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AIT employees brighten holidays for SOS Children's Villages

For the fourth consecutive year, AIT helped make the holidays a little brighter for children living in foster care. 

On Monday, November 21, employees were invited to visit the holiday tree in the reception area of AIT’s corporate headquarters location. In addition to traditional trimmings, more than 125 wish tags adorned the tree. Each tag listed a gift request from a child in the care of an SOS Children’s Village. 

Over 85 co-workers rushed to grab the wish tags (many claiming multiples) and within days began transforming Charity Committee Chair Kim Smigiel’s office into a veritable Santa’s workshop. From Barbies and clothing to art supplies and Matchbox cars, presents were collected for boys and girls ranging in ages from 1 to 18. 

Three weeks later, AIT charity committee members boxed up scores of gifts donated by generous AIT employees, many of whom went above and beyond the gifts requested on the original tags. The volume of gifts was such that the SOS Children’s Villages van had to make three trips just to deliver them all. 

“This program provides a wonderful opportunity to give back to the foster kids that had troubled traditional home lives and fell victim to the ‘system’,” said Kim Smigiel, director of marketing and communications. “I’ve had the fortunate experience of meeting several staff members, parents and some children at the SOS Children’s Village since our start with the organization. Especially after talking to the foster parents, I have acquired a great deal of respect for the passion and strength to care for these kids that filter into the Village.”

SOS Children’s Villages began in 1949 with a mission to build families for children in need, help children shape their own futures and share in the development of communities. Each SOS Children’s Village consists of an average of 10 to 15 family houses where orphaned and abandoned kids are integrated into the community and a family with a caring SOS mother as well as SOS brothers and sisters. There are more than 500 SOS Children’s Villages in 133 countries worldwide including two in the Chicago area. 

“The parents and the Village protect each child from outside influences and provide haven in the sense of home: love, structure, education, security and guidance,” added Smigiel. 

Thank you to all AIT employees who participated by providing the SOS kids a happy holiday season!