Choir ‘adopts’ family of 6 for the holidays


Sam Goetze

Sophomore Annalise Adad, senior Erin Mackey and senior Savannah Drollinger wrap a gift for the ‘adopted’ family. Newhall said that the in-class wrapping days were a great bonding experience for the class.

Every year, the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) hosts a holiday program that allows individuals and groups to “adopt” low-income families, providing them with gifts and grocery cards that they wouldn’t be able to afford on their own. This holiday season, the three choirs – bella, chamber and chorus – have partnered together to adopt a family of six.

“One family usually can’t accommodate a large family in need, and so they usually don’t get accepted because [the YWCA doesn’t] have anyone that could provide for them,” choir teacher Ailisa Newhall said. “We said, ‘well we’re three choirs so together we could take on a huge family.'”

The choirs’ adopted family consists of a single mother and five children, ranging from 5 – 17 years old. They aren’t allowed to meet the family for confidential reasons, but Newhall said that she received enough information for the choir students to purchase their gifts.

“We get a spreadsheet from the YWCA, and they say the kids’ names, ages and the gifts they wish for,” Newhall said. “Like, it says the fifteen-year-old son loves art, and so what he asked for is an art supply kit.”

Newhall said reading the family’s notes is one of the most rewarding parts of the experience.

“Some years that I’ve done it, the older siblings sometimes don’t even ask for a present,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking to see [them] saying, ‘if you’re going to get one gift, make sure my baby sister has a gift.'”

After receiving the family’s information, the choir students signed up to either purchase or wrap a present. The choirs wrapped the gifts in class on Nov. 26 and 27, and sent the gifts to the Everett YWCA in the following week for the adopted family to pick up in mid-Dec.

“The day that we get to wrap everything is so joyous,” Newhall said. “The kids are usually singing some of the music that we’re practicing while they’re wrapping, and it’s just this day of giving back.”

Senior chamber choir member Julia Owens said that wrapping the gifts was a great way to bring the students into the holiday spirit.

“I was helping someone who needed help,” Owens said. “And hopefully I brightened their day.”

Newhall led similar projects when she taught at Skyview and Canyon Park Middle School, but this is the first year that she has done it at Inglemoor, and she said that she is hoping to do it again.

“The choir students have loved it, and I think we’ll make it a tradition of helping out a family every year,” she said. “Together as a group, we’re able to make their dreams come true whereas individuals couldn’t do it on their own.”

Newhall said that she encourages other students to participate in similar programs with their families and friends.

“It’s one of the most amazing things to do,” she said. “It makes you appreciate everything.”