Making a holiday difference at San Marcos

Exchanging gifts Saturday, Dec. 8 at the Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos/Shera Sandwell

It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 8 as 160 kids from 38 families along with 110 kids without family members were adopted in the form of gifts and goodies provided by host families at the Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos at 1 Positive Place.

“We look for families we know will need support for the holidays,” Boys & Girls Club CEO Tish Murray said as gift-wrapped clothes, shoes, skateboards, footballs and even microwave ovens, towels and sheets made their way from host families to adopted holiday families.

All the while, holiday music and good cheer decked the halls throughout the 14,000-square-foot clubhouse.

The annual holiday gift exchange is known as “Adopt-A-Family.” Site directors from the club’s 13 area locations identify kids and families who might benefit from some holiday support, according to Murray. Corporate and individual donors provide the funds. Adopted families provide lists of items they hope to receive. Donors go out and do the rest.

“For many families,” said Janelle Wallace, Club director of resource development, “the holidays can be an especially trying time. Each year, our Club hosts the Adopt-A-Family program to pair generous donors with families who could use a little help for the holidays.”

Erica and Tim Obrist came loaded with gifts and good will at the Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos Adopt-A-Family event/Shera Sandwell

With holiday cookies, food, all-ages drink, arts and crafts spread across the main hall, families played bumper pool, mingled and otherwise traded pleasantries as presents were delivered and exchanged. For others, The Indivisibles 2 movie played on a large TV screen.

Rachel and Jeremy Peyton brought toys they bought on behalf of Brookfield Homes, where Rachel Peyton works as a marketing manager. Tim and Erica Obrist, along with their kids Emerson, 10, and Maggie, 8, came bearing gifts as well.

“My husband and I wanted to give back to the community,” said Erica Obrist, assistant principal at La Morada Academy, which hosts one of the Club’s sites.

For those not yet familiar, the Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos is a non-profit youth development organization serving over 3,600 youth members from Escondido and San Marcos to Carlsbad  and greater North County.

While families may pay membership fees, no child is turned away for lack of funds. Programs emphasizing academic success, good character, citizenship, healthy lifestyles and just plain old fun, are offered at the 13 locations from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays.

And it’s never too late to get in on the holiday cheer through adopting a family or learning more about the program, by visiting the Club’s website here.


For many families at the Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos, the holidays can be an especially trying time. Each year, our Club hosts the Adopt-a-Family program to pair generous donors with families who could use a little help for the holidays.

How it Works

  1. Club members and their families will be nominated to be part of the Adopt-a-Family program by Boys & Girls Club staff.
  2. Generous community members team up with family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers to brighten a family’s holidays.
  3. While there’s no minimum requirements, donors typically spend approximately $100 per person in the family.
  4. Donors also have the option to “adopt” a Boys & Girls Club member only.
  5. Donors are contacted with their assigned family’s names, ages, clothing sizes, and other information that might help when purchasing gifts.
  6. Donors purchase gifts for the family they are adopting and wrap them, labeling each with the recipient’s name.
  7. Donors drop off the gifts to the Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos main branch prior to the exchange.
  8. Adopted families and donors are assigned a time slot and invited to the Adopt-a-Family celebration (in December) to meet and take part in a short gift exchange.
  9. The holidays become a more cheerful time of year for all!
To learn more, please contact Elise Edmondson at (760) 471-2490 x307 or email

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