Glendale High School junior Jamie Fritz has a novel idea this holiday season. The 16-year-old Jewel City resident is putting gift-giving ahead of gift-receiving.
Fritz founded an on-campus club called Adopt-A-Family in August, and the group set a goal to raise $1,000 by Dec. 13 on its GoFundMe page.
The 30-member organization is hoping to reach that target and use those funds to purchase presents for less-fortunate children.
Unlike gift drives that hand out toys or presents in $10 or $20 increments, Fritz is valuing quality over quantity. She’s setting a $200 allowance per child, meaning if the club reaches $1,000, that money will go toward gifts for five children.
“There’s a certain joy you receive going out into the community and doing good,” said Fritz, a driver on the school’s water polo team. “To have a list of names, to sort of get to know these people and to help, especially kids, it means a lot to them and me.”
Despite her age, Fritz has plenty of experience helping the needy.
A product of Wilson Middle School and Glenoaks Elementary, she has been a member of an all-girl aide group called Assisteens, a branch of the national nonprofit volunteer organization called Assistance League, for four years.
“This is her passion,” Fritz’s mother, Betty, said. “She believes in philanthropy, and she believes in giving back. Through the Adopt-A-Family Club, she gets one more avenue to do that.”
This opportunity wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Glendale High math instructor Aurora Alamillo, Jamie Fritz said.
“I’ve been so lucky because Mrs. Alamillo has been my math teacher for three years and, one morning, I asked her if she’d be our club’s adviser,” the younger Fritz said. “She signed on, and she’s been such a blessing. She gets all the kids in the club involved, and she helped me compose letters to businesses. She’s super supportive.”
It’s through service where Jamie Fritz ran into Lisa Salomon, a fellow volunteer who has helped Pasadena-area social workers from the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Families help various people.
“There are so many negative stories out there and what Jamie is doing is really positive and amazing,” Salomon said. “She reached out to me about this club and getting in contact with families in need. I was just blown away.”
If the $1,000 goal is met by Thursday, club members plan to purchase and wrap gifts the next day and hand off to Salomon for distribution.
Should the club surpass the $1,000 threshold, Jamie Fritz said she will likely buy more gifts, though she may also hold the money in reserve for the club’s next fundraiser.
An aspiring pediatric nurse who would love to attend the University of Washington or New York University, Jamie Fritz said her next goal for the group will be seasonal campaigns, with the next fundraiser possibly being held around Easter.
“I’ve been blessed to have wonderful Christmases with family, and I want to give that feeling to others,” Jamie Fritz said. “That’s really the best gift.”