When we opened the LIFE Center it was with the hope we could be of service to the women and children of the community who were living in the shadows. The people with limited resources but a dream that their lives and especially the lives of their children could be better.
Twenty years have gone by since the doors of the LIFE Center first opened. It’s hard to believe but whenever one of our first ‘students’ stops in to say hello the reality hits. As we begin each new day we have so much to be grateful for. We continue to build upon the things that have worked well and we look for new ways to be of service.
The holiday season is so busy here. We have many special projects but all regular programming continues. It’s become quite a balancing act but our wonderful staff and faithful volunteers make it all seem easy.
We started by providing the makings of a festive dinner for 100 families, 90 of them thanks to a group called ‘Giving Thanksgiving’. Local high school students collect funds and put together packages for 90 families and deliver them right to our doorstep. This was the 9th year of the program which has been passed down from year to year. It’s a great help to us. The rest of the families were taken care of through donations of supermarket gift certificates.
Christmas is right behind and that means organizing our Holiday Boutique. The Boutique gives parents the opportunity and dignity of choosing and ‘buying’ gifts for their children. Nothing cost more than $5, most things are $1, and proceeds go directly to our children’s programs. For those who have had an especially hard year they are added to the ‘Adopt-a-Family’ list. We ask them to come up with a ‘Christmas Wish List’ and as best as we can those wishes are granted. Twenty families were ‘adopted’ this year.
Santa and his Elf came to visit all of the children’s programs. Since I know him personally he is able to take time out from his busy schedule to drop by and hear the children’s requests. He also reminds them that they must be good throughout the year.
Our teen group visited the Winter Wonderland exhibit at Kensico Dam. For most of them it was the first time they had gone ice skating. The Center closed after programs finished on the 23rd and staff had a much needed break until the 4thof January.
Now it’s on to the events of 2016!
Yes, that's me on crutches. I had a little accident while decorating the Center for Christmas. Our great staff took care of setting up the Holiday Boutique and all was well!
Kindergarten went off to our local Post Office to mail their letters to Santa.
There was great anticipation!
A secret request to Santa...
...some children share a joke with Santa...
Our After School twins enjoyed their visit with Santa.