Jan 18, 2024
Thank you for helping us make the holidays a little brighter.
The holidays are always a challenging time in the HomeBridge Community as the young people can feel even more isolated and distant from their families than ever. Thanks to an overwhelming response to our Holidays of Hope Campaign, we were able to create some new traditions and positive memories, and remind the youth that there are still many people that care about them.
Every program planned their own celebrations and activities to suit the individual needs of the young people residing there. The team at Jubien House, planned activities for the 12 days of Christmas. This included activities like decorating ornaments, baking cookies, a pizza and movie night and an evening looking at the Christmas lights. At the Reigh Allen Centre the youth and Youth Care Workers teamed up to make gingerbread houses and one of the young people even took creative liberties with his creation and made a gingerbread tower. The residents there also spent Christmas Eve teaching the Youth Care Workers how to play Fortnite so they could all pay together.
Christmas morning it was all about the presents! There was something special for everyone and it did not go unnoticed. Many of the young people remarked on how they could tell the presents were picked out just for them. One of the young men who lives at Cogswell House could not believe that even his pet fish had presents. He was “pumped” that Buddy the fish was included in his stack of gifts and in fact, so were the other residents. They loved their own presents, but were equally excited about Buddy being included.
At Jubien House, the young men were very excited to receive outfits from American Eagle. They all spent the morning together opening their presents and checking out what each other received. One young man stayed up far too late on Christmas Eve so he was very tired, but he refused to miss a minute of the action and didn’t go back to bed until everyone was done. Another resident immediately showered, put on his new outfit and made a coffee in his new travel mug as soon as all of the festivities were over. He said he couldn’t believe how generous the donors were as he has never been so spoiled in his whole life. A young woman at the Reigh Allen Centre echoed a similar sentiment. She said she hadn’t celebrated Christmas in three years so her experience this year was very special. She tore into her gifts, examined each one thoroughly and commented positively on everything she opened, expressing extreme gratitude the whole time. It was very meaningful to her.
Presents obviously cannot erase the trauma these young people have experienced in their past, nor can activities and experiences with Youth Care Workers replace family memories or traditions. The support of this campaign, however, certainly did make the holidays a whole lot brighter for the young people in the HomeBridge Community. Many of the Youth Care Workers who spent the holidays with them expressed how special it was to see their excitement and gratitude as they realized that people really do care about them and wanted to make sure they were not forgotten at Christmas. There is no question that the generousity of our donors made a difference for these young people and we cannot thank them enough for that.
On top of all of the stocking stuffers and gifts that were donated, over $7,000 was raised to keep the celebrations going. This money has already funded outings and activities over the holiday season and will continue to ensure that every holiday and special occasion in 2024 is just as meaningful. We understand that every young person is unique, and this money allows us to fund celebrations and other significant holidays that reflect their diverse cultures and traditions. Thank you to everyone who supported our efforts to create the best experiences possible for the youth in our care.