It was one of those moments that you are fortunate to experience… like so many others over the past 30 years. I am frequently reminded that the mission at the heart of our work at St. Joseph’s Indian School is truly a blessing for all who are open to it!
It started with our yearly Christmas Store, held on December 12 this year. Like many other caring staff, I volunteered to assist as our students select Christmas gifts for their family members. The Christmas Store comes about because of the generosity of so many. Students are able to select gifts for their siblings and family members. It is an opportunity to give someone a present that they might not otherwise have.
Throughout the day, some staff help students pick out gifts. Others, like me, volunteer to help wrap presents. There’s music playing and Santa Claus is here. St. Joseph’s high school students even assist the younger students. It is a lot of fun!
After assisting a couple of students in wrapping their presents, there was a short break between groups… And there it sat on a table full of wrapping paper.
It was a letter to Santa Claus.
I was not sure where it came from, but it had all the magic that a letter to Santa should have. It had a few misspellings and imperfect penmanship, just as a child’s letter should. But it was magic nonetheless. It asked for gifts for her siblings, and she had drawn a few pictures.
But mostly, I was struck by the spirit of the letter! Simply stated, this child was given the opportunity to ‘Believe’ in the magic of Christmas.
With this being the Christmas Season, I find there are a number of Christmas movies that give one perspective. In the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Baily sees a world without himself in it! This led me to the question, what would the world be like without St. Joseph’s Indian School? What if we did not have so many generous supporters? What kind of Christmas would our students and their families have?
How would their lives be impacted?
Thirty years ago, my wife and I were fortunate to come to St. Joseph’s Indian School. Back then, the plan was to take a year and see if we could make a difference. And what we have 30 years later is a lifetime full of memories and many instances where the Mission impacted us far more than we impacted the Mission. So what George Baily realized, I too realized. How truly lucky I am to be part of this wonderful Mission that is St. Joseph’s Indian School.
That student letter was a simple reminder of the magic that is in the hearts of our students, their families, the staff and our supporters. It is you, our supporters, and your generosity that allows the Spirit of the Mission to thrive each and every day on our campus. And it is during this important Christmas Season that your generosity is most apparent in the eyes of the children we serve!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! The Spirit is alive! God Bless!
Mike, St. Joseph’s President