Angel Tree Spreads Christmas Cheer

Partnership with United Way Helps Utah County Kids

It took a chorus of happy Whos to help Mr. Grinch find the true spirit of Christmas. At the Marriott School of Management, all it took was a festive tree and an invitation to give. In partnership with the United Way, the school's annual Angel Tree service project gave students, faculty and staff the opportunity to provide Christmas for needy children in Utah County.

"It's often hard as a student or professor to find the Christmas spirit because it's so busy at the end of the semester," says Chrissie Broadbent, a second-year MPA student who led the project. "The Angel Tree project is a big way to lose yourself in service and do something for someone in need. It doesn't take too much time or effort to buy a gift and give someone a great Christmas."

Beginning in early December, students and staff were able to pledge a donation of time, money, or gifts at the holiday tree on the first floor of the Tanner Building. In less than a week all the assignments were doled out and donations began pouring in. By the delivery date, 700 gifts were collected to sponsor 140 children selected by the United Way. Each child was provided with two articles of clothing, two toys and a book.

Collecting the donations was a remarkable experience for Suhit Dhakal, an accounting student from Nepal. After helping others submit their donations, Dhakal saw a small girl step up to the table, holding a large gift bag. The girl told Dhakal she would receive several gifts for Christmas, but she wanted to share this present with someone who really needed it.

"A four-year-old understood how fortunate she was to have a lot of things and wanted to share that happiness with the less fortunate," says Dhakal. "I was really touched by that."

This is the 13th year the Marriott School and the United Way have collaborated to make Christmas dreams come true.

"We love that the Marriott School has a long-standing tradition of helping children in Utah County each Christmas," says Jenn Kilstrom, director of the United Way's Sub for Santa program. "It is a group we can count on."

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems, entrepreneurship, and recreation management and youth leadership. The school's mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,300 students are enrolled in the Marriott School's graduate and undergraduate programs.  

Media Contact: Joseph Ogden (801) 422-8938
Writer: Megan Bingham