Pasadena Memorial seniors gifts nonprofit $15,000 worth of electronics for children in CPS

One local nonprofit is gifting the gift of kindness to more nearly 13,000 children under the care of Child Protective Services.

Due to a donation from Pasadena Memorial High School students, BEAR, also known as Be A Resource for CPS Kids, were able to significantly increase their reach this year, providing more than $15,000 worth of gifts.

“Our community pulls through every time,” said Tammy Hetmaniak, BEAR’s Executive Director. “This year, the meaning is extra special because the world is suffering in so many ways, and we know that this affects the children even more.”

The 2020 senior class at Pasadena Memorial had organized the donation after their senior prom was canceled because of the pandemic. Their budget had already been allocated, however, senior Maya Arredondo said her class is one of resilience.

“We basically wanted it to be a magical night then Covid happened,” said Pasadena Memorial senior Maya Arredondo.

So, the students decided to turn prom into a senior raffle. With all of the gifts, including AirPods, Apple watches and Bluetooth speakers, the senior classes decided to donate the massive surplus of gifts to BEAR.

Many seniors forgoed their gifts to have them donated instead.

“There are people in the world who are going to utilize them better than we are,” said Arredondo.

“I’m not surprised by their generosity. The class of 2020 has shown time and time again what their hearts are truly about,” said Pasadena Memorial principal Jeremy Richardson.

Hetmaniak and her team at BEAR were floored by their generosity.

“That really just touched all of our hearts...that during Covid and with how many people who have struggled with so many things, there is still so much good coming out of people’s hearts,” Hetmaniak said.

Maria Neri works with the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and had been delivering gifts to the children under CPS care.

“I delivered all week...They’re just so excited!” Neri smiled.

Hetmaniak said the students’ gifts were heavily sought after and brought many smiles to many teens under CPS care.

“Every year, the teens you know...We all know when kids get older their gift requests increase in value and so we always put that message out to the community, ‘Don’t forget our teens,’...More than ever, we needed those electronics. In fact, the night that they brought those, we shopped almost 1,400 wish lists...and [those students] allowed us to do that,” Hetmaniak said.

Arredondo said the seniors were happy to give back and said they hope that the children under CPS care know how loved they truly are.

“They’re appreciated and they’re valued,” Arredondo said.

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