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Campus Staff Fulfill Wish Lists of RICA Students

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JHU Montgomery County Campus staff members turned into elves this holiday season, purchasing gifts for students who need a helping hand.

For the 21st year, campus staff members fulfilled the wishes of students attending the John L. Gildner Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents, or RICA. RICA, a special education school for students with emotional disabilities, autism, specific learning disabilities or other health issues, provides day and residential treatment programs. It is next door to the JHU campus. RICA students typically ask for basic items. This year, the wish list included sweatpants, winter hats, sweatshirts, pants and T-shirts.

“Every child should get at least one gift for the holidays, and for some of the children at RICA, the gifts we give them may be the only ones they get,” said Paula Kramer, the campus administrative coordinator who organizes the gift drive each year. “That is the reason we have continued this tradition for more than 20 years now. It makes those of us on the giving end feel equally as good as the RICA kids on the receiving end.”

Some RICA students come from families that don’t have the financial resources to provide their children with gifts during the holiday season.

The wish list is forwarded to Kramer, who coordinates the initiative for the Hopkins staff.

Last year, one student expressed his thanks by writing: “I appreciate all the gifts you got me for Christmas. You are a blessing, and I hope you guys have a wonderful, happy and peaceful holiday.”

Marlayna Proctor, RICA director of community resources and development, said the holiday season can be a challenging time for many RICA students.

“We would like to offer our most heartfelt and sincere thanks for your numerous contributions,” Proctor said. “It was awe inspiring to see the amount of love and care that was put into each and every one of the gifts our students received.”

CATEGORY: K-12 Outreach, In The Community