Magazine Feature | Santa’s Elves
It was just five years ago, that Deborah Sherman, Jennifer Ramirez and Stella Castro decided that their children needed to learn about giving. Their kids had lengthy lists of items they wanted for the upcoming holidays. But the three moms were concerned about their children’s lack of awareness about the joy—and the importance—of giving.
The trio began researching nonprofit organizations. Their goal was to find one that involved the kids from the initial selection through the final delivery of gifts. Deborah, Jennifer and Stella believed that by taking part in the entire process, their kids would witness the impact they could have on the lives
of others. The moms felt confident that once their kids observed the profound effects their efforts, their generosity and their involvement had, they would want to continue repeating the experience.
They were unable to find an organization with this start-to-finish philosophy that they believed would produce life long philanthropists. So, the three women started one, that did. That’s how Santa’s Elves— Kids Giving to Kids began. It’s mission? Simple, really. To create opportunities that parents can use to inspire their children to give.
That first Christmas, even before opening their own gifts, the three families packed the presents purchased and wrapped for people they had never met. They spent the better part of the day delivering the gifts. And, while the celebrations may have been small, their effect was big. The moms noticed a marked shift in the mindsets of their children. Receiving the latest toys became less thrilling than fulfilling the wishes of kids with less.
Since that first gift giving, Santa’s Elves has grown and now is an amazing event held annually at the Denver Rude Recreation Center, inspiring kids to become “Elves” and life long givers.
~When they first started, elves gave presents to 75 children. Last year, hundreds of elves across Colorado gave gifts to 1, 305 children during the event, face-to-face, hug-to-hug.
~In Sun Valley almost half of the residents are children and 78 percent of them live in poverty with an average household income of $5,164 a year.
~When asked what they wanted for Christmas most children asked for shoes.
~This year Santa’s Elves hope to enlist enough contributors to furnish gifts for 2,000 kids.
Be an ELF, experience giving! To donate or contribute www.santaselvesdenver.org firstname.lastname@example.org