FAIRFIELD — During the holidays, there are a lot of great fundraisers and drives for children in need.
But Bob Dellarosby wonders, what about the teenagers? Who is fundraising for their needs?
More than 20 years ago, Dellarosby was looking at the angel tree in the Solano mall when he noticed that many on the wish lists written by teens weren’t taken.
So Dellarosby took those cards so people could fulfill them. And who better to buy a gift from a teen than other teenagers?
He took some cards to the Fairfield High School leadership class with the hope that they’d take as many as 10 cards. They took 50. That year alone, teenagers from high schools across Solano County helped Dellarosby buy Christmas gifts for 900 teens.
That, Dellarosby said, was the moment when Teens Helping Teens was birthed.
For 20 years now, Dellarosby has teamed up with high school students from Vallejo and Fairfield to help fulfill the wishes of thousands of teens in need during the holidays.
This year, students from Fairfield High School, Rodriguez High, Vanden High, Jesse Bethel High, Armijo High, and St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School are participating. As Dellarosby pointed out, these students come from all walks of life and all social circles – they are cheerleaders, basketball players, band students and leadership students.
The students volunteer to take at least one or more card per person. Each card is written anonymously for either a teenage boy or girl with their clothing size and one or more items they wish for.
Dellarosby said the wishes range greatly. Some just want what every other teenager has, a bike, an iPod or a video game player. Others ask for the simplest things such as school supplies, a backpack or a warm clothes Dellarosby said.
Sometimes, however, there’s nothing on a wish list. That’s where teens helping teens comes in.
Not only are teens very giving, Dellarosby said, but they know best what other teens need and want.
“Other programs do a lot for little kids but not for teens,” Fairfield High student Shariel Santiago said. “(This program) is cool because we know what they would want.”
Some students from Rodriguez and Fairfield High schools said it’s heartbreaking to know that many of their peers can’t celebrate Christmas because of need.
“It gives you a sense of perspective,” Rodriguez High student Alanna Robertson said.
Even though some of the gifts are expensive, such as iPods, the students said they’ll team up or do whatever they have to do to fulfill a wish list.
The Jesse Bethel High School cheer team is also teaming up to buy other teens bikes, makeups and clothes. Not only does this give them perspective, it also reminds them that life isn’t all about material goods.
“A lot of people are not as blessed as you are,” Ronnie Pierce said. ” Life isn’t about being materialistic.”
“It makes you appreciate the things you have,” Shayna Bryant added.
To learn more about Teens Helping Teens, visit www.solanotht.wordpress.com.
Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.