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ALTON - Leon Smallwood and Tori Porter are believers in the importance of assisting youth and for this holiday season, the pair were heavily involved in a successful Christmas Shopping Spree for some Alton High students.

Smallwood is the president of the Alton Branch of the NAACP. He said his first order of business when he took over was to re-establish the Alton NAACP Youth Council. He named Alton NAACP Youth Council President Tori Porter and she took the idea of the Christmas Shopping Spree to outstanding levels.

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"Our Youth Council President Tori Porter accompanied myself and one other youth council member," he said. "She took several Alton High School students on a shopping spree at Walmart in Wood River. Each student was able to spend $200. This is something we want to do to give back to our community and to show our fellow youth council members the importance of providing for their very own.

"We would like to thank all that donated to make this possible. The children truly are our future and we want to continue to invest in our future by investing in our youth.

Porter agreed wholeheartedly with Smallwood: "Our Christmas Shopping Spree for children was great," she said. "It was fun spending time with them and getting to know them better, being able to bless them and put smiles on their faces. This opportunity was also a bonding experience for them to make new or closer friends.

"We want to continue bringing different opportunities like this in our community, especially for this high school age group, younger adults and kids who often feel deprived of help and mentoring from their community. We are going to work hard to bring more of that."

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