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President's Scholars Help to Make the Holidays Bright

Nov. 20, 2013

A man wearing a CSUF sweatshirt helps a little girl pick a toy.

President Scholar Chris Harraka helps a young girl select a toy during last year's Boys and Girld Club of Fullerton holiday festivities. The President's Scholars will again be volunteering at the organization's Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas party.

Between classes, studying and other responsibilities during this holiday season, Cal State Fullerton's Presidents Scholars will be joining the Boys and Girls Club of Fullerton in two annual programs: a Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas party and toy giveaway.

The annual programs serve approximately 1,000 youngsters and their families. During the Nov. 21 dinner, the scholars will serve food, greet and mingle with guests and play games with the children. At the Dec. 14 Christmas party, they will be assisting in cookie decorating, arts and crafts, the visit with Santa and other duties as needed.

"We've had this amazing partnership with the Boys and Girls Club for about two years and its just been amazing," said Deanna Merino-Contino, director of the President's Scholars program for high-achieving students demonstrating strong academic achievement, leadership and community service.

"We feel that its important to give back to our own community, and working with the Boys and Girls Club, as well as the (Richman) Teen Center, allows us to interact with the families and the students to provide them an opportunity to see higher education as an option for them. So not only do we do service with the club, we also give workshops on how to get into college, how to apply for scholarships and what the students' options are.

"This will be my first year volunteering at both of these events. I am incredibly excited to work with the Boys and Girls Club of Fullerton to help give these children and their families the holiday season everyone deserves," said Nikki Knapp, scholars social chair and a junior communications-public relations major.

"The President's Scholars Program has enriched my life and I think I speak for all of the scholars when I say that giving back to the community is the most important part of our scholarship. We have all been given an amazing opportunity and we strive to never take that for granted and to be as influential as possible. The Thanksgiving dinner and the Christmas party remind me of how blessed I am to have this opportunity. I am so thankful that I can be a small part of someone else's blessing."

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