Posted Date: 10/05/2020
When Christmas is mentioned at Ryal, the mind immediately thinks "HOMEBUILDERS". This unusual mental feat has been taking place for at least forty-six years, in the minds of untold numbers of Ryal students. You see, the Homebuilders of Tulsa, have the true spirit of Christmas in their hearts! They know that it isn't what you get in this life that makes you happy, but what you give away! And that is just what they have been doing for Ryal students since approximately 1970.
With the passage of time, some of the history of the beginning of this tradition has become unclear, but here is what is known: Some time prior to 1968 an organization called World Changers became involved with Ryal students. Individuals in this organization were matched up with a student to help meet that student's needs. On birthdays, Christmas, and at various other times during the year, the World Changer, known as their "sponsor," would send gifts and a letter, and the Ryal students would respond with a thank you letter of their own. Somewhere around 1970 Marion Haynes (wife of superintendent, Bill Haynes, who preceded Louis Hicks) met Mr. Olen Creekmore, who was then president of the Homebuilders Association. Their conversation led to a partnership between the World Changers and the Homebuilders in the caring for needs of Ryal students. This association lasted for only a short while, and resulted in the importance of World Changers diminishing, and the importance of the Homebuilders increasing.
In beginning, Mr. Creekmore and associates would come to Ryal bringing gifts for every student. Later, they took the kids shopping at a Dillard's store in Tulsa. For some of the children this opened up a wonderful new world! Former students can remember their first experience with an escalator during these years. This held much more of an attraction than any new clothes they might have bought that day. For the past 33 years Wal-Mart has been the shopping place for the students.
Over the years the Homebuilders have provided Christmases for many, many boys and girls that would otherwise not have had one. In spreading this wonderful joy to these children they have demonstrated the true spirit of Christmas, the joy of giving to others and the sharing of blessings they have received!
Linda Berno, 12/01/17