EDITORS UPDATE: 12/17/2010 12:00 PM (Cross posted from here).
I'm writing about our impending holiday celebration this year. SSYC is under construction and so whether we can have a Winter Holiday party is under debate. We don't currently have a functioning kitchen and without a sink we may have difficulties, but the kids REALLY want the party and their planning is underway.
Part of the yearly celebration is that "Santa" comes and gives each child a toy. If we don't have the party we will still figure out a way to make the gift giving happen. So, we're looking for someone to play Santa AND We've received word that we probably won't be able to get as many Christmas gifts this year so we won't be able to have enough for each child at the youth center.
In brainstorming, I've had a few different people offer to "adopt a kid" and so we started having the kids make Santa letters. To do this, I've made a google spreadsheet, so that people can put in their name and contact info if their going to do this for one of our children. We have a lot of kids on the list already (and many more to come). If you have questions about a child, I know them well so I can help give suggestions. So I need help finding more people to adopt; ie buy at least one present for a child, wrap it, put their name on it, and coordinate with me to have it to the youth center by 12/20/10.
I spoke with one of our Northeastern volunteers, Abby, who's going to try to reach out to more students/ people at NEU. Also some people from my church (who first gave me the idea) and for those of you who are hearing about this for the first time I'm hoping that you can also spread this around to help us make these holidays special for the kids. If this works it will be a LOT better than the way we've done it in the past because the kids will be getting things they really want! (We'll still need generic gifts wrapped and labeled for age and gender because there are always kids who come who aren't a regular part of the youth center especially the 1-5 year olds, but we're expecting some gifts to still come from Toys for Tots).
So far we have about 20 kids on the list (and many more are still to come) and I've put the top 3 things each kid wants. (Some are realistic and some aren't). All kids love Silly bands and Silly rings, gift cards to foot locker and I think ipod touch can be substituted for a shuffle or maybe something refurbished (if there's any affordable refurbs our there right now, I recommend dealmac.com). The kids also LOVE Northface, but I don't know what to do about that. . ..
Here's the link to the spreadsheet:
Lastly, we will know by next week whether we're having a party. we won't make it a big invite for people outside the community since the center is still under construction. If we are, we welcome donations of new or gently used holiday decorations. We'll also need help wrapping the Toys for Tots gifts, decorating the center on 12/21 and of course donations to help pay for food, raffle prizes for teens and adults and more. The 6-9 grade planning team are working on outreach to kids, but we need help engaging parents and helping with lot of other party details!
Director, South Street Youth Center