This Christmas as a company we decided to do something special for the community close to home. Every say we speak about the importance of the community in everything we do, and now this was the time for us to give back to the people around us.
I was placed in charge of finding a way to reach out to the community in a meaningful way. I immediately thought of family sponsorship, but didn’t know whom to approach about sponsoring a family for the Christmas season.
After doing some research I came across Nelson Youth Centres (NYC). NYC is an accredited Children’s Mental Health service
provider, and has been serving the local community in Burlington, Ontario, Canada for over 30 years.
It has been estimated that 1 in 5 children in Ontario are living with a mental illness. Through programs designed specifically for children, such as after school programs, children with mental illness receive the positive attention they need.
Children with emotional, social, behavioural, and learning needs often experience difficulties at home, school, and in the community.
Nelson Youth Centres provides treatment programs for children age 7 to 17. Their program includes therapeutic treatment for children and youth who are experiencing depression, anxiety, social difficulties, ADHD, Autism, Conduct Disorder, and bullying.
We were given a family to sponsor, 1 grandparent, and 3 children, ages 11, 10, and 6. I was especially touched by their story because the children’s grandparent took on the parental responsibility of the children. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to relive your child-rearing years in your “Golden Years”.
After receiving a list of each child’s interests, I braved Christmas shoppers and bought everything the family would need to have a happy Christmas.
Below is a list of some of the items we gave the family:
-grocery store gift card (I’m thinking lots of turkey, and leftovers, mmm)
-HBC gift card
-mini basketball hoop (attaches to door)
-Old Navy mittens, scarves, and hats
This is list is nowhere exhaustive; I think that the photo does a good job of illustrating the gifts that we gave the family.
When I dropped off the Christmas gifts, I was able to take a tour of Nelson Youth Centres. I was given a tour of the facilities by Cindy McClure, the Executive Director of NYC. I walked into the smell of gingerbread cookies, as a group of boys were creating a special Christmas treat with their peers. The house was so homey and comforting, I felt like I was intruding on a family dwelling.
Christmas time is not about what you receive, rather what you give to others. Blessing a deserving family during the Christmas season, and any time of year is a privilege.
Thank you to Nelson Youth Centres for opening your hearts and allowing us to make someone’s Christmas extra special.