Nichols Students Spread Holiday Cheer, Bison Give Back to Local Community


DUDLEY, Mass.—Christmas for children here who are less fortunate can leave a hole in little hearts. But with the help of Nichols College community members, that void was filled—at least a little.  

The Nichols College Men of Distinction (MOD) helped to raise awareness across campus for YOU Inc.’s annual Adopt-A-Child program. The group teamed up with Adjunct Professor Lesa Patrock, who is also a teacher at Dudley Middle School, and YOU Inc. to find sponsors and gift-wrappers. 

YOU Inc. is a private, nonprofit child welfare and behavioral health agency serving troubled and at-risk children, adolescents, and families in Worcester County. It holds an event each year at Dudley Middle School to find sponsors for these children, who each receive three gifts of their choice from their sponsor. Forty children were sponsored by Nichols community members.  

“Thank you to everyone who signed up to sponsor a child for the holidays,” Nichols College Human Resources Director Darcy Vangel stated in an email to Nichols faculty and staff. “I am so pleased to tell you that we have a sponsor for every single child on the list. This means that Nichols College is donating over 120 gifts to this project! Amazing effort!” 

Including the Nichols donations, approximately 900 gifts were donated by others in the Dudley community. 


MOD members promoted the event on campus with help from the Office of Human Resources. They and other Nichols students as well as faculty and staff later sorted through and wrapped stacks of gifts Dec. 6, 2018, at Dudley Middle School. President Susan West Engelkemeyer, Dean of Students P.J. Boggio, Career and Professional Development Center Director Liz Horgan, Residence Life Director Marney Buss, Professor Jean Beaupré, and Sports Information Director Pete DiVito were only SOME of the Nichols community members wrapping presents.

James Singletary ’19

“This was MOD’s first year helping YOU Inc., with its Adopt-A-Child program,” said Nichols College senior James Singletary of Marlborough, Mass. “We want to participate in this every year. Lesa Patrock reached out to us, and we thought it was a very good idea to get others involved.”  

Singletary, a criminal justice and business management major, is MOD’s founder and president. 

“Within our group we encourage our men to have weekly goals and to teach people about community. Teaching our men what community is very important,” he said. “Our members are prepared to demonstrate leadership. We often explore different ways to demonstrate kindness and leadership skills they learn from others.” 

The Adopt-A-Child event was a success, as Nichols volunteers collected, stacked, wrapped, and distributed hundreds of donated gifts from fellow Nichols community members.  

“My hope for next year is that this becomes an even more successful event. We lots of help and volunteers however, we always strive to achieve our goals even higher. For next year, the Nichols Men of Distinction group hopes that even more gifts are wrapped and that there are even more gifts to give,” said Singletary.  

MOD member Nick Anderson, a sophomore from Melrose, Mass., majoring in general business, said: “Words cannot describe how rewarding it is to impact the lives of underprivileged children. Some of these children don’t have all the love and care they deserve. All they need is someone to show that they care. Through this opportunity, we were able to show that we care. That’s priceless to a child in need.” 

Anderson founded the Nichols Relay for Life chapter last year, during his freshman year, to raise money for the American Cancer Society. He and his fellow students are organizing and raising money for the 2019 Relay, which will be held Saturday, April 6, on Vendetti Field at Nichols. 

“Men of Distinction has impacted me tremendously, from seeing what true leadership looks like from our president James Singletary, and it’s inspired me in my other endeavors at Nichols,” he said. “The Adopt-A-Child event has taught me that there’s always time to give back, and around the holidays it’s greatly needed.” 

In addition, the Nichols Office of Public Safety held its annual Tickets-for-Tots toy drive to benefit the Dudley Police Department’s donation to Webster-Dudley Food Share:


 Hope Rudzinski is a junior English major at Nichols College and a public relations intern for the Nichols Office of Marketing and Communications. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *