Brandman in the Community

Doctoral students live their values at Thanksgiving

December 01, 2015 by Massiel Perez-Calhoon
A group of Ed.D. students in Irvine combined efforts to help a family have a happy Thanksgiving.

A group of Ed.D. students in Irvine combined efforts to help a family have a happy Thanksgiving.

As doctoral students, we are taught many life lessons as we develop and hone in our leadership skills. As part of the Brandman Ed.D family, we have given back to our communities and developed our humanism strengths as a united cohort.

The Gamma Irvine 2 cohort, led by Dr. Myrna Cote, includes Ericka Crawford, Linda Carrillo, Lydell Hall, Kelvin Medlock and me, Massiel Pérez. We decided that as a group, it was important for us to support our communities. An initiative was made by one of our members, Ericka Crawford, to lead our 2014 efforts. Ericka gathered information from United Way’s program that supports families from a local women and children shelter for the holidays.  Families enter their wish list in an online Target registry and volunteers order gifts directly off the website.  As a cohort, we decided to purchase many of the wish list items to help support multiple families.  United Way then delivers and distributes the gifts during a holiday party for the families. We all donated but, Ericka signed up to represent us as a distributor. As Ericka put it, “Giving gifts is one of my favorite things in the world to do!”

Ericka also reported back all of the details to share with us:

“There was a little girl (about 3 years old) named Hanna who received a President Barbie (which I didn’t even know they had) but she was so happy to see the little Barbie all dressed in her pink business suit.  And, she received a Curious George book.  I think the world has big plans for this little girl (Curiosity and President – that’s sounds like great leadership potential to me).

Photo3WEBThere was another little boy, Carter (about 5 years old), who received his handcuffs, police badge and whistle.  He was going around arresting everyone.  I’m happy to hear being on the right side of the law is important to him at such a young age.  He also took the stage for a few minutes and said thank you to everyone for his gifts.  He was adorable.

The mom’s received gifts such as a coat, purse, make-up, dress jacket, Target gift cards and more.  There were about 75 gifts distributed.  They all went around the room expressing their gratitude and how the Home Start Program has helped them.  It was a joyous event.”

For 2015, the Gamma Irvine 2 cohort decided once again, that it was time to give back. This time, the story had a twist; never underestimate the power of social media. There I am on Facebook scrolling through pictures and posts and suddenly, I see the words, “Adopt a Family.” I clicked on the link and researched my W’s: who, where and why? I quickly composed an email to the cohort and Dr. Cote about participating.  Within minutes, we were all in! Just like that we became a Basket Leader. As a Basket Leader, you commit to putting together a complete holiday basket and delivering it to a designated family. The best part is that we got to hand deliver our beautiful baskets to the home of our adopted family.

With the Adopt a Family, the goal is to offer a family in need a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner from beginning to end. Our list included candles, table setting, turkey, family games, cranberry sauce, stuffing, etc. Each and every one of us went above and beyond to not only give but share a little more to make this holiday season special for our adopted family.  The Vivar family received their baskets on Sunday, November 22.

About the author

Massiel Pérez is an Ed.D., organizational leadership, candidate, an academic advisor and a member of the Wellness Committee.

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