Program Council combines service with fun

Isabella Abbott | Features Editor | Ethan Delp, the executive director of the Duquesne Program Council, paints a Christmas ornament during Friday night's "Season of Giving" event, which took place in the NiteSpot.

Isabella Abbott | Features Editor

Nov. 10, 2022

Although Christmas time hasn’t come just yet, the Duquesne Program Council hosted its “Season of Giving” event this past week.

On Friday night, in the newly renovated NiteSpot, students got in the Christmas spirit and decorated ornaments for themselves, while also making blankets and scarves for local charities and shelters.

While some participants went for the fun of making their own unique ornaments, others went for the service and made blankets and scarves that will be donated to St. Vincent de Paul, a nonprofit organization in Pittsburgh.

Ethan Delp, the council’s executive director, was excited for the night because of its ability to help the community around him. He said that “it was nice to do something bigger than ourselves.”

“This one, we were especially excited about just because we also had the donation drive,” Delp said. “We have the blanket-making specifically for that, that we’re going to donate to St. Vincent DePaul, to go to any homeless or at risk populations.”

As they walked into the event, students were able to pick from many different sizes and styles of ornaments to decorate like large clear, medium white or small sparkly ornaments. Dozens of different paint brush sizes, paint colors and stickers also lined the tables.

The set-up could have easily been mistaken for a scene straight out of the “Elf,” with all of the decorating materials laid out in an orderly fashion, along with the amount of supplies available for the students — or elves in this scenario.

Delp said the ornament making was fun for everyone who decided to come and decorate.

“We have different types, all sorts of paint decals,” Delp said. “People really seem to be getting creative and enjoying it.”

Some of the decals available included small, plastic sparkly red and brown reindeers, white snowmen and red Santas. Bowls piled high with fake snow, and Mod Podge provided more creativity for a globe-like ornament for those who attended.

To get students even more excited and ready for the upcoming holiday season, a table full of festive snacks like sugar, chocolate and double chocolate cookies were up for grabs, along with a large jug of hot chocolate.

Paint colors students could choose from included classic Christmas colors like silver, white and gold, as well as many other bright and bold colors like light purple, turquoise, pink, dark blue, green and red. Although there wasn’t a specific design or way to decorate the ornaments, students could be seen mixing the colors and swirling them around to create a marble effect, or even just using one color to create a monochrome effect.

Elizabeth Solenday, the council’s recreation director, helped coordinate the event. She said it was specifically made to combine fun with community service.

“We decided to do this because it benefits the community around us, and it’s something fun to do to celebrate the holidays on a Friday night,” Solenday said.

Olivia Gieske, a general member of the council, said that the organization made a total of 34 scarves and two knot-style blankets in the span of less than two hours that night. The variety of different-designed blankets and scarves were then taken for donation to the homeless community of Pittsburgh, at a perfect time of year to receive them.

Although the crowd wasn’t as big as the amount of ornaments bought, which was around 50, the atmosphere there was filled with smiles and festivity, while the blankets, scarves and ornaments were being made and the soft cookies were enjoyed.

The Duquesne Program Council is just beginning their lineup of Christmas season events. The annual Night Of Lights, which includes activities like a photo booth, train rides, caroling and a holiday dinner, will take place this Friday.