Seton Hall’s “12 Acts of Christmas Kindness” is an initiative that encourages students and faculty to perform 12 acts of kindness as the holidays approach.
The movement was inspired by Hillary Sadlon (‘14), a former nursing student who performed 22 acts of kindness to celebrate turning 22 in 2013.
She inspired the University to start this initiative, according to the Seton Hall website.
The initiative also focuses on two current Seton Hall students, Jeremy Garriga, a junior social behavioral science major, and Jaquelin Rivas-Tejada, a junior nursing student. They are helping to further encourage students to participate as they continue to give back to the community.
“I became involved in this initiative because it closely relates to the work that I have been doing since my sophomore year in high school.
Basically, I developed empathy for the homeless population through my volunteer work at a homeless shelter,” Garriga said. “Witnessing this type of lifestyle motivated me to start my non-profit, Soxcess Inc.”
The non-profit, created in 2010, helps raise awareness about homelessness and provides basic necessities such as new socks and winter clothing to shelters and other non-profits, Garriga explained. Additionally, Garriga has volunteered with a variety of organizations and reached out to a number of people during the holiday season.
Through these selfless acts and working with people who are in need of help, Garriga said, “If you pour your heart and soul into doing for others, it becomes addictive. There is no walking away from this type of work.”
The Division of Volunteer Efforts (DOVE) is helping to push this initiative further by continuing to conduct toy drives, food drives and foster additional acts of kindness.
“Christmas is a time of celebration and gift-giving. One of the greatest needs in this world, and therefore greatest gifts we can give, is humble kindness,” Michelle Peterson, director of DOVE, said. “Seton Hall takes this time of year to direct our focus away from ourselves and toward making life easier for another. Whether something small or large, spontaneous or planned, we can each spread Christ’s love at Christmas.”
DOVE has also worked with Rivas-Tejada, who has created a soccer program at the Youth Center in her hometown, Orange, N.J.
Students are able to help through various acts, which include participating in DOVE’s toy drive, donating a coat at the SHU coat drive, sending Christmas cards to soldiers overseas through the Red Cross and more.
“Students that are donating gifts will most likely be providing a child with the only Christmas gifts that they will receive this year. We reach out to organizations that are in most need and thanks to the generosity of the students, parents have the ability to give their children gifts on Christmas that they wouldn’t otherwise receive,” Amanda Cavanagh, assistant director of DOVE, said.
Cavanagh explained that because this campaign focuses on giving back, it is one of many reasons why Seton Hall is one of the best Christmas schools.
Nisha Desai can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.