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In This Community, Elves are Everywhere


Julianett Vazquez works on her reindeer gift bag

With presents in tow for 26 North Godwin Elementary School kindergartners, Dutton Christian School sixth-graders helped the younger students make gift bags and cards for their parents.

“This is the best day ever, because we are making presents for our parents,” said excited kindergartner Abul Anyar.

Dutton students Dahlea Abdoo, Chloe Koster, Lilly Harkema and Anna Haverdink were taking part in their school’s annual “Give This Christmas Away,” community-service project.

Each year students break into groups to visit North Godwin and many other locations, where they present gifts and spend time with others.

Max Miller shows the ornament he made for his parents

An anonymous donor provides $100 for gifts for people at each site, a total of 28 locations this year, said Wendy Vostad, sister-in-law to North Godwin teacher Holly Vostad.

Along with the crafts, sixth-graders read stories to students.

Holly Vostad said her kindergartners love the extra attention from people who care about them. “They just light up,” she said.

Anna said she enjoyed her time at North Godwin. “I want to be a kindergarten teacher and I love to hang out with little kids,” she said. “I like Christmas a lot and it’s fun to help other kids have a good Christmas, too.”

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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