Upward Bound: Making sure holiday joy accessible, available, to everyone

December, 2017 Posted in Community

Jerry Pierce as SantaBy Mary Owen

Ho ho ho! Santa’s merry laughter will ring out at a variety of events sponsored by Upward Bound Camp this month, thanks to Jerry Pierce who has helped by stepping in for the very busy jolly ol’ man at UBC and other places for the past 25 years.

“He visits group homes, the sick and the elderly,” said Laura Pierce, executive director of UBC, of her husband. “He brings a stocking hat, made by a volunteer or donor, or a stuffed animal as a token of the season.”

Santa Jerry has posed for pictures with children and adults all over Oregon and as far away as Nashville’s Opryland.

“Santa is the symbol of everything Upward Bound stands for, listening to needs, affirming importance, giving from the heart, holding hands in friendship, and sharing the joy of living with laughter and a song,” Pierce said. “Serving people with special needs, Upward Bound has been providing year-round opportunities for fun, leadership training and community building since 1978.”

UBC has lots of events slated where Santa will be on duty:

Christmas Dance at Houck Middle School in Salem for adults with developmental challenges, Dec. 2, 6-8 p.m.

Christmas Caroling at homes for the medically fragile, a caravan of singers creating smiles. For information, call

Pictures with Santa, Dec. 2,  2-6 p.m. at the Holiday Kickoff in downtown Stayton and Dec. 20-22 at the Upward Bound office in downtown Stayton.

Christmas Camp takes place during Christmas week for adults with special needs, having no family members but Upward Bound staff and community.

“Christmas Camp is a traditional celebration with tree decorating, Christmas baking, card exchanging, and gifts for campers provided by donors and delivered by Santa,” Pierce said. “Those wishing to give a gift are welcome to stop by our office at the corner of Third and Marion and select a tag that matches the giver’s heart with the recipient.”

Pierce said people can also drop off donations of cologne and perfume, games, large-piece puzzles (75-300 pieces), stuffed animals, crayons, colored pencils and nature/adult color books for camper Christmas gifts.

“The Canyon community has been awesome in supplying supports needed to serve the campers year round, and especially during the holiday season,” she said. “People come by the office and bring sewing supplies for our fabrics classes, miscellaneous craft supplies, canned food, and even a turkey from a neighbor!”

Upward Bound Camp is Christian-based and supports the belief that “every person is important, created by God, worth of love and caring service.”

Upward Bound has three arms: Upward Bound Camp, UBC Gates and UBC Dance. Camp offers opportunities to persons with disabilities that “will last a lifetime.” UBC Gates offers educational and training programs to “build the society we all want.” And UBC Dance celebrates life with purpose by offering music, friendship and “a lot of fun!”

For information on Upward Bound’s offerings visit upwardboundcamp.org.

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