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The Angel (Tree) of Riga

By Mary Miller

12/24/2013

The Angel (Tree) of Riga
The International School of Latvia’s Angel Tree (photo: ISL).
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Latvia is not only home to the very first Christmas tree—it is also home to a very caring school community. Every December the International School of Latvia’s (ISL) primary years program (PYP) student council sponsors a special fund-raising event to help their host country and show their holiday spirit.

For the last 14 years ISL has organized an Angel Tree Event, to benefit two wards of the Public Children’s Clinical University Hospital in Riga. The Children’s and Pediatric Palliative Care ward helps terminally ill children and their families, by providing medical care to help control the children’s symptoms so that they can live as full a life as they can and be at home with their families wherever possible. (They also provide psychological and spiritual support, as well as helping families after the death of their loved ones.) The hematology ward, the only ward of its kind in Latvia, houses 20 to 30 children (who are being treated for blood diseases) and their families.

During the first weeks of December a fir tree is set up in the lobby, and adorned with lights and angels, carefully hand decorated with the name and age of each child in need. The children being treated at the Children’s Clinical University Hospital are asked by staff what gift would make their holiday time a little brighter. Students, parents, and teachers at ISL choose the name of an angel child, purchase, and wrap the specially requested gift.

The gifts are collected and organized by staff, and delivered to the children before the winter holiday break. The gifts are given to the children either by ISL or hospital staff. For many of the children at the hospital, this is one of the few gifts they will receive for Christmas.

Over the years this event has grown at ISL, and many families choose the same child's name year after year. This very special event has allowed ISL students to reach out to their host country and show their caring spirit, and the children at the hospital look forward to it every year.

If you would like to participate in ISL’s Angel Tree tradition, contact Ms. Miller at mmiller@isl.edu.lv.




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01/17/2014 - manuel
THIS IS A GREAT SPIRIT SHARED AND GIVEN BY ISL, BIG CONGRATULATIONS FROM HERE BOGOTA, COLOMBIA. SMALL REVOLUTIONS CHANGING THE WORLD. THANKS FOR DOING THIS.

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