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OCTEC SkillsUSA Students Celebrate the Holidays With Helping Veterans

December 27, 2017
Press Release

Over 150 SkillsUSA students at the Orleans Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center recently partook in a community service activity for military personnel and their families.

The students took some of the proceeds from their annual craft fair and chose to use the money towards two Red Cross sponsored activities, "Holidays for Heroes Comfort Kit Program" and "Activity Kits for Military Children". Suggested items for the comfort kits were toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, shaving cream, nail clippers, toothpaste, combs, razors and gum. For children's kits they recommended coloring/activity books, crayons, colored pencils, washable markers, stickers, puzzles, books, craft kits, fruit chews, hand sanitizer and games.

SkillsUSA Advisor, Kara Kirktook the senior chapter officers shopping and says she was impressed with the students' skills. "They spent a lot of time at the Dollar Tree looking at labels on the hygiene products and toys for the children and trying to figure out what was appropriate. They were also trying to get the most bang for their buck, so they would have more to give."

Front row: Ariane Wachob, Angela Wachob, (both from Lyndonville). Back row: Lisa Taibi (Red Cross), Malik Abdulghani (Lockport), Nick Anderson (Royalton-Hartland), Elijah Sones (Medina) and Heaven Flood (Lyndonville).


After the SkillsUSA officers' shopping excursion, all the SkillsUSA students spent a day making Christmas cards and packaging their purchases into kits at the Orleans CTE Center. SkillsUSA officer, Heaven Flood, says the event put everyone in the holiday spirit. "It made us all feel very happy to be helping out members of our Armed Services and their families. You look around and everyone was smiling." Elijah Sones says it put everyone in the holiday spirit. "It was a lot of fun and made us all feel good." Malik Abdulghani says he hopes that when the kits are received they will know how much everyone appreciates what they do for our country. "We want them to know someone cares about them."

Lisa Taibi, who is in charge of the Services to Armed Forces and International Services for the Red Cross, says she was impressed with the number of kits the students donated. "The comfort kits will be distributed to veterans and their families in VA hospitals, during various homeless stand downs, valor days and other military fairs and gatherings across Western and Central New York Region during the holiday season and throughout the year. The activity kits will be distributed to military children at Yellow Ribbon events, family days or anything military related. They are geared towards keeping children occupied while mom and dad attend trainings or informational meetings. We are so grateful to what the students here at BOCES have done for our veterans."

Ms. Taibi was also presented with a $300 check from fundraisers held at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center and the Orleans Learning Center for Hurricane Relief.



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