Students Put the True Meaning of the Holidays into Action


December 9, 2013

Contact: Annie Lewis, 612.877.7849

(North St. Paul) Most children celebrate holiday traditions at home surrounded by their family.  It’s an experience most of us take for granted.  For some children, the home celebration will be missing at least one important person in their lives – a parent. Due to domestic violence, child abuse, substance abuse, mental illness or a difficult divorce, they have limited access to one of their parents.  The only opportunity to visit with that parent is through supervised visitation provided by FamilyWise, a local nonprofit organization. FamilyWise and North High School students join forces in making what seemed impossible, possible.

This is the 15th year the “Yeah for Toys” campaign has been a true act of community service.  North High School National Honor Society students are once again bringing a memorable family holiday experience to nearly 100 children, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. This takes place on Sunday, December 15, from 2:00 – 5 p.m. at North High School, 2416 11th Avenue East, North Saint Paul.

Assisted by DECA students providing incentive to the general student populations with prizes for the best fundraisers, the students raised more than $7,000 for the “Yeah for Toys” campaign this year.  Not only will North High be providing toys for the children with these funds, but also a family style dinner for all families the day of the event.

“The sharing of a family meal is such an important part of the holiday season,” said Carl Nordine, FamilyWise’s Manager of Supervised Visitation. “The students do a remarkable job of making this holiday party as traditional as possible for each family.” The gathering will also feature musical entertainment by the North High Choir, and of course, SANTA.  This all happens under the watchful eye of 50+ trained FamilyWise staff, interns and volunteers.  They provide the calm yet necessary supervision, keeping these children safe and enabling a time for celebration and joy with their loved ones.

Scott Kopp, North High Teacher, shares “The students are proud to have raised over $7,000 in these tough economic times. It wasn’t easy but the students really came through the last few days of the fundraising drive. We were able to purchase more than $75 worth of gifts per child and will send each child home with a gift card to Cub Foods”.

“Considering that majority of the clients FamilyWise serves are low-income families, this annual holiday celebration is a gift of immeasurable value to the children and their families,” said  Executive Director, Ann Gaasch. “The students have set a shining example of what the holiday is truly about; giving to those in need. It means the world to our families.”

About FamilyWise

FamilyWise is a nonprofit organization that has been committed to ending cycles of family violence and keeping children safe since 1976. We support families who are in crisis or experiencing challenging times by providing direct service and encouragement. We give families the skills to lead fulfilling lives and hope for a better future. To learn more, visit


FamilyWise Services © 2013. Site design by Fusion Hill, Site Developed & Hosted by NADA GLOBAL