Giving Tree brings blessings to Bears

A number of Chandler Intermediate School students and their siblings had something special to smile about this holiday season.

These children benefited from the Bear Blessings Giving Tree program, an initiative spearheaded by Chandler Intermediate Principal Lisa Brown and CIS Counselor Stephanie Pulido, to provide Christmas gift assistance to CIS families in need.

“We have many families within our campus community that have experienced financial hardships,” Pulido said. “We wanted to help ease the stress of the season and have a meaningful participation in the spreading of holiday cheer to the students we serve.”

Letters were distributed to students in November informing parents of the program and asking families in need to provide information.

Setting it up like a traditional ‘angel tree,’ Pulido then sought the support of ‘givers’ to help fulfill the wishes and requests of the needy families. She reached out to parents, PTO members, teachers, business owners and anyone who was willing to help.

According to Pulido, the results were overwhelming. “The collective effort of the faculty, staff, students, district personnel, community and business members far surpassed my expectations,” she said. Over 250 gifts were donated, wrapped and ready to deliver to BISD homes by the beginning of the holiday break.

“I am especially proud of my teachers and my district colleagues at the administrative level at BISD,” bragged CIS Principal Lisa Brown. The teachers voted to provide for the Bear Blessings Giving Tree rather than exchange presents between staff. Several generous BISD administrators, and even the high school cheerleader sponsor, jumped on board the program by donating gifts.

For one CIS teacher, Sheila Beasley, providing gifts for this program served a deeper purpose. “These gifts we gave in the memory of our precious angel, Haile,” Beasley explained. She and her husband, Brian, lost their daughter in a fatal automobile accidents just seven months ago. “Haile loved Christmas … it was her favorite holiday.” The Beasleys felt their contributions provided a fitting tribute to their beloved daughter.

“I hope this is only the beginning,” Pulido said. This year’s Bear Blessing Giving Tree program provided assistance for approximately 40 children from 15 families involved in our CIS campus. “I would like for next year’s program to build upon this success and grow to touch even more families’ lives - perhaps it could even become a district-wide program.”