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Students adopt family for holidays

December 22, 2008

Many believe this season is about miracles. This Christmas season, one local Hagerstown mom in need received "the miracle she had been praying for" when the Towson University nursing class at the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown adopted her family for the holidays through Head Start of Washington County.

The Head Start organization has special meaning to the nursing students.

"We really wanted to adopt a family through Head Start because it is where most of us had our first clinical experience as juniors and this was an opportunity for us to give back to the program which helped us in our education," said Felecia Garrison, USM-H student ambassador for the Towson University Department of Nursing at USM-H.

Amanda Peterson, the nursing class vice president, and Garrison conceived the idea for the holiday drive and implemented it with the help of the nursing students. The drive started the week before Thanksgiving and ends this week. Nearly 200 items were collected for the family.

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In addition to collecting items and food for the family in need, nonperishable food items were collected for The Salvation Army and Hagerstown Rescue Mission.

"Our family will have a wonderful and amazing holiday, and I want to thank everyone who brought in something. Each and every one of you has made a difference in this family's life during the holiday season," Garrison said.

"For those who brought in a nonperishable food item, I thank you for bringing nourishment and love to our Hagerstown community during the holidays and especially with the economic crisis."

Garrison said she hopes that helping and giving to one person will start the process of that person giving and helping another. As nursing students, she and Peterson believe the Towson nurses will take this experience, and continue their passion of giving to and helping others in their daily lives as nurses.

Peterson echoed Garrison's sentiment: "It is such a joyous time of year and giving to someone less fortunate at Christmas makes me feel good inside."

David Warner, USM-H executive director, said, "I am very pleased the nursing students took such initiative in participating in a project that benefited a local family in need. Their initiative sparked many people throughout the USM-H community to participate in the project, and the contributions made by students, faculty and staff will have a positive impact on the Hagerstown region during this holiday season."

Warner added, "I hear future community service projects are in the works, and I can't wait to see what the students from our partnering institutions accomplish next."

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