Santa's Secret Workshop Brings Joy

Dec 17, 2009

Here is a story that ran in the Grand Rapids Press on a program that Amway has been supporting for years. Enjoy!

By Kym
Reinstadler | The Grand Rapids Press

December 15, 2009, 2:27PM

GR1215Santas Secret.jpg

Campau Park Elementary student Briya Malone, 10, wraps gifts she
purchased at “Santa’s Secret Workshop,” Tuesday at the school. Amway’s One by
One Campaign for Children and Urban Family Ministries of Grand Rapids put on the
event, allowing children to buy for their families. Briya wrapped gifts for her
mom, dad, sisters, grandmas, and even her dog.

– Anthony Mabins had $12 to buy gifts for all eight family members on his
Christmas list, but the fifth-grader wasn’t sweating a tight budget.

That’s because he was shopping Tuesday at Santa’s Secret Workshop, a store
that takes over the libraries for two days each December at Campau Park
Elementary School and Southeast Academic Center.

“This is my favorite store,” said Anthony, 11, who attends Campau Park. “They
have the things that make a celebration and make your family happy.”

A selection of gift items are offered at bargain prices through the workshop,
a program of Amway’s One by One Campaign for Children, and Urban Family
Ministries of Grand Rapids.

Anthony chose bubble bath and hand lotion for his mom, a tape measure and
tool kit for his dad, earrings for his grandmother, manly smelling body wash for
his grandfather, pompons for his 10-year-old adopted sister, stocking caps for
his little sisters, and a gliding toy airplane for his cousin.

With a free “Santa Buck” coupon, he chose a $1 toy for his classroom gift

Even students who don’t have money to spend get a votive candle, candy and
coloring book from Amway volunteers to “regift” as they will.

Students shop wearing a lanyard with the word “consumer” to reinforce a
Junior Achievement lesson that buying things is a thread in a tapestry which is
the economy,

“Our people say it’s wonderful seeing young, urban children experience the
joy of giving to someone else,” said Dawnlynn Suttorp, Amway’s volunteer
coordinator. “For some, it may be the first time they’ve chosen a gift for a
friend, a classmate, and it’s a thrill.”

Suttorp and Campau Park Project Coordinator Anne Hoyt scout bargains all year
to stock Santa’s Secret Workshop, one of the most popular volunteer projects
among Amway employees.

Fifty-one percent of the 3,800 employees at Amway’s Ada Township facility
documented 17,160 hours of community service last year, Suttorp said.

Campau Park Principal Cynthia Jones said the school’s 282 students eagerly
anticipate their time to Christmas shop at school. This may be the only
opportunity a young child has to get a surprise gift for a parent.

But Anthony said he doubts he’ll be able to keep the presents he bought and
gift-wrapped at school on Tuesday a secret from his family until Christmas.

“They know this is the day, and they’re going to beg me to let them open
their presents,” Anthony said. “Until I do, they’re going to be annoying me like
a tick on fur.”

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