CANTON Alijah Curtis, a McKinley High School alumna and sophomore at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, recently collected and donated more than $2,000 worth of toys and games for children living at the YWCA Canton Emergency Homeless Shelter.
“When I arrived home for winter break, helping kids during the holidays was put on my heart,” Curtis said. “I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a blessing to others and I knew Ms. Shana would be able to help make my vision a reality.”
YWCA Canton CEO Shana Smith said she’s grateful for Curtis’s generosity.
“I was deeply moved by Alijah’s desire to help those most in need during this holiday season,” she said. “While Alijah could have spent his time connecting with friends and families, he chose to figure out how to give back to our community.
“Without hesitation, our team immediately dropped what we were doing and turned toward helping Alijah carry out his heart’s desire. We are blessed to know that we have partners of all ages who are committed to helping the YWCA fulfill its mission.”
Curtis visited the YWCA on Dec. 22 to receive wish lists for children living in the homeless shelter, located at 231 Sixth St. NE. With less than 48 hours before Christmas Eve, he had his work cut out for him.
“I believe there is no such thing as a late blessing and thanks to my friends and family I was able to shop for and wrap each gift in less than 24 hours,” he said.
In addition to toys and games, Curtis also bought clothing, diapers and food.
Among the 10 children receiving items, two are getting something a little more than gifts this Christmas.
“When I found out someone wanted to help out our kids, I asked if we could include a family in our childcare program,” said Karma Cline, director of childcare at YWCA Canton. “One of our preschool families living in a local homeless shelter found out they were being placed in permanent housing and could move in on Christmas Eve.”
Cline said Curtis’s gift meant the family had gifts under the tree in their new home on Christmas morning.
But Curtis said he’s the one who’s been blessed.
“Being able to give back to my community is the best gift that I could ever receive,” he said. “I just want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way.”
Article from Canton Repository. Click here to view.