Every year Baylor’s community service RESPECT program hosts every child’s winter wonderland dream in Baylor's dining hall fondly known as the annual holiday party.
There is food, arts and crafts, face painting, games, two faculty members as Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and of course, the big present reveal! The scholars work every single day to earn points so they are able to go to the party and run through the tunnel of cheering tutors. Almost every single member of the Baylor community takes part in it whether through helping with games, acting as bodyguard, or donating money for the presents to be bought which, for some, are the only ones they may receive.
Unfortunately, everyone’s favorite day of the year had to be postponed for the first time in the program’s history due to the current pandemic. Knowing that this was going to be the case, even back in July when the board was preparing for this year, the RESPECT Board tried to come up with a way to still bring the excitement to the scholars, and provide them with the presents, food, and fun that they would normally receive. The RESPECT Board’s solution: Christmas in May! This means one big luau with lays and fun games, and, of course, Christmas presents!
However, many things that we incorporate in our general holiday party are still taking place this winter. Instead of the normal coat drive, scholars were given $50 to purchase their coats, as well as other winter paraphernalia. There were also Christmas meals cooked and delivered to families who requested one. In exchange for the normal presents, scholars received gift cards to do some holiday shopping of their own!
Although this is not how anyone within the program expected this year’s holiday party to go, we are excited to hopefully see each other once again in May for the Christmas in May extravaganza as well as provide the scholars with the same love, appreciation, and excitement that they get every year to cheer them on for their ongoing accomplishments in academics and in their lives.