Dec 072010
Authors: Allison Sylte

During the month of December, CSU workout aficionados can get more than an endorphin buzz at the CSU Campus Recreation Center –– they can also help out a family in need through the annual “Adopt a Family Giving Tree” program.

“We know that the month of December can be very difficult for some people, so we try to give a helping hand to a family that needs our help,” said Ray Aberle, the assistant director of the CSU Challenge Course and the coordinator of the “Adopt a Family” program.

“Adopt a Family” is in its eight year, and every year the Adult Learners and Veteran Services Office identifies a CSU student in need during the holiday season.  

This year, a single mother graduate student was selected to receive the gifts, with additional support going to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The program was unable to release the recipient’s name.

“We get that as a parent, Christmas can be a very stressful thing to worry about, particularly when it’s tough to make ends meet in the first place,” Aberle said. “Our purpose is to really empower her and to give her one less thing to worry about during December.”

The giving tree is located in the main foyer of the Rec Center and students interested in giving gifts to the family can select an ornament from the tree according to how much they want to spend on a gift. The Rec Center staff has a wish list compiled by the family, with students buying gifts according to what ornament they selected from the tree.

“We tried to do a really wide price range because we know that college students don’t have the best financial means,” said Kim Vetter, an employee at the Rec Center who is involved in the program. “So far, I’ve been really impressed with the high level of interest that we’ve gotten. It says a lot about the community.”

Gifts cost between $5 and $20, and there is also a donation box available for students simply looking to contribute financially. Most of the items on the wish list are basic everyday items, with other items including gift cards and toys.

“Toy Story has really been the big thing for the recipient’s son, so we’ve been trying to really integrate that into the gifts,” Aberle said.

This program is in conjunction with what Aberle and Vetter refer to as a “very charitable spirit” perpetuated in the Rec Center office.

“We’re trying to instill these notions of charitable giving with our staff and student employees and really trying to make it a part of our office culture,” Vetter said.

The “Adopt a Family Giving Tree” continues until Dec. 15. Questions can be directed to the service desk at the Campus Recreation Center.  

“If we all get together as a community, there’s no reason why we can’t take care of one another,” Aberle said.

Outdoor Life Beat Reporter Allison Sylte can be reached at

Adopt a family giving tree

  • What: A program aimed at providing Christmas gifts to a family in need
    Where: CSU Rec Center lobby
  • Who: Students and Rec Center staff
    When: through Dec. 15
  • How to donate: Students and campus community members can choose to purchase gifts from the wish list, which run between $5 and $20, or make a monetary donation.
 Posted by at 2:22 pm

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