What Christmas Is All About

What Christmas Is All About

Read more


As the Christmas season rolls in and the countdown to the holiday’s final arrival is slimming, it’s important to take a step back and realize just what this holiday is about. Over the years, and especially now in today’s world, the holiday of Christmas has become more about material things … getting gifts, after gifts, after gifts and fulfilling almost every want on your Christmas list that has been building since August. It seems that this holiday is about buying and ultimately, spending money. The media has made Christmas into a holiday that revolves around materialistic wants and wishes. People spend hours shopping for the perfect gift for each individual on their list and spend way more money than is needed. People then receive gifts that are more of a want than a necessity and are things that will be worn every now and then or played with once or twice, never to be touched again. But in reality, this newly-made materialistic holiday is not what Christmas is about.

Christmas, yes is a holiday of giving, but not in the way that the media presents. The type of giving it entails is the giving of time and help to others, focusing more on helping others than you and spreading kindness. Christmas is about helping those less fortunate and less well off in order to provide them with a better holiday season. Many people in the Alliance community and even around the world cannot afford to have an extravagant Christmas, as some cannot even afford food or daily necessities needed to survive. Some cannot afford more than a few presents if any for Christmas. So during the holiday season, it’s important to give to these people rather than giving all to yourself, as they need things more than you do. It’s important to help make everyone have a wonderful Christmas. The true meaning of Christmas should never be forgotten and it definitely is not here at the University of Mount Union as many organizations on campus are doing their part this holiday season.

For example, my sorority, Delta Sigma Tau, supports the Alliance for Children and Families as one of its philanthropies. The Alliance for Children and Families is an organization that is committed to helping children, individuals and families lead lives of stability, self-sufficiency and enhancement. ACF provides a shelter for the homeless and assists in helping people obtain housing that may have trouble doing so. This Christmas season, we are conducting a toy drive and raising money in hopes of providing a better Christmas for the children and families that live at the shelter. Many children at the shelter do not know Christmas like you and I do. The children at this shelter receive items such as shampoo, conditioner and other daily necessities as their Christmas presents, and they are ecstatic! They are full of joy and happiness by just receiving these items as presents. They have no idea what it is like to actually receive a toy or some type of play item as a present. Our goal as a sorority is to give the children a much better Christmas and provide them with the feeling of what it’s like to receive a fun present. They deserve to experience a wonderful Christmas.

Additionally, the Mount Union Honors Program and Honors Council spent time making Christmas cards for geriatric patients. Many patients at local hospitals and nursing homes do not receive holiday cards or even visits from family members during the holiday season, so receiving a card wishing them a warm and wonderful holiday shows that someone cares. It shows that someone is thinking of them somewhere. These cards brighten the holiday season for the patients and bring a smile to their faces that may not have been present in a long time.

Both of these examples spread the true meaning of Christmas. So I challenge you to sacrifice a few hours of holiday gift shopping and involve yourself in some activity such as these, as these are the types of activities that everyone should try to take part in this holiday season. And you do not even have to do something this big. You can do something on a much smaller scale such as simply baking holiday cookies for an elderly neighbor or volunteering to wrap gifts at a local mall. You can even pick up a gift for someone who needs it most while out doing your holiday shopping or just wishing someone a “happy holidays.” If more people took part in activities such as these this holiday season, no matter how big or small, imagine how many people would experience a better Christmas, how many more smiles would exist and how much better of a place this world would be to live in.

The video that goes along with this blog is just another way to help someone out and it truly displays the true meaning of Christmas. I know you will enjoy it, so please watch it!

I hope you find some way that you can spread the true meaning of Christmas this holiday season.

Trick-or-Treat with the Raiders

Trick-or-Treat with the Raiders

Read more

Once you’re in college, most people would agree you are too old to trick-or-treat. I disapprove that thought, but none of my friends want to go trick-or-treating anymore so what did I do instead? I helped hand out candy to kids with the wrestling team and the rest of the athletic teams on campus in the Peterson Field House during Trick-or-Treat with the Raiders.

This was the first year this event was held and I’d say it was a success. All of the sports team were dressed in their jerseys, game wear and even singlets, and each team had their own station. The kids couldn’t simply just say trick-or-treat for candy, they had to earn it.

The children could kick a soccer ball, shoot a basketball, hit a baseball, bump a volleyball, swing at a golf ball or complete an obstacle course to get their piece of candy. Every kid there was enthusiastic and stubborn toward getting their candy, nothing was going to stop them! For wrestling, we had an obstacle course where kids had to scoot, hop, run with weights as big as them, army crawl and then hit a giant muscle beast as hard as they can. All of this effort was for a piece of candy.

For a college student, all the work doesn’t sound worth it, but for the kids it is. That was the point of this event, to make kids happy by getting candy from their athletic role models. It really did make me laugh seeing kids in their costumes struggling to hold and run with a weight and getting to hit someone with a ball. It was also interesting seeing my professors and other coaches with their kids. It was a reality check that professors aren’t just professors, they are parents that love to dress their kids in embarrassing costumes and watch them eat candy.

If this event is held again, I am definitely going to do it. I might even dress up to scare the kids just a little. If you’re an athlete and you didn’t help out this year, I recommend doing it next year. It’s nice to get away from all the studying and interact with kids once in awhile.

Making a Difference!

Making a Difference!

Read more

You want to know what the best part of my day was today? I bet you can’t even guess. It’s not the typical way most college students spend part of their day, however, it should be whenever possible. The suspense is probably killing you, so I’m just going to tell you. The best part of my day today occurred in the two and a half hours I spent volunteering at a local church in Alliance for Feed My Sheep. (And, no I am not talking about REAL LIVE sheep).

Feed My Sheep is the Christian ministry of The New Beginnings House of God Church in Alliance. Through the ministry, meals are served to the community of Alliance every Thursday around dinner time. Approximately 30-40 people come to the church each week for dinner, and another 80 meals are delivered to the homes of people unable to travel to the church including the elderly and disabled individuals throughout the community. Anyone from the community is welcome to come each Thursday to receive food. The food for each meal varies from week to week and comes mostly from the Stark County Food Pantry. Today people were served hot dogs, macaroni salad, chips, drinks and dessert. (I served dessert today!) People also are welcome to take bread with them when they leave.

The co-ed service fraternity of Alpha Phi Omega (APO) at Mount Union has members that help each week prepare and serve the meals to the community members. The members of APO also interact with the community members and get to know some of them that come on a regular basis. APO is the organization with which I helped out through. I find this project rewarding in more ways than one. It allows me to interact with people of the community learning about their day and their experiences, gives me the chance to help others and allows me to make even the slightest difference in the lives of others. In my opinion, it is the best way you could spend part of your day!

The Feed My Sheep Ministry has been helping to feed the Alliance community for a little over six years now. It has impacted the lives of many individuals and will continue to do so on a day-to-day basis for many years to come. The ministry is helping to make a difference!

Opportunities to give back

Opportunities to give back

Read more

When I was in high school, I was highly involved in community service.  I was in my school’s Key Club for four years and was the president of the club my senior year.  We rang the bell to raise money for Salvation Army around Christmas time, cooked and served food to those in need at a local soup, held various canned food drives, had a clothes drive for people in the wintertime and so much more.

It’s a little sad to think that since I’ve came to Mount Union, I haven’t volunteered a whole lot in the community.  I have certainly tried to as much as I can but it is just time that always seems to get in my way.  The past few years I have volunteered with WRMU to hand out candy at Trunk-or-Treat.  This is an event where kids from all over Alliance can come to receive candy on Halloween but it’s in the middle of the day so it’s light outside.  This is just safer for kids than going door-to-door in the dark (although I bet a lot of kids do both!).

I have done a few more things here and there but nothing close to what I was doing in high school.  Recently, for a class project, I visited the Alliance Community Pantry.  This pantry serves so many people from the community every single day.  Families can go receive food to make it through their week.  The owner of the pantry said, “This food that our clients receive from us is ‘emergency food.’ It’s not going to be enough for them to survive on but it is enough to get them through.”  This means that if they are having a rough week with money they can go to the pantry to receive food for their family until they get their next paycheck and are able to go to the grocery store themselves.

Volunteers at the pantry help the clients go through and pick up the food.  Clients are only allowed a certain number of food items depending on the size of their family, so the volunteer also keeps track of that.  Next semester, it is my goal to volunteer more and specifically to volunteer at the Community Pantry once a week.

Another volunteer opportunity that I’m excited (and a tiny bit scared) about is giving blood.  I have never given blood in my life but have always wanted to.  Both my mom and dad have given blood for as long as I can remember and I really look up to them for that.  Giving blood is something that takes a half hour to an hour and helps save the lives of so many people across the world.  I’m nervous about giving because it’s my first time but I think a friend of mine who has given blood before and I are going to go together, so hopefully that will make it a little better. :]

If you’re someone who’s really interested in volunteer work, Alpha Phi Omega is the service fraternity on campus.  Although it’s called a fraternity, it is open to both males and females of all class ranks.  These students focus heavily on community service and volunteer work in the community and also have social events to bring the group together.  They seem like a great group of people and that is one thing I’d get involved with if I had more time.

Opportunities for volunteering are plentiful in the city and on campus. You just have to be willing to ask people if you can help.  Most people would love to receive extra help, and it makes me really happy to think that I can at least be making a tiny bit of a difference.

-Shannon