This year, Randolph hosted its 31st Under the Christmas Tree holiday market. This market, held in the Von Braun Center, is the School’s most visible and largest fundraising event. Proceeds from the market support tuition assistance for qualified students. As anyone here at the School could tell you, UTCT wouldn’t happen without a team of dedicated and hardworking volunteers.
We asked parent Jennifer Swoboda, the Chair of this year’s event, to tell us why she chose to dedicate her time to such a major undertaking. Here is what she had to say:
This is our fourth year as a Randolph family and we’re loving every minute of it. As with life, I’d say you get out of it what you put in, and that couldn’t be more true for our School experience.
I often get asked how I know so many people at school or some little-known detail about an upcoming event or who to call with certain questions. We are very fortunate that our school is well organized, and our amazing faculty and staff handle so many details that we, as parents, don’t have to, but there are still many opportunities to get involved, be better informed, and get to know our faculty and other families.
The way I connected early on was by volunteering at Under the Christmas Tree, and I always encourage friends and new families to get involved.
As with life, I’d say you get out of it what you put in.
Under The Christmas Tree (UTCT) is the School’s largest fundraiser. It takes an army of volunteers (125 this year!) to pull off this event, and there is a great deal of coordination between the Advancement team and the parent supporters. It’s hard work but also lots of fun.
This year I had the privilege of chairing the event and it was a real joy to experience UTCT on a larger scale. The camaraderie truly exemplifies the “One Randolph” spirit. I had new parents call to ask for a job because they wanted to support the School and others, who have been volunteering for many years, text me a note of encouragement or ask if they could help fill any gaps. From when our planning committees started meeting back in February to the event itself, I deepened connections within our community and witnessed others do the same.
I deepened connections within our community and witnessed others do the same.
I came across a group of moms having a great time, giggling as they wrapped gingerbread house kits, and had the pleasure of meeting dads who swung by to haul supplies before heading to work, just because they had a few extra minutes and wanted to do what they could to be supportive. We had sets of friends with a great knack for decorating lend their skills. Those who love art or children’s activities rolled up their sleeves to help with special events. The beauty of the event is that there is something for everyone who is looking for a way to widen their circle of Randolph friends while supporting the School.
Thank you to Randolph’s Abby Guasti, the planning committee, our sponsors and our volunteers for making UTCT 2015 a huge success. We’ve gotten wonderful reviews from our vendors and the community at large, and you will never fully know the amount of gratitude we owe each of you.
Each day ended with my feet aching, but with a smile on my face for having been a part of something larger than myself. It’s not just about supporting programs that directly impact my child, but supporting a place that believes we are all in this together to create exceptional experiences for everyone.
Jennifer Swoboda is a proud Randolph parent with one daughter in the 3rd grade. She is the Strategic Solutions Manager for an engineering software company, with a passion for volunteering, who is involved with numerous organizations and events around town.
The 2016 market will be held November 4-6. For information about participating in next year's market, please contact Abby Guasti.