“I saw a flier on campus.”
We each find Christmas in a different way.
Matt Swanson (name changed for privacy) began his search for Christmas by glancing at a paper tacked to the wall. The Sub 4 Santa program has been around for years, but for one family it made all the difference in their Christmas this year.
For a single parent going to school and trying to put children through school as well, times can be rough. Swanson didn’t think his six kids would get much of a Christmas this year. But the little flier advertising the Sub 4 Santa program sparked more than an idea—it represented hope.
“I was a little overwhelmed really,” said Swanson. “It’s not normally in my character to ask for help.” But Mike saw an opportunity and he seized it. “I went to the meeting and applied. A lot of people applied. There were maybe like 50 people in that room.”
But hope prevailed and Swanson’s family was selected to be sponsored by the Sub 4 Santa program. “This year we sponsored 42 families and helped 117 children,” said Lindsay Goodrich, a full-time intern for Americorps Vista. The Americorps Vista Sub 4 Santa in particular selects part-time students with children to sponsor for Christmas. “We had students, UVU clubs, and departments that sponsored these students and their families. They donate $100 per child in each family.”
And for many families in Swanson’s situation, this extra help made all the difference for the holidays. “It totally served a huge purpose for my family. It made the whole holiday a lot funner. It was more of a stress-free environment.” Swanson has been a student at UVU for two years, but this was the first time as a single parent that he had to ask for help. He was glad that he did.
“We got the gifts a week before Christmas,” said Swanson. “I met the organization on campus, and then brought the presents home to wrap for the kids. The younger kids had no idea. It was fun to see my 3-year-old son on Christmas morning. He was so excited for what he got, and to see what everyone else got. We had such a good day.”
For the people that complain that Christmas is becoming totally commercialized and losing the spirit of giving, Swanson would disagree. “This is such a good program for people to come together. It makes me really happy to know that people do still care about one another, and it’s not just about the presents.”