City’s holiday giving tree event allows students to lower stress by contributing to the Cupertino community.
As the semester comes to a close and final exams approach closer and closer, anxiety and stress are inevitable. If only there was a way to relieve pressure.
The Cupertino Teen Commission presents a simple solution.
The Teen Commission is holding its seventh annual “Giving Tree” event which gives students an opportunity to provide gifts in the form of gift cards, books, cosmetics, sports equipment, and other items for the underprivileged families supported by West Valley Community Services. Donations will be accepted at the Quinlan Community Center, Teen Center, City Hall, and various middle schools and high schools including MVHS. The donation window will close on Dec. 6. The Giving Tree is a great chance for students to help those who are less fortunate during this special time of the year while also alleviating their own academic stress.
According to research conducted recently by the US News, helping others can directly help manage tensions and anxieties effectively, as it evokes a feeling of accomplishment and pride in the giver. Giving gifts to others is a gift to oneself – helping another person and improving the community boosts our own self-esteem. A report by the Harvard Business School indicated that those who demonstrate more altruistic social interests tend to enjoy higher levels of mental health, in addition to the practical benefits of receiving help that one would expect.
In reality, the holiday “season of joy” shines very differently on some members of the community. Not everyone is fortunate enough to receive gifts from their families or partake in a jubilant holiday celebration. The Santa Clara County 2013 County Homeless Census & Survey identified a number of 1,266 unaccompanied minors and adults of age 25 or younger.
Just recently, a report conducted by the Mercury News revealed that Line 22 of the Valley Transportation Authority, the only bus route that runs 24 hours in the Santa Clara VTA system, has become an unofficial home each night to the region’s homeless, challenged by the struggles of finding shelters in the pricey Silicon Valley. Amid these hapless individuals is a father in his 40s, who sleeps sitting up in a back corner of the cold and dank bus every night with his daughter laying beside him, covered in a thin layer of blanket, and resting her head on a hard backpack as her pillow.
For these people, finding food to eat and shelter to sleep in is very arduous. Purchasing presents and holiday meals during this intended season of joy are out of the question.
For seven years, the Teen Commission has instilled the concept of care and love in the neighborhood with the “Giving Tree.” Amid rummaging through pages of textbooks and making study guides, it is easy for students to become caught up in stress and despair. But look again from a different perspective. While MVHS students commonly associate themselves with “academic stress,” many in the outside world are struggling with the stress of survival. “Stress” means something much more tangible for those who have no money, no family, no home and no opportunity to be a part of this holiday season. Students should use the giving tree as an opportunity to help another person in the community and at the same time, they will reap a psychological reward from giving.
If you would like to participate in the “Giving Tree” and help someone in the community, visit this link.