JUSTIN KRULJAC

Holiday hoodies open doors to college conversations

“These college hoodies are a motivator for the students to achieve their goals.”

On a warm summer afternoon, Justin Kruljac, Hoodies for the Holidays co-chair, is thinking about hooded sweatshirts and the kids who will receive them. He’s excited for United Way’s annual Hoodies for the Holidays Wrap Party on Wednesday, November 28. “Last year, we collected 400 college sweatshirts for students who participate in United Way’s Be a Middle School Mentor program.”

The event, held at Heinz Field, is “a small way to give back and make a large impact in a child’s life. The hoodies begin the conversation about college early,” shared Justin. “And it’s also a great night to network with other like-minded, young professionals.”

For a small monetary donation or the donation of a new college hoodie, young professionals are invited for an evening of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, games, and, of course, wrapping hoodies. Volunteers can learn more about mentoring opportunities and write personal notes of encouragement to students that will let them know someone cares.

“Last year we heard from a mentor and mentee from Be A Middle School Mentor,” Justin reflected. “Their remarks were inspiring. This program sets kids up for success in high school. Mentors often see their mentees going on to college years later – they might even attend the school of the hoodie they were given. These hoodies are a reminder about having a goal and reaching for it.”

“It was impressive to see 236 volunteers come together at last year’s event. We hope to see even more young professionals giving their time at this year’s event.”

To sign up to attend this year’s Hoodies for the Holidays event, visit hoodies18.org.

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