Amanda Simmons/Press-Tribune
amanda@bossierpress.com

Santa Claus is getting a little extra help this year.
The Airline High School Blue Angels recently shopped, bought and wrapped the perfect gifts for some very special kids. It’s part of a community service project the team decided to do this year.

Blue Angels sponsor Afton Johnston wanted the team to pay it forward and it didn’t take much convincing to get the girls onboard. Senior team captain Caroline Cooper was immediately in love with the idea. “We’re so fortunate and blessed throughout the year,” Cooper said. “The thought of giving back really excited me.”

The team chose names from an Angel Tree and got to work. The girls donated their own money to buy gifts and shopped in groups for their child. “We had a one-year-old girl,” Cooper said. “We got her a stuffed animal, a pink outfit and some socks. I hope she knows she’s loved and that there’s someone looking out for her.” Cooper said it was really fun to see the team get into it and be so excited about giving back to the community.

It’s something junior Caroline Clayton enjoys doing with her family every year.
“The more lives we can touch, the better,” Clayton said. “It’s important to think about others rather than ourselves. Making an impact on our community is what makes me feel good.”

Clayton’s group shopped for a 14-year-old boy, who had a pretty simple wish list.
“He wanted some books and a Bible,” Clayton said. “The whole time we were shopping, I kept thinking that this is going to make him so happy and bring so much joy to his life.”
She, too, hopes he will feel extra loved this Christmas.

“I think we sometimes forget how special it feels to get gifts and how blessed we are to have all these things in our lives,” Clayton said. “We’re not giving him a lot, but we’ve giving him all the love that we have. I hope he knows that when he opens it.”
Johnston is proud of her team for not only using their money for this project, but for seeing the value in helping others.

“It’s wonderful. It just warms my heart,” she said. “These girls get to experience a wonderful Christmas, but to have them make someone else’s Christmas special is something I know I’ll always remember and I hope they will too. I hope this is something they will carry with them year after year and into their adulthood.”
Johnston added that she hopes to make this a yearly tradition for the team.

Photos by Amanda Simmons: 

Members of the Airline High School Blue Angels recently shopped for Christmas gifts for some special kids. Their community service project this month was to pick names from an Angel Tree and find them the perfect gifts, which they bought with their own money.

The Airline High School Blue Angels recently shopped for Christmas gifts for some special kids. Their community service project this month was to pick names from an Angel Tree and find them the perfect gifts, which they bought with their own money. Sponsor Afton Johnston hopes to make this a yearly tradition.

Sophomore Sydni Ellen Littleton (left) and junior Caroline Clayton (right) wrap a gift for one of the children they selected from an Angel Tree. That child will receive the gifts through a local ministry just in time for Christmas.