It is that time of year when the leaves are almost all off the trees, the air is crisp and our communities bring out their best in festive decorations. It is the time of year when your friends and family make arrangements to see each other, hug, kiss, and tell stories of the good old days. It is the time of year that sets of the holiday season and to many, it is the most unbearable, emotional time of year as it is a reminder that the season of “gift-giving” is close by.
The holiday season is such a unique time of year. Most of us love to sip cocoa, listen to music, and sit by the fire on a cold night, but for others, these are only visions and dreams they can only dream of. The holidays for readers like you and I are a blessed time to spend with our family, the joy of shopping and purchasing items that put a smile on the faces of our children, but what about those that cannot do the same, are they any less important? Well, I think that those who are struggling should have memories and that is what Holiday Dreams hope to do again this year. Take those holiday dreams and make them a reality.
Welcome to Holiday Dreams ELEVENTH annual holiday event of giving. Holiday Dreams was created by myself over a decade ago as a way to give back to families in my community that fell on hard times and needed a “hand-up.” These are hard-working families that are classified as the “working poor” or parents who are on disability or social services. These amazing moms and dads are not like you and me, they are not in a position to shop, wrap, and create family memories the same way.
Many of these families are not living the American dream, they are living in a world of poverty, they are depressed and frustrated. I encourage you to spend some time with a family in need, I assure you, it is a game-changer. They can enlighten you to the world of food stamps, sacrificing food for medicine, living with multiple generations of family in a small and cramped environment just to afford rent. The children will tell you about how cruel and mean the kids in their class are because they do not have nice clothes, eat school lunches, and lack the most up-to-date electronic device.
I ask you, Are you raising your children to tease the children that live less fortunate than you? Most parents believe they are raising their children right, teaching them morals and values but yet you would be shocked when you actually ask your kids about families they know in their schools, most children will not be-friend these children or help them in any way.
Most kids feel they are “different.” If you speak with the school about this, they do not want to discuss social financial injustice with students ( about classmates in need ) in fear of discriminating, therefore, the teachers and social workers will additionally help provide resources where they can or create “community” giving programs directly from the school to help those in need. It is only in schools where there is a higher rate of poverty that the circumstances are different. In neighborhoods where multiple distressed families reside, often they come together and the children align and become friends with others in similar socio-economic conditions as themselves. It saddens me that our youth do not take time to learn about children that may be “different.” Children that may be socioeconomically disadvantaged or even those that may be special needs – children should all be able to learn and grow together.
As the founder and Executive Director of the Equity First Foundation, I decided that my first stop for Holiday Dreams would be to assist families that we were already servicing. These are families that have reached out throughout the course of the year for budget help, resume reviews, bankruptcy consultations, families in foreclosure, and of course, families that just needed help. We worked with them individually and then with school social workers, church officials, shelters, and more. In the last several years, we additionally opened up to families that have children classified as “special needs” or diagnosed with Autism – these families, many that work cannot afford the extras because they pay out of pocket for special therapy, medications, and more to create growth and opportunities for their children.
Over the last several years we have managed to reach over FIVE-HUNDRED families a year. We are able to do it only because we have volunteers that donate their time and families that donate funds to the cause. In addition, we have families that shop, participate in our “adopt a child program”, and we receive donations from large corporations which include merchandise that our children in the program can use. We partner with multiple organizations and we coordinate, communicate, and conquer this event each year.
This year is so important, like all the others, we want to ensure that every child receives a special holiday. We have new families that are enrolling every day. Parents calling, emailing, and faxing over request forms – thankful for anything that we can do.
Please help us this year – you’re not helping me, you’re not donating to me, you are helping your friends, neighbors, and community by making this holiday season a more peaceful one.
Please visit our website at: www.holidaydreamsli.com or Facebook page Holiday Dream
Categories: Holiday Dreams