PSWS campus community bringing holiday joy to more than 130 area children

For over a decade, Penn State Worthington Scranton's campus community has been making the holidays a little bit brighter for those less fortunate.

Each November, on the first floor of the Dawson Building,  the Angel Tree is put up and adorned with paper ornaments, each of which contains the name of a local child in need. Over the course of a month, staff, students and faculty select an ornament and then buy and wrap gifts for their "child."

The program is sponsored and organized by PSWS' Human Development and Family Studies department, and is done in partnership with The Youth Advocate Program of Lackawanna County, (YAP) which supplies the childrens' names and helps to deliver the gifts to them in time for the holidays.

"We have been participating in this worthwhile project for over a decade and each year we see the need grow. By organizing and participating in the Angel Tree program our HDFS students work with a  local agency and gain valuable knowledge about the clients of YAP as well as organizational skills," noted Dr. Janet Melnick, HDFS Program Coordinator.

On a recent November afternoon, YAP Director Jackie Moase was at the campus helping to collect some of the gifts that have already been given by PSWS "Angels."

Dozens of wrapped gifts were waiting for her in the HDFS Suite, and students and HDFS faculty were on hand to help her gather them up so she could take them to YAP, where they will eventually be given out to their intended recipients.

This year, 133 names were placed on the tree. About a dozen or so ornaments still remained, and those interested in participating have until Nov. 30 to get an ornament and purchase a gift.

"The YAP family is very thankful to the campus for helping us 'give back' to the community. If it wasn't for their generosity, some of these children may not have a Christmas," said Ms. Moase.

The YAP of Lackawanna County is an area non-profit organization that provides wrap-around services (therapeutic staff support and mental health behavioral counseling) to children with behavioral and/or mental health issues.

PSWS is a commonwealth campus of the Penn State University that offers 10 baccalaureate degrees; four associate degrees; a master's degree for nurse practitioners; and the first two years of over 160 Penn State degrees. The campus also offers professional development and certification programs, as well as summer youth camps and academies, through its Continuing Education Department.