Some of the best gifts aren't wrapped and put under the tree. During the holidays, youth give their time and talents.
Youth at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Williamsburg, Va., sold ornaments to raise more than $2,300 for local HIV/AIDS programs aimed at teens. "It's our project to the community," Claire White told the Williamsburg Daily Press. "We like to help."
Sarah Chobot likes helping too. The member of Schwarzwald Lutheran Church, Reading, Pa., asked her parents to give her half the money they were going to spend on her Christmas gifts. She used that money and donations from parishioners and the community to buy 24 radio/cassette players and holiday tapes.
On Christmas she delivered her gifts to the local hospital, where they are kept in the oncology unit so cancer patients can use them at any time.
Young people from Redeemer Lutheran Church, McLean, Va., also gave a musical gift. The Jubilate choir sang at the White House last year. Later they received a note thanking them for their "time and talents, which greatly contributed to the beauty of the White House this Christmas."
In Evansville, Wis., youth from St. John Lutheran Church braved the cold to ring bells for the Salvation Army. Finding out that singing helps fill the pail, they made a difference to the tune of $645. The youth also sent Christmas care packages to the church's college students.
"It's doing these simple acts that teach these youth that even at their age, they can make a difference for someone else," said Linda O'Leary, youth group director.
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