The look on the 9-year-old girl’s face said it all. Draped over a chair, she smiled ear to ear as she hugged a box containing her new purple hoverboard.
For three years now, she had asked for a hoverboard for Christmas but had yet to receive one.
For a second consecutive year, the Thrive Internet Marketing Agency team came together to help a group of boys and girls at Corey Elementary School in Arlington and their families for Christmas.
Thrive connected with Corey Elementary to see if there were any students it could sponsor for Christmas. Corey provided a list of nine students — identifying them only by age and gender — and Thrive team members combined to raise $2,000 to provide gifts for the children and gift cards for the parents to help them during the holidays.
On Dec. 19, Thrive president and founder Matt Bowman, sales team director Josiah Wiles, marketing consultant Ryan Young and assistant sales coordinator Sam Stevens dropped into Corey Elementary and hand-delivered wrapped Christmas presents to eight of the children.
The four Thrive team members said they loved to see the children light up after they unwrapped their presents.
Of course, the 9-year-old girl left quite the impression.
“She was so excited,” Stevens said, “she hugged the hoverboard for 20 minutes.”
Corey Elementary is close to Bowman’s heart. He has a second-grade son who attends the school. And, Corey is located only one mile — just 3 minutes away — from Thrive’s new headquarters.
Bowman didn’t get to participate in the Corey Elementary gift drop-off a year ago because he was out of town. This time around, he soaked it all in.
“It was awesome!” Bowman said. “Corey is a special place to me because I’m a Corey dad, and I love that we were able to give back to the kids presents who needed some help.”
For 15 years now, Thrive has emphasized giving back to its community and working to make a difference in the lives of others. Thrive employees often donate their time and money — as a team and as individuals — as part of the company’s Thrive Gives Back program.
The idea to sponsor children and their families for Christmas was sparked by Young two years ago. Young, his wife and their church’s small group (about 12 families) had sponsored a family from their children’s school, and he thought it would also be a great idea for Thrive to do something similar. Young approached Bowman with the idea, and it was an instant hit.
“I thought if we can do this with a dozen families,” Young said, “imagine what we could do with an entire company.
“Being able to give back to the kids is a wonderful feeling. I love doing this every year and watching the kids’ faces light up with joy. It’s what it’s all about.”
Eight of the children who received presents mailed handwritten “thank you” letters to Thrive’s office to share with the team.
“Dear Secret Elfs,” one of the letters read, “Thank you for the magical presents! These are the best presents ever! It makes my heart dance! This is the best Christmas!”
Some of the toys given to the kids included a pink girl’s bicycle, an Owleez interactive pet, a Guess Who? game, a karaoke box, a basketball, a Minecraft sword and a Pokemon book.
Oh, and that purple hoverboard.
“She hugged it the remainder of the event,” Young said. “One of her brothers was there and kept going on about how he would be super nice to her or trade her things if she let him ride it. It made for some good laughs and lots of smiles.”
But the 9-year-old girl wasn’t about to give up her hoverboard. No way.
But she did turn to Bowman — her eyes lit up — and asked if she could ride it at school. Bowman, caught up in the moment himself, didn’t hesitate on his answer to her.
“Sure! Go for it!” Bowman said. “The principal quickly jumped in and said, ‘No, let’s do that with your parents.’”
Still, the safety-first denial didn’t spoil the joyous moment.
“It was an absolute joy to get to participate in the gift program with Corey Elementary,” Wiles said. “Seeing the kids’ excitement when opening up their gifts was awesome. I can’t wait to do it again next year!”
“All in and all this a wonderful experience that we look forward to every year. The staff at Corey Academy are so welcoming to us and help us make this a special event for the kids. We love being able to do this each year and give back to the children in our local area.”
The Kids’ ‘Thank You’ Letters
Below is a sampling from the eight handwritten letters sent to Thrive from the Corey Elementary children who received presents just before Christmas from the Thrive team:
“Dear Secret Elfs, Thank you for the magical presents! These are the best presents ever! It makes my heart dance! This is the best Christmas!”
“Thank you so, so, so much! You really made my day. You got all the things I wanted. You’re the best! The snacks and drinks were good. Thank you for putting your time and your money for us, thank you.”
“Dear Thrive, thank you so much for the presents. What do you want for Christmas? Hopefully you get what you want. Merry Christmas! Thanks for the snacks.”
“Dear Santa’s Elfs, Thank you guys! You made me super happy. I should of got a computer. I still love them a lot! Merry Christmas!”
“Thank you for the presents. I really love them! You guys are like Santa, and I appreciate you being here!”
“Dear Secret Elves, Thank you a lot for the gifts. I greatly appreciate what you gave me and my sister. I love all of the gifts and use all of them during the winter break. Again, thank you so, so much. I am thankful for the gifts.”
“Dear Secret Elfs, Thank you so much for the presents you gave me. My favorite presents were Owleez and Guess Who?. Just so you know, I love Dog Man. The Baby-Sitters Club is my favorite.”