REV. DANIEL QUINN, pastor of St. Paul's parish in Hancock, thanked the youth of the parish for "a very kind gift:" In his name, they donated a llama to a family in the Andes in South America through Heifer International (www. heifer.org)....

Catholic Daughters of the Americas at Our Lady of Hope parish in Fort Plain are sponsoring a contest for parish children in grades four-12 and adult CDA members. The theme is, "The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy" (Ps 126) or, "Finding joy in my life." Kids can write an essay or poem or submit computer art, music or photography; adult CDA members can submit poetry, art, computer art or photography....

The Guilderland Knights of Columbus will sponsor a free-throw basketball championship for kids ages nine-14 on Jan. 13, 6 p.m., at Christ the King parish in West­mere, Albany. Winners can pro­gress to district and state competitions. Contact ED PIERCE, (518) 469-4803....

Our Lady of Victory parish in Troy has a "post-confirmation group" for students in their junior year of high school and above. It will next meet in late January....

In Schenectady, St. Madeleine Sophie School is teaming up with the Christ Child Society for a new literacy Initiative led by JEAN BURSI and JEANETTE MAY. Society members have been coming into classrooms to read to students and do crafts with them. They're also providing resources to create a "Literacy Backpack project" to send home backpacks with age-appropriate books and tips for families on how to read with their children.