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Youth Villages staff share stories from families helped by Holiday Heroes in New England

January 14, 2016

BridgeSpan

View a photo gallery featuring event photos, volunteer testimonials and thank-you notes from the children and families we serve.

Thanks to the generosity of supporters, Youth Villages fulfilled the holiday wishes of more than 430 youth in need from approximately 140 families participating in our New England programs – including 86 adolescent girls living at the Youth Villages – Germaine Lawrence Campus.

Several specialists who work with youth and their families, across Youth Villages programs, shared some heartwarming stories about how the gifts from Holiday Heroes made a difference this holiday season:

This year I was able to refer a family at the last minute to Holiday Heroes because the family was in desperate need of holiday help. Mom had recently obtained a part-time delivery job and she does the best she can with what she has. Mom is balancing work and caring for her three children, all younger than seven. Her oldest is autistic and needs additional care and support, putting an additional strain on Mom.

The Holiday Heroes Elves were able to get all the children what they needed and wanted. All one daughter wanted was a baby doll, which she got, and winter clothes and boots. A second daughter is obsessed with “Frozen,” and she got these adorable boots with Elsa on them, a doll and other “Frozen” items and clothes.

Mom was so happy and thankful when I called her to tell her that we received the gifts and that I would bring them by in time for Christmas.

Thank you to all of the supporters of Holiday Heroes for donating to this amazing program. This family and so many other families are so grateful for the gifts that they received this holiday season!

-Lindsay Beitman, Family Intervention Specialist


I had the pleasure of dropping off gifts to a family that had recently reached its goals and completed its work with Youth Villages. When the mother laid her eyes on the four bikes, she lit up with joy. This is a woman who I have rarely seen smile and she was grinning like this was the best day of her life.

She said, “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” over and over again, and helped me bring the bikes into her friend’s house to store until Christmas morning.

This mother struggles as a single mother with four children and, although she works full-time, there never seems to be enough money to buy any extras, let alone Christmas presents.

Mom informed me that this would be the “best Christmas,” and she could not wait until the children saw the bikes and other presents.

Thank you so very much for your generosity. It is people like you that give families hope, joy and happy memories. From the bottom of our hearts, we at Youth Villages thank you very much.

-Sara Chappell, Clinical Supervisor


A young woman I work with has had a ton of disrupted foster home placements as a child and adult. She told me before that she never felt like she had a home.

We talked about what would make a place a home for her. She said it was be a place where she could put her “stamp” on it – her personality. With the gifts she received from Holiday Heroes, she kept saying “this is what home must feel like” and “I really want to live here for a while.” Now she is reaching out for support when difficulties arise to ensure she can maintain her placement.

Thank you to all of the Holiday Heroes that supported the young adults in YVLifeSet!

-Nicole Schick, YVLifeSet Clinical Supervisor

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