DANIEL CUEVAS ’21 | STAFF WRITER • Even as we near the end of first semester and prepare to return home for Christmas Break, Wabash College has not forgotten to give back to the community during the Christmas season. For decades now, Wabash has partnered with the Montgomery County Youth Services Bureau (MCYSB) for the REINdear Project. The MCYSB, an organization that helps young people become responsible citizens through several types of programs, coordinates with several schools, businesses, and individuals across the county to help out families in need during the holiday season. The MCYSB gathers wish lists from children of low-income families in the area and sends them to those who would like to act as adoptive parents by buying the items on these lists.
Adoptive parents are asked to buy two items from the list and two necessities, such as socks or a coat. David Troutman, the Director of Gift Planning, and Marianne Isaacs, the Assistant Director of Annual Giving, are responsible for organizing the REINdear Project at Wabash. Under their direction, the project has proven to be quite successful. “The MCYSB sent us a list of 50 children and all of them were adopted rather quickly,” Isaacs said. “Within the first email, more than half of these children had adoptive parents, which shows just how committed the school is in helping the Crawfordsville community.”
Troutman and Isaacs both agree that when Wabash is asked to participate in events like the REINdear Project, the school unites as one to live humanely. “That’s the joy of what we do, seeing the campus come together,” Troutman said. “There’s lots of faculty and staff who are regulars and look forward to adopting these children and buying them gifts. Often times, their own children will help them shop for these presents.”
“Sometimes we have fraternities, sports teams, departments, and individual professors adopting these children,” Isaacs said. “From our perspective, we get to see this entire campus subtly come together and make this happen.”
While most of the children live in dire economic situations every day, the gifts from this program are often life-changing and monumental. “There’s been one family that I have gotten to know over the years in particular,” Troutman said. “I remember showing up at their home and seeing the stove wide open with the elements turned on full blast, and that’s how they were heating their home.”
Luckily, the REINdear Project among other programs help to alleviate the economic hardships for the low-income families of Montgomery County. On Monday, December 18, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., the Knowling Fieldhouse will serve as the main collecting point for the program. Adoptive parents will bring their gifts while the actual parents will wrap these gifts and bring them to their children for Christmas. If any students are still on-campus that day, they are invited to come and watch as the community comes together for a greater cause.
“Seeing so many people volunteering and buying gifts is reaffirming that people still do love their neighbors,” Isaacs said. “That’s what Christmas is all about; giving to others and loving your neighbor.”