The decorations are packed away, the wrapping paper and bows discarded and our schedules have returned to a familiar routine. The holiday season already seems like a faint memory, but what has not faded is the impact our supporters had on some very special young people. The meaningful experience they helped to create for the youth who reside in the HomeBridge Community is something that will be remembered for a very long time.
The support we received for our Holidays of Hope Campaign helped to make things very festive and exciting for the young people. We even had one young boy with us who still believes in Santa which made things extra fun. He may believe that the magic of the season comes from a bearded man in a big red suit, but we know it takes caring people like you to really create magic. This can be a very sad time for many of the young people as they cannot be with their families. We do our very best to help them get through this and this campaign really helps. Thanks to the incredible support we received we were able to create positive experiences and memories for the youth despite their current circumstances.
Some programs made wreaths, others baked cookies and decorated gingerbread houses, and some participated in less traditional activities like racing go karts at Kartbahn or going to the movies. The money raised through this campaign allows the Youth Care Teams to create meaningful experiences for the youth that are unique to their needs. We saw everything from traditional cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve to pizza for Christmas dinner. Two traditions that are universal throughout the HomeBridge Community however are a big sit down meal and Christmas stockings. This year’s stockings were full to the top with fantastic surprises and everyone was very impressed with what they found under the tree.
One young man at Cogswell House was so excited on Christmas morning and was so pleased with his gifts that he told the Youth Care Team “This is a great Christmas. It would be the best one if I was home, but it’s still great!” He and his fellow residents then spent most of the day playing with his new Hot Wheels cars under the tree. One of the young women at the Reigh Allen Centre was equally as vocal about her excitement. An enthusiastic “Oh my gosh, look at this!” followed everything she opened. She then spent all day modelling her new clothes and playing with her new make-up and accessories. All of the homes heard great comments about what was donated including “I can’t believe how many gifts there are.” and “I wasn’t expecting all of this.”
The youth were all impressed with their gifts, but what was even more meaningful was the feeling they were left with knowing that so many people thought of them and wanted to help make their Christmas special. This act of caring and the boost to their self-worth as a direct result is a priceless gift that will have a lasting impact.
This year’s Holidays of Hope Campaign was very successful. On top of surprising 40 deserving young people with overflowing stockings, over $7,000 was raised in monetary donations to keep the celebrations going all year long. This money already funded some great outings and activities over the holidays and there is plenty left to ensure that every other holiday during 2018 can be special as well. Thank you to everyone who helped to make all of this possible, you are our Santa.