Thursday, January 20, 2011

The many gifts of the season

Something about the holiday season and the start of a new year makes many people stop and take stock of what they have, or what they would like to have but just can’t seem to get.

In all of our residential programs at the Alternative House, homeless teens, young mothers, and small children were very thankful for the donated gifts they received this year. High school students cried when they opened a warm coat, a gift card to a supermarket, or a new pair of sneakers. Toddlers squealed with delight while playing with toy cars and baby dolls. Young mothers pampered themselves with a new makeup kit or a gift card to Target. As a staff member, I have been thankful as well: thankful that we are able to provide services to so many families and youth in need, thankful that we have dedicated staff and volunteers to support our mission, thankful that I can come to work every day and do something that I enjoy.

And then there are the things that we all hope for but seem just out of reach right now: the young mother searching for full-time employment that will allow her to support herself and her child, the high school student trying yet again to pass a final SOL test before graduation, the supervisor looking to hire relief staff to fill in while full-time staff are taking a much-needed vacation. I wish I could fulfill these wishes as easily as opening a gift. Since I cannot hand someone a gift-wrapped diploma or employment, I will continue to work to find resources to make the path to those achievements easier so that more youth can make their dreams a reality.

Meghan Huebner
Director of Residential Services

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