This holiday season, the University of Rhode Island tour guide team is giving back by adopting a family through the Children’s Friend and Family Services organization. The team is fundraising money which they will use to supply a family with presents.

“We have adopted a family through the URI Rotaract Club,” Imke Scheepers, the public relations coordinator for the URI Tour Guides said. “Ultimately it is for Children’s Friends, the organization that’s throughout Rhode Island. We adopted a family of three kids and we are basically just raising money so we can go out and get them toys and your typical Christmas present, but also food, groceries, winter coats and jackets.”

This idea of adopting a family has been a tradition for the team. Scheepers referred to it as a type of bonding exercise for the group which helps them become closer and create a positive atmosphere.

The whole team shops for the families after raising money and are able to work towards one goal of making a family happy. With the group effort the tour guides put into this, it brings them closer together during this cheerful holiday season.

“As a tour guide team, we are comprised of a lot of fortunate individuals as well as we are a big representation of URI as a whole,” Scheepers said. “We are a very diverse group so we do see into a lot of different areas. Personally, for most of the tour guides of the time, it is important to give back so to be able to do it collectively, as a whole team, is even more exciting because we can do it as a team as opposed to individually giving back.”

She said the whole team loves to be able to give back and create a positive environment. It allows the team to feel as though they are improving someone’s life and allowing them to have a happy holiday. By bringing happiness to others, it makes the team members equally as happy to know they created that feeling for them.

“It definitely makes you happy,” Scheepers said. “It brings a smile to my face to know that we can bring a smile to other people’s faces. A lot of us like to be around people and to make other people happy. That’s a big reason a lot of tour guides do what they do, is because they like to make a positive impact on other people’s lives. Being a tour guide, we like to think that we can potentially change the future of people’s lives, whether or not they come to URI. Being able to do that in a different way also fills your heart with joy. It is just a happy thing to be able to do.”