By Alejandra Lopez, Youth Development Specialist
As the holiday season approached the 2022-2023 school year, The PATH wanted to make the holidays extra special. The holidays are a time filled with happiness and let’s not forget the presents! Although it is a cheerful time, it can be especially hard for others who are facing financial hardships. The PATH wanted to fill their students with holiday cheer and give them gifts that they wanted most. All students had the opportunity to choose items that they really wanted. The wishes were specific and we made it our mission to get exactly what they desired.
We made this possible by teaming up with a non-profit organization, One Simple Wish. According to their website every year nearly 500,000 children are impacted by abuse, neglect and trauma and spend time in our nation’s foster care system. It can be lonely, confusing and a bit scary. Through their innovative wish-granting platform, you can send some love to a child who needs it. When wishes come true, kids can make important connections, experience new things and find their passion! Thanks to One Simple Wish all of our students’ gift requests were granted!
Students were asked to list their top three items that they would like to receive along with gift cards. Through One Simple Wish, our students received gifts like Crocs and a skateboard. One of our students was very grateful to have new basketball sneakers as it was not something they expected to actually receive. They are very excited to use their new kicks for practice and games! Another student was shocked to get Legos but also a Lego gift card. They appreciated it and were very surprised. Students also received gifts to promote self-care and fun gift cards to have an opportunity to treat themselves.
In collaboration with One Simple Wish, we were able to assist a family in need this holiday season. We understand how difficult it can be to provide gifts during the holidays. We took away this family’s stress and worries and handled the hassle of gift giving. We became elves, and supported this family with gifts for all five of their children. These children woke up to gifts under the tree on Christmas morning from Santa, who always delivers! We brought the holiday cheer to their home. They received gifts that they dreamt about.
Seeing our students’ faces light up from experiencing their holiday wishes come true was magical. Christmas should not be a privilege and with the amazing collaboration of One Simple Wish our students received all the joy they deserved and more. Gifts were distributed with a holiday party. The sweet smell of waffles cooking filled the air as we cozied up in the PATH office and watched Home Alone. Our students certainly felt the holiday spirit.