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OJA Staff Delivering Gifts from Santa Claus Commission to Youth in Agency Custody

OJA Staff Delivering Gifts from Santa Claus Commission to Youth in Agency Custody

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

OJA Staff Delivering Gifts from Santa Claus Commission to Youth in Agency Custody

OKLAHOMA CITY, DEC. 16, 2019—Staff members with the Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) are working with the Santa Claus Commission to make sure about 315 young people spending Christmas in group homes and secure-care treatment facilities are remembered during the holiday season.

OJA staff members wrapped gifts for the youth, and are now delivering them. The gifts were purchased with funds provided by the commission, which was formed in 1937. Each year, the Santa Claus Commission delivers gifts to youth in the care of OJA. The commission is managed by OJA and is responsible for the purchase and distribution of gifts as part of Title 10, Section 361 of the Oklahoma Statutes. Public funds are not used to purchase gifts. The Commission currently operates from private donations and collects interest from the dollars currently available in the Santa Claus Commission Fund.

“We hope that these gifts remind the youth in our care that we care about them all the time, and provide a little sparkle during the holiday season when it can be stressful to be away from family and friends,” said OJA Executive Director Steven Buck. “Showing them that members of the community care about them goes a long way."

Gifts for each child include a duffle bag, a photo book, body wash, a sketch pad, a coloring book, lip balm, a candy bar and a pair of socks. Youth in OJA’s two secure-care treatment facilities, in Tecumseh and Manitou, will each receive $20 in their canteen fund, an individually directed fund that allows the youth to purchase facility-approved items such as candy, soft drinks and hygiene products. OJA youth in the 12 group homes across the state that have contracts with OJA each will receive a $20 gift card.

“We focus on practical and safe gifts, with some of them suggested by young people in our care,” Buck said. “It’s a small way to let our youth feel appreciated and loved.”

Oklahoma’s Credit Union is waiving the usual processing fee for the gift cards.

“We're happy to partner with the Office of Juvenile Affairs to make Christmas brighter for Oklahoma kids,” said Oklahoma’s Credit Union Chief Marketing Officer Jennifer Lown. “The Santa Claus Commission is a win/win. Our teams have a blast passing out the gift cards and the kids love being able to purchase something they really want.”

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For additional information, contact:

Michael McNutt/OJA Communications Director

(405) 530-2860        (405) 249-6072

michael.mcnutt@cox.net

 

Paula Christiansen/ OJA Public Information Officer

(405) 530-2814

paula.christiansen@oja.ok.gov

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Oklahoma Office 
of Juvenile Affairs 

3812 N. Santa Fe Suite 400
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
405-530-2800