The act of giving is itself a gift.

No matter the size or value of a gift, the act of sharing it with a loved one can warm the heart of any giver.

The students at Burroughs-Molette Elementary will have the opportunity today to “buy” presents for their families at a Christmas shop set up inside the school. The shop has been filled with items donated by the community.

Students will be able to bring just a couple pennies, which they can exchange for the wide range of gifts available in the shop.

“It brings a lot of joy to the students,” said Earlene Dickson, Communities in Schools site coordinator at Burroughs-Molette Elementary. “It’s a lot of excitement that they get to hand pick an item for somebody in their family … They get to write their card, and then the volunteers actually help them wrap the presents.”

The idea for the store was first proposed several years ago by Donna Collins, a volunteer with Communities in Schools. But the store hadn’t been set up for several years.

That’s why the new Communities in Schools Student Advisory Board stepped in. The four-member board, formed this school year, is a group of local high school students who have volunteered to help support Communities in Schools, a nonprofit that works to help at-risk students of all ages graduate from high school.

“I’ve actually done the Christmas store before,” said William Brock, a CIS Student Advisory Board member.

He worked in the store years ago with his mom, who also volunteered with CIS.

“Whenever I heard they weren’t doing the store anymore, I was like ‘Hey, we should do that,’ because I remember how much fun that was,” he said.

Brock, a junior at Frederica Academy, put out a call for donations and within days began receiving a constant onslaught of gifts for the store.

The idea of the Student Advisory Board, Brock said, is to give back to the community in a meaningful way.

“Our moms have all worked for Communities in Schools,” said Ellie Watkins, one of the founding board members and a sophomore at Glynn Academy. “… We were inspired by that and how much good they were doing and how much it’s really affecting the schools.”

Nearly 20 students at Frederica Academy serve as members of the CIS Student Advisory group. Those students played a major role in getting the Christmas shop set up, and some will be volunteering in the store today as students come through to pick out gifts.

“I’m so excited that this is actually happening,” Watkins said. “… We wouldn’t be able to do it without all the help of our members. We’re so excited we can be a part of this.”

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