Like the snow coming down in my native Michigan the holiday spirit is swirling about and for some of us that’s a great thing, and for others not as much. Although our opinion of the holiday season may vary, one constant is that this time of year for a foster youth can be a difficult one made less so by the kindness of strangers.
What I can say from my experience is that for youth residents, this time of year is when they focus most on what they have lost. It is a somber reminder of all of the things that they do not have which is why the experiences that our big-hearted staff create is so, so important.
We aspire to create special experiences for our residents; moments that they would share as a family such as tree shopping, decorating, and gift shopping for their siblings or family. One experience particularly important to the residents is providing gifts for their family members who they stay in touch with. It means a lot for the kids to be able to provide gifts to their loved ones, so our staff arranges a shopping trip to make that wish a reality. These efforts along with home-cooked holiday meals, and holiday parties are just a few examples of how the holiday cheer is brought to our campus.
Holiday magic stems directly from the generosity of our donors. These resources provide us with the ability to bring the holidays to Vista. For example, I am overwhelmed with the outpour of support and donations we received during our recent Giving Tuesday campaign, #FeedaVistaFamily. The success of this campaign ensured that students and their families dependent on our breakfast and lunch program will have enough food when our school closes for winter break.
To sum it up, yes, there are challenges this time of year but acts of kindness can make this time of year magical for the residents of Vista.