By Josh Galvin ’13
With the holidays right around the corner, many members—if not all members—of the community are buzzing with anticipation of what this season will have in store.
However, for people with cognitive disabilities and their families, it is difficult to fulfill everyone’s holiday wishes.
According to the Arizona Department of Developmental Disabilities’ Advocacy & Special Projects Coordinator Ms. Caroline Champlin, there are approximately 30, 899 families recognized by the DDD in the state.
Most of these families cannot provide for themselves and require financial aid.
This is where Brophy’s ELF Drive—Extending Love to Families—comes into play.
What began 15 years ago as a small event that funded 10 families in need is now a campus-wide drive that encourages everyone to do their part in giving back to those less fortunate.
“If you want to understand what the true meaning of Christmas is all about, (the ELF Drive) is it,” said Mr. Tommy Smith, who organizes the annual drive.
Mr. Smith said he believes this drive allows the BCP community to follow the philosophy of St. Ignatius of Loyola, as he teaches us that “love is shown more in deeds than in words.”
Brophy Principal Mr. Bob Ryan feels this drive is important as it gives us a “heightened awareness” of those with monetary struggles.
“The situations that these families face are heartbreaking. What I particularly appreciate … is that the sponsors are given a profile of the family they’ll be helping which helps humanize the experience,” Mr. Ryan said.
Each year, the families fill out profile sheets and list their clothing sizes along with a wish list of supplies or gifts.
Each participating class or group then receives their sponsored family’s list and works toward meeting their requests.
“In the past, some items contributed to the ELF drive included bikes, computers, televisions, I-Pods, clothes, washer/dryer set, bunk beds, X-Box, PS3, scooters and CD players,” Mr. Smith said.
“Along with that, we try and provide non-perishable food items, toiletries, socks, blankets and a gift certificate to a local grocery store so the family can buy a turkey or ham for Christmas dinner.”
Those teachers or moderators who are sponsoring a family will work with students to bring in whatever they can for the cause.
“It’s a privilege for me to see firsthand the generosity of our community, as well as experience the gratitude of the families receiving the gifts,” Mr. Smith added.
Editor’s Note: The Roundup staff has committed to sponsoring a family in this year’s ELF Drive.