The spirit of giving has been easy to find this holiday season in the Oak Hills Local School District. Students and staff have been working hard to see that members of the community have food, winter wear and gifts under their trees for the holidays.

Generous Oakdale students and families brought in toiletries, shampoo, laundry soap, socks, hats and mittens for families in the community who are struggling during this time of year.  Some Oakdale parents also chose an ornament off of the Oakdale Giving Tree and 10 families will have presents for Christmas for all of their children in the home this year.

“Thank you very much to all of the parents and staff who chose an ornament,” Oakdale school nurse Stana Ruebusch asid. “We’d also like to thank our partners White Oak Christian Church, Dr. Anne Banta DDS’s office, Bridgetown Baptist Church and Nick and Tom’s restaurant for sponsoring our families as well.”

The S.M.A.SH. (Springmyer Movers and Shakers) Leadership Club recently concluded an outreach project that aimed at collecting hats, gloves, scarves and toys. The hats, gloves and scarves will be heading to Pre K to sixth grade students in the South Avondale School District, since many of these students wait at bus stops or walk to school without winter protective wear. Springmyer also worked in conjunction with the Linnig family, who experienced a Christmas away from home when their youngest daughter had to be hospitalized during the holidays several years ago. The Linnigs are a Springmyer family who give back by providing gifts that are distributed to the children who are not able to be home with their families. Along with the toys, club members will also be distributing no-sew flannel blankets they made to give to patients at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

The Delshire Elementary community and the Oak Hills High School softball team came together for a second year in a row to support families in need. For the team’s Christmas party, each of the players brought gifts and food items to be donated to the Delshire snack sack and caring and sharing programs. This program has helped a total of 25 families this year. That means 92 children will have something to look forward to this Christmas.

“We appreciate the support from this great group of young ladies,” Tracy Combs of the caring and sharing team at Delshire added.

Students at Oak Hills High School were also helping to make a difference by holding several collections throughout the building. Beginning in October, senior Kaitlyn Clinkenbeard held the second annual sock drive with the help of Ms. Ploeh’s and her tartan time class. This “Socksgiving” was held from October 31- November 17, and the socks collected went to City Gospel Mission, an organization based in Cincinnati that aims to break the cycle of poverty. Students were inspired to make a difference after completing a lesson on homelessness.

The giving at Oak Hills didn’t end there. Junior Abby Kromme has been spearheading a Toys for Tots drive that began on November 28.  All toys that were collected will be donated to Toys for Tots to help underprivileged children under the age of 13 around the tri-state area. When asked what inspired Kromme to start the drive, she highlighted giving back to the community and stated, “The class officers and I decided we wanted to do something that could benefit our whole community, rather than just our school.” Kromme hopes that the drive becomes a legacy they can leave behind even after they graduate from Oak Hills.

Members of the district office team adopted a district family with four children this season and collected toys and clothing to make their season bright.

Lastly, second and third grade language immersion students from Oakdale and J.F. Dulles elementary schools collected gifts for three Hispanic families in the area through Su Casa, an organization that provides aid to local Latino families. Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Lempert, along with a few volunteers from their classes, helped to hand out the gifts and cookies at an event at the Su Casa headquarters in Cincinnati. Over 200 families were able to have Christmas this year from donated gifts. Our young Highlander students even got a chance to use their Spanish speaking skills while participating in the event!

We are proud of the giving spirit within Oak Hills and are glad we can give back to our community who gives us so much. #highlanderstrong #chooseoakhills