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Sunday, November 09, 2008

"The Mitten Tree"...Giving to the United Way

"The Mitten Tree"...Giving to the United Way

Here is an idea that I began at my dance studio in 2004,
and I would like to share it with other dance studios in
the hopes that you will consider doing the same, and
possibly help to make this a well recognized, national
event. I hope you will consider doing this at your studio
this year. If you are looking for an easy, yet very
worthwhile charitable thing to suggest to your studio
families for the holidays, consider doing a "Mitten Tree",
and choosing "The United Way" in your county as the
charity. Here is how we have done this:

We put an undecorated Christmas tree in the studio waiting
room, and sent home memos about this project. We asked
families to consider donating a pair of mittens, (or
gloves) for a boy or girl or an adult, and when they
brought them in they were hung on the tree. They also
first, stopped by the front desk, and wrote their name on
one of our "paper" mittens. (We purchased packs of die cut
mittens at a local craft store.) Then once the "real"
mittens got collected by The United Way, we used the paper
mittens to decorate the tree as a reminder of their
generosity during the holiday season. (The United Way needs
the collected mittens (and gloves) by mid December in order
to distribute them to the needy in time for the holidays.)

The children were very excited about doing this as were
their parents. It gave them an opportunity to "give" to
someone less fortunate during the holiday season. It was
completely pressure at all. In addition, the
cost of mittens or gloves is quite reasonable and they are
a small, easy item to transport and collect.

I implore you to consider to do this at your studio next
year, and begin a tradition as we have, and to donate them
to the United Way in your county. They have a program
called "Wrapped In Love" and mittens are a much requested
item. Start early, as delivery deadline is first week in

This could become a huge, nation wide event if numerous
studios would decide to participate. It really takes very
little effort and not a lot of space in your studio....just
a tree and flyers to distribute stating your mission. At
my dance studio, we began this program in 2004, and within
just 2 weeks, were able to collect 250 pairs of mittens.
By starting this right around Thanksgiving in 2005, we more
than doubled that amount. We have started a tradition that
we hope continues to grow, and are now imploring other
dance studios throughout the country to do the same.

Please feel free to share this with your family and
friends, and any other dance studios you have contact with.

Please Note: If you could so kindly send an email to or call me at (908-371-1757) if you
decide to do this, as I would like to keep a log of how
many studios get involved. Please drop me a note with your
name, and the name and address of the sudio and how many
pairs of mittens were collected. Please feel free to
contact me for any assistance, or if you have any

Thank you for your holiday spirit and generosity.

Kathleen Cirioli
Kathleen Academy of Dance
411 Route 206
Hillsborough, NJ 08844

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