Launched in 2017, the Wayland Middle School PTO Holiday Gift Drive has partnered with Wayside Youth & Family Support Network to ensure that every young person in residence at Wayside during the holidays has a gift to open, one that they picked out, on Hanukkah or Christmas day. Wayland’s elementary schools run a holiday drive for young children in foster care, and the high school has community service requirements. The Holiday Gift Drive is the Wayland Middle School’s unique opportunity to bring holiday warmth and cheer to a population that is sometimes overlooked by traditional holiday drives: adolescents and teens.
What is Wayside Youth & Family Support Network?
Wayside Youth & Family Support Network provides a wide variety of programs and services to children, young adults and families in Massachusetts who are struggling with mental illness, behavioral problems, addiction issues, and other challenges, as well as supporting youth who have experienced abuse, neglect, and trauma.
The Wayside Campus in Framingham is a safe, secure and welcoming environment for youth experiencing acute mental health symptoms who need more than outpatient level of care in a short term or long-term residential setting. Developed with the needs of adolescents in mind, Wayside provides the ideal balance between intensive care and the social and recreational benefits of a campus setting with a facility that boasts six residential homes, each with living space for 12 teens; onsite nursing and psychiatric care; library; a gymnasium and a sports field. The Wayside Framingham Campus serves youth from across Massachusetts, including students from the Wayland public schools.
Wayside’s mission is “Empowering children, young adults and families to achieve greater independence and emotional well-being.”
What is the Wayland Middle School PTO Holiday Gift Drive?
Every Thanksgiving through Christmas, the Wayland Middle School PTO Holiday Gift Drive partners with Wayside to make sure that every young person at Wayside has a holiday gift to open. Because Wayside serves a population often overlooked during the holidays (older kids who aren’t in foster care, but may not be with their families), they deserve an extra effort to make their holidays brighter. What’s unique about the Gift Drive is that the youth themselves pick out the gift they want. Often it’s the latest trend or name brand athletic wear or outerwear, or slippers, sports equipment, makeup, art supplies, books or movies—just like the things our middle and high school kids are hoping for. When you purchase an item from the Wayland Middle School PTO Gift Drive wish list on Amazon, gifts are sent directly to Wayside where they are wrapped and given on Christmas or Hannukah.
How can you and your Middle Schooler take part in the Gift Drive?
Around mid-November every year, keep an eye out for Gift Drive announcements in the weekly Monday Morning Minute email and the Middle School PTO Facebook page. You’ll find information about the drive and a link to the list of gifts selected by the kids at Wayside. You might pick out a gift with your kids, or see if they want to give something themselves. Select “Wayside Campus-Gift Registry Address” at checkout when you make your purchase—it’s that simple! Most gifts range from $20-50, and all gifts are tax deductible, as Wayside is a nonprofit organization. Wayside’s tax ID # is 04-2630450.