While her friends are off ice skating, watching holiday movies, or buying last minute gifts, junior Emily Chisholm will spend Dec. 23 volunteering in Children’s Mercy Hospital, making sure every patient has a perfect Christmas.
Chisholm is a member of the teen advisory board at Children’s. During the holiday season, many of the patients’ families don’t have the time or money to get gifts for their children. Chisholm and other volunteers set up a shop for the families so they are able to give their child a nice gift. The families pick out gifts for their children that the nurses then wrap and put in the patients’ rooms on Christmas morning. Chisholm works as a personal shopper in the store.
“I take the relatives of patients or volunteers through the shop and help them pick out the best gift for their patient,” Chisholm said.“I love helping them with that.”
The shop has a large selection of gifts for every kid, from toddlers to teens. The gift items include a variety of presents like Nerf toys, makeup kits and stuffed animals. Chisholm’s favorite part of volunteering is seeing how grateful the families are for the gifts, and how much joy they bring.
“The families know the holiday season means a lot for their patients,” Chisholm said, “When the patients can’t be home with their families for the holidays, it really hurts them. I just love seeing how appreciative the families really are.”
One case in particular had a strong impact on Chisholm last year, making her feel like she was making a difference.
“One older man started crying out of gratefulness, and it really touched me,” Chisholm said.
Chisholm is excited for many things this winter, but the Children’s Mercy holiday shop is at the top of her list.
“I am looking forward to just being able to give back again and make them happy. I want to help them have a better holiday season,” Chisholm said.
Chase Tetrick and Mick Wiggins
After a snow day is announced, as their classmates are sound asleep, sophomores Mick Wiggins and Chase Tetrick shovel away outside, hoping the snow will stop shortly. Their jackets, jeans and stocking caps let them move freely, but don’t keep out cold as well as traditional snow wear. After ten more driveways, they decide their day’s work is done. With $100 in their pockets, the snow day was a success.
Since the fifth grade, Tetrick and Wiggins have been shoveling driveways together and started their own lawn mowing business as they grew older. However, they wanted to make money in other seasons besides just spring and summer. This evolved their business into different seasonal jobs: mowing in spring and summer, raking leaves in fall, and shoveling in winter.
Now, with two snow blowers, shovels, an ice melt and a trailer holding their supplies, Tetrick and Wiggins get a lot of work done in a day, shoveling 10 to 15 driveways in around three hours. Depending on how much snow there is, the price for smaller driveways is $10 to $20 and $30 to $40 for bigger circle driveways. They like working in the mornings, from around 8-11 a.m.
“The best part of shoveling driveways is obviously making money, but also helping people, usually the elderly, be able to use their driveways in the winter,” Tetrick said.
After a long morning of shoveling, Tetrick and Wiggins usually go get lunch or hang out with friends.
“We just stop whenever we feel like stopping,” Wiggins said, “In between jobs, we take little breaks to relax and warm up.”
The boys still have some salt left over from last year, but they are planning for the winter ahead.
“We haven’t really done much yet, but ideally we want to buy salt and supplies soon before the first snow, so it’s cheaper,” Wiggins said.
Last year, senior Lauren Hunter realized that baking was a perfect way to relieve her stress and get her mind off things. Baking is something that she enjoys, but especially during the winter season when she can make things for her friends and family.
“Winter is a good time to bake because you get to use ingredients that are only good during certain seasons, like pumpkin and gingerbread,” Hunter said.
Hunter usually just bakes sweets, but tries to make them as healthy as possible by using ingredients such as agave nectar, a natural sweetener made from an agave plant, instead of syrup or honey. She also uses almond butter instead of peanut butter, and dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate.
“I love making things for my friends, though whenever I bake at home, my family eats a lot of it,” Hunter said.
Hunter’s favorite thing to bake is lemon cake. She has always been obsessed with Cafe Europa’s lemon cake, and she spent months looking for the recipe.
“I finally found a copycat recipe online, and I made it during the winter season last year,” Hunter said.
To make this cake, Hunter bakes two separate lemon cakes, which are later stuck together with frosting in the middle and topped with a lemon glaze. Another delicious recipe, one of Hunter’s favorites, is her grandma’s butterscotch cookies. They have been in her family for generations.
“My whole family loves them and we have to have them whenever we have a big family function, like for the holidays, and so I recently took over making them every time,” Hunter said.
This holiday season, Hunter is most looking forward to baking treats such as pumpkin bread and holiday waffles, which use cinnamon roll or pumpkin bread dough as waffle batter. She is excited to baking these treats for her friends and family.