Today, the University of Sioux Falls’ Vucurevich School of Business delivered gifts collected for the Adolescent Avera Behavioral Health-Children programs. 

The Christmas fundraiser ran throughout the month of December. Students, faculty, staff and alumni collected coloring books, boxes of markers and crayons, school supplies, paint supplies, board games and white board items.

“The donations were incredible, more than anyone could have hoped or imagined.” said Brad Van Kalsbeek, associate professor of accounting at USF, who organized the fundraiser.

The Avera Behavioral Health-Children programs serve children ages 5 to 12 and adolescents ages 13 to 18 years. Most of these children are struggling with a mental illness that severely affects their ability to stay safe or to simply be a “kid”.

Christmas is a particularly difficult season for a child to be hospitalized and it can be a very sad and stressful time for the child’s entire family.

“The gifts given freely from the heart of USF means the world to our patients,” said Colleen Weber, nurse and manager of Child Adolescent Programs at Avera Behavioral Health. “They send a message to the children that other people beyond their immediate family care about them, giving a hope that can help to fill their sometimes-empty cup with joy.”

According to Van Kalsbeek, this was an opportunity for the generous outpouring of students, faculty and staff, alumni and other groups to live out USF’s Culture for Service motto. 

“This is what the USF community is all about,” said Van Kalsbeek. “It brings our community joy to support one another and those in need at Avera."

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