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The Simplest Gesture

As I sat in my office today, listening to Christmas music and trying to cross things off of my to-do list, I received such a lovely surprise from my mom. It was a reminder to me that even the simplest gestures can make a huge impact on the joy of another during the holiday season.

Back in July, we gave my mom’s preschool class all of the leftover picture frames from the One Fine Day for the United Way golf tournament and day at Keswick Hall. The frames were a generous donation from First Systems & Resources, a local, family-owned printing and promotional products business. After the event, we realized that we had ordered about twenty too many and since the frames were engraved with the date, we couldn’t save them for next year’s event.

After hearing me talk about saving paper towel rolls and egg cartons for my mom’s class, the staff here thought that her group may really enjoy these picture frames. So, that weekend, I dropped off two tote bags full of frames for the preschool class at A.G. Richardson Elementary in Culpeper, Virginia.

AG Richardson Picture Frames 2It was so long ago that our staff had nearly forgotten about the frames. We were all surprised when my mom’s email came this morning filled with pictures of the children in her class, proudly holding up their newly decorated picture frames.

These simple wooden rectangles that were once meant for the participants in our summer event have now been transformed into beautiful, thoughtful Christmas creations for these children to share with their families this year. The children she works with had a wonderful time sprinkling the frames with glitter, adorning them with stickers and personalizing them as a gift for their family.

All of this reminds me that what may seem like an item we would normally put in the trashcan or recycling bin could be transformed into a beautiful and meaningful piece of artwork.  I am so happy that each of these students had something to take home after school yesterday that they were proud of and excited about.

AG Richardson Picture Frames 1

We can all make a difference. Not only during the holiday season, but all year. Whether you have an hour to spend with someone at a nursing home, five dollars to donate to a local charity or a bag of saved paper towel rolls for school craft projects, you can make a significant difference in the life of someone else.

A special thanks to Ms. Cain and Ms. Jarrell’s preschool class for sharing their artwork with us!


Wishing each of you a safe, peaceful and joyous holiday!


Posted by: Jessica Snyder, United Way Volunteer Center Director

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