Authored by: Maria Drummond, Recreational Therapist at Salt Lake County Youth Services
Here at Youth Services, during the holiday season especially, we are privileged to witness the great generosity of community members, corporations engaging in service, and nonprofit partners reaching out to the youth in our shelter programs to be sure they have a magical holiday.
Each year, we are astounded as Christmas Box International, ShelterKids, Inc., and The Reach Program all work together to be sure children and youth with us on Christmas morning have personalized, beautifully wrapped gifts to open and overflowing stockings to sort through.
These non-profit partners work tirelessly running donation campaigns, collecting and sorting donations, and providing or arranging for excellent activities both on and off campus.
Our December volunteer slots fill quickly with community members ready to bring special holiday activities to the teens and youth we serve. At any given day, you can find volunteers helping to decorate our residential spaces, building gingerbread houses or decorate cookies with our kids and youth, bringing giggles and glee to the residential spaces with games, crafts, and/or giving special performances.
By the end of December, our kids and teens will have been able to participate in fancy holiday meals, special horseback riding activities, holiday performances, Christmas morning breakfast and of course get to meet Santa! They will even get to enjoy a traditional Hispanic Christmas Day Dinner, provided to them by a donor who was once a Christmas Box House client himself. We are so grateful for the wondrous support from our community that allows the teens and kids in shelter to experience the warmth, excitement, and security of the holidays, even when they cannot spend them with their loved ones.
If you are interested in learning more about our nonprofit partners or finding ways you can support the teens and kids in shelter at the Christmas Box House and Salt Lake County Youth Services all year round, please follow the links to their websites included earlier this article.