Yesterday, students at Arrow Academy of Excellence in the Orange Mound community were thrilled to receive special gifts from the Youth United Way Leadership Program’s “Shoebox Christmas” initiative.

Teens in the Youth United Way program donated and wrapped the gifts for students earlier this month. Arrow Academy of Excellence is a K-3 learning environment which focuses heavily on the foundational skills of reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies.

Over 120 students received a shoebox filled with gifts and wrapped in Christmas paper to celebrate the holiday season. Every year, a Youth United Way committee designates a local school in the Memphis to receive the gifts. Over 5,000 students in 15 schools have received shoebox gifts since the project’s start 17 years ago.

(Video and photos supplied by Clint Anderson and Karlisa Kuykindall, United Way staff. Click on a photo below to see it in a larger size.)