January 5, 2015

GHCHS DECA Holiday Letter Drive Raises Over $6,600 for Make-A-Wish through Macy's Believe Campaign


Northridge, California—December 29, 2014—Although Christmas has come and gone, the holiday spirit of giving remains thanks to Macy’s and enthusiastic students from Granada Hills Charter High School. GHCHS DECA students delivered 3,312 letters to Macy’s on Friday, December 26, 2014, resulting in $6,624 being raised for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Macy’s Believe campaign is making holiday history by composing the longest wish list to Santa and breaking the Guinness World Records Achievement. Chapter members personally wrote each letter and involved their family and friends in the holiday letter writing campaign.
For each letter the store receives, Macy’s donates $1 to Make-A-Wish; but on December 12th, the amount was doubled to $2. GHCHS students took advantage of this offer by delivering all their letters at once, doubling the amount Macy’s will donate for their letters. This sort of business savvy is exactly one of the characteristics that make DECA students so successful.
Students began collecting letters for the Believe campaign in November with an overwhelming response. “We advisors were careful not to orchestrate the team’s efforts, but rather left the fate of this community service campaign up to the students,” explains Andrew Nelson, Business Teacher and DECA Advisor from GHCHS. “Our team spread the word to GHCHS teachers, coaches, staff, and fellow students, but they did not stop at the school’s fences. Students solicited letters from local middle and elementary schools, religious institutions, public libraries, senior centers, scout troops, club sport teams and took many other creative approaches. My favorite student idea was to have families write letters about something they believe in during their Thanksgiving Celebrations.”
GHCHSBelieve letter writers compose a letter to Santa, communicate a holiday wish list to a parent, or describe a character they believe grants wishes in the holiday season. Lule DeShields, a GHCHS senior with aspirations of becoming a doctor, experienced firsthand the holiday spirit in her community. She collected the largest amount of letters, over 500! “It felt good to give back to a great cause and it means a lot to me. It was simple,” Lule humbly said. “I love helping out in any way and giving 110%.” The students’ enthusiasm for this letter-writing campaign was completely unprecedented and DECA team members are already brainstorming ways to beat this letter count next year.
“Students went above and beyond for this great cause,” said Elaine Izquierdo, Macy’s Sales Manager at Northridge Fashion Mall. “This was an amazing effort and we are so thrilled to be a part of it.” Elaine presented the students with a certificate of appreciation from Macy’s for their efforts. The students hoisted the boxes and bags full of letters to the ground floor of Macy’s where Santa’s desk and mailbox were set up to receive letters. As the students “mailed” each letter by filling the North Pole postal box at the store, a small boy and his mother stopped to see. Inspired, they picked up a pen and wrote down his wish list. As carols played over the store speaker and the ornaments glittered, the magic of the holidays was alive and well with each letter mailed to bring smiles and wishes to boys and girls everywhere.
GHCHS advisor Andrew Nelson also remarked, “It was a true pleasure for our students to be a part of this philanthropic project. Macy’s, DECA, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and GHCHS all came out looking good to the public that we serve in different capacities.”
For more information on Granada Hills Charter High School chapter’s community outreach and philanthropic efforts, please contact Marilyn Koziatek, Community Outreach, at 818-360-2361 x314,

About California DECA
California DECA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) Career and Technical Student Organization, endorsed by the California Department of Education. With over 4,500 members in 59 schools throughout California, California DECA works to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in four fields of business: marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. For more information about California DECA, visit


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