles of joy to children who otherwise may not have had much to open this Christmas morning.

"The collaboration is awesome," said Liberty Drive counselor Teresa Billie. "As a school system we strive to collaborate with our community in different ways, different efforts. This time it was truly a blessing because they came to us to collaborate and were willing to do whatever they could do to help our children."

The nursing program first partnered with Liberty Drive a year ago. Met with resounding success, the effort renewed this year with even more students pitching in to collect as many gifts as possible.

Liberty Drive administrators identified children in need and the DCCC nursing program took it from there. Students worked tirelessly to find sponsors to fill the wish list for each child and their siblings.  

"It was a lot of work and a lot to do during school but we pulled together and were able to pull if off," said Stephanie Rackley, a second year nursing student. "It's really great to give back to our community and be able to help people in need, especially around Christmas. Knowing that we're able to help provide a child Christmas and make them happy really brings us together as a class and a community."

Machaela Catlett, an events coordinator in the DCCC nursing program, said the collaboration is a natural fit for students who are pursuing a degree forged with community service. 

"I think it's good for us to recognize that these are the individuals who we are going to be helping once we graduate from school," said Catlett. "Going to a community college plants you in a community setting and you get in touch with a lot of people. It's a small community and a lot of people know everybody, so we want to show that we're here and we're going to continue to support people during our education and afterward."

Liberty Drive Principal Liz Snyder called the partnership a blessing. 

"This is the true spirit of Christmas when you give back," Snyder said. "This is what it's all about, to look at the faces and see the excitement in their eyes, and the relief in the parent's faces. Overall, this is a very blessed school we have here.  Every child deserves to experience the spirit of Christmas and have a gift to open. This partnership offers that. It's overwhelming to see this."

In addition to the gifts, nursing students prepared a holiday meal for the children. After they were done eating, Shamaine Cousar offered students free pictures with Santa Claus, who seemed more than happy with the efforts of his elves from DCCC.  


Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or