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Local schools give back to their communities

It is heartwarming to know that local students truly care about the welfare of their neighbors, and strive to make a difference in their community. Students at numerous local schools – and their advisers – carved time in their already-crowded schedules to give back to their community, and help the less fortunate.


The Holy Family seventh grade class organized a bake sale to raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief. Their efforts resulted in almost $1,000 to send to Catholic Charities.


Student council members collected and delivered more than 500 cans and jars of pasta sauce for Caterina's Club during the KFI radio station fundraiser for the charity. Caterina's Club was founded by Chef Serato of the Anaheim White House Restaurant, and named in honor of his mother. The organization feeds motel children throughout the year, picks up students for homework help and activities, and has begun to aid in providing housing for the families.

Radio station hosts John and Ken were impressed to see students helping other, less fortunate students, and interviewed Heather Daniels, Oakridge student council president, and Emily Chisick, charity president, during their live broadcast from the restaurant.

A total of $135,781 and more than 11,000 pounds of pasta and sauce were collected for Caterina's Club during the KFI broadcast. For more information about Caterina's Club, see


During their annual all-tribe fall campout at Yucaipa Regional Park, the Inca Tribe challenged other tribes in the YMCA Indian Princess and Indian Guides program to raise money for Mary's Kitchen. The Inca Tribe, comprised of papooses as young as 4, up to 13-year-old princesses, pledged to match the first $1,000 raised.

Inca Tribe Princesses presented a check for $2,745 to Mary's Kitchen, which provides meals and services for the homeless in the Orange area. The new Inca Challenge program will be repeated each year, instilling the sense of community giving to the less fortunate. For information about the YMCA program, see


Canyon Rim students again joined the annual Spark of Love Toy Drive. For 20 years, ABC 7 and firefighters from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties have collected new, unwrapped toys and sports equipment for underserved children in their communities.

This is the second year that the Canyon Rim student council has promoted the toy drive for Spark of Love. The students collected more than 250 toys, with Mrs. Haitbrink's third grade class winning honors for collecting the most toys. For information about Spark of Love Toy Drive, see


El Rancho students "adopted" needy families via the Southwest Community Center, as they have for almost two decades. This year, the ASB class and two representatives from each of the ERCS adopting classes delivered gifts, food, gift cards, and more, to 15 families. The students met with the families at the Southwest Community Center and saw, first-hand, the impact of their generosity -- the delight of the children when they ripped open their gifts, and the gratitude of the adults.

The funds for the gifts were donated by students, El Rancho families and staff. Multiple teachers and their classrooms worked collaboratively through the ASB to coordinate the charitable event. The ASB provided wrapping materials, and volunteered their time to wrap all of the gifts. Southwest Community Center serves low-income individuals and families in Orange County; see for more information.


Villa Park High School drama students, colorfully clad as Santa's elves, entertained elementary school students, performing 11 fun-filled shows at 10 elementary schools over two days. Stacy Castiglione directed the very merry elves in "Holiday Tales 2012," receiving shouts of laughter and appreciation from the younger students at every stop.


Girl Scout Ambassador Troop 560, led by Kelli Cervino and Barbara Perez, celebrated the 10th anniversary of their annual Ho Ho Santa Train Event, held each year at Irvine Regional Park. The troop plans and coordinates a private night for Girl Scouts and their families to come together and celebrate the holidays, as they sip hot cocoa and ride the train past the holiday lights for a special visit with Santa Claus.

Each participating troop is asked to contribute to a designated charity. For the past two years, service baskets were donated to the emancipated teens and young adults at the Orangewood Foundation.

Go to for more school news and photos. Send your school news and photos to Andrea Mills at

Tell us about your school: Is there an amazing teacher or faculty member at your school? We want to hear all about how they go above and beyond. Send an email to telling us what makes him or her so special. We'll print as many as we can in the Orange City News.

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