Woman starts holiday gift drive for teens


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Not every kid has a chance to open a gift during the holidays, but one Champaign-Urbana woman is trying to change that.

Colleen Dorsla says a lot of gift drives tend to focus on younger kids this time of year. She wants to make sure teens feel appreciated, too. Dorsla says the pandemic has brought on more challenges for teenagers such as depression, loneliness, and stress.

Dorsla started the “Holiday Elf Teen Gift Program” to match a Champaign-Urbana teenager in need with a “volunteer elf”.

“I have 13, 14, 15, and 16 year-olds in my house. I just started thinking about their friends, and just certain situations where parents have spoken to me [about struggles], says Dorsla. “The older they get, the more things fall by the wayside for them.”

Dorsla says she is surprised by the amount of families that signed up already. Around 170 teens are lined up to receive gifts from their volunteer elf.

Monday, November 11 is the last day for a family to sign up their teen. To do that, click here.

If you’d like to sign up to become a gift-giving elf, click here.

You can also contact Colleen Dorsla at this email address: theholidayelf2020@gmail.com

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.