Santa’s new elves are collegiate 4-H’ers

Santa recruited some new elves on an ag campus this year, mixing 4-H green with big orange spirit and generosity. Collegiate 4-H’ers are involved in a charity project to help children.

Holiday decorating, with an extra bit of green, as in 4-H. Before final exams and packing up to go home, collegiate 4-H’ers from the UT Herbert College of Agriculture were equally as busy as Santa’s elves. They made tiny holiday trees for charity, complete with all the decorations and trimmings.

Sophomore Grace Harville organized the effort: “We have about 42 trees, I think this year, which is a really great amount. We had a lot of people sponsor the trees, which we’re really, really thankful for.”

The trees were sold for $25 dollars a piece, and all for a cause that would make Santa smile.

The gifts go to patients at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital for kids who may have to spend December 25th in treatment. The decorations include cartoon characters familiar to children.

“Doing things like this kind of brings home to where they are,” Adejah Mack states. “Just reminding them, like, ‘Hey, the holidays haven’t stopped just because you’re in a different situation.”

For UT students, it was a challenging fall semester. They wore masks everywhere, many classes were online, and social events were pretty much forbidden. COVID College has not been a lot of fun.

“It’s been stressful, to say the least. I’ve definitely stayed in a lot more than I might have. Definitely it’s impacted me getting out and meeting people,” Amanda Vinzant adds.

However, it was hardly a throw-away semester.

Collegiate 4-H’ers were active with service projects this term, including the tiny trees.

Chloe Ford says that for her, tree making was a way to help others and safely socialize.

“I definitely think it’s a great thing just to take our minds off all the stresses of college right now, just because COVID makes everything more challenging, including service opportunities,” she explains.

“I’m very proud of our collegiate 4-H and FFA club. You know lots of folks think about our 4-H members in 4th through 12th grade engaged in service, but they don’t always think about our college students,” Justin Crowe, Tennessee 4-H Director, states. “Our college students are very eager to give back to the community-- to serve others.”

That is exactly what is happening here. After all, it is not the size of the gift that matters, but the good will behind it, and its impact.

No matter how difficult your year has been, we can still pass on good cheer.


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