At a Glance
Members of Indiana County Technology Center’s chapter of the National Technical Honor Society host an annual Christmas party for the students and families involved with the Indiana County Head Start Program.
Each December, student members of the National Technical Honor Society, an honors group at Indiana County Technology Center (ICTC), host a Christmas party at the school for the students and families involved with the Indiana County Head Start Program. In order for the event to reach as many children and families as possible, they hold two, one-hour sessions of the event. This party, referred to as “Santa’s Workshop,” includes a chance for children to meet with Santa (including photos that can be mounted in a student decorated keepsake card), a gift book for each Head Start child attending, coloring activities, story area, and snack.
During the event, a student photographer travels around the room to capture every child, including brothers and sisters, in a candid photo. These photos are edited and inserted in a poster size montage, which is printed and delivered to the Head Start office to be distributed to each Head Start program in the county.
Many of the children who attend the event have social, economic, and/or physical challenges that limit their access to community resources. This evening is designed to be accessible to families with varying levels of special needs.
Origin / Implementation
The ICTC National Technical Honor Society (NTHS) began hosting the event in 2012. This event provides service opportunities that require one-on-one interactions with members of the community, in particular with the very young or with the senior citizens, since these are populations with whom teenagers often feel uncomfortable.
Planning for the event involves two preparatory meetings in November and December. On average, approximately eight students participate in the event. The students plan the events (which are similar each year), set up for the event, direct and provide all the activities, and clean up after the event. Several of the students dress as elves, and occasionally, Santa.
In addition to members of the NTHS, this event also involves support from students in Culinary Arts (cookie trays), the Digital Media Program (digital photo equipment setup), and Graphics and Electronic Media (photo montage creation and printing).
The Santa’s Workshop event is funded through an ice cream fundraiser hosted at the school by the NTHS. The budget for the 2014 event was approximately $225.
Results / Impact
Structured community service activities provide the NTHS students with a secure environment for exploration. While membership in the NTHS recognizes qualities a student has already demonstrated at the CTC and the home school, it also gives the student a chance to invest those qualities and practice “soft skills” through community service activities.
This event makes an impact in the community. After Christmas in 2014, ICTC received a call from the Head Start office. The baby sister of one of the Head Start students had passed away over the holidays. Because of Santa’s Workshop, ICTC was able to send the family the last photos of this baby with her older sister.
Because of the success of Santa’s Workshop, members of the NTHS asked to host an Easter Egg hunt for these students. This event is scheduled for April, 2015.
Indiana County Technology Center
Robert Piccirillo, Learning Facilitator