The Holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving until the New Year can be a difficult time for children in our care. For whatever reason, more children are placed in foster care and residential care during this time of the season. It is also a time when we focus on loved ones and friends. Foster children typically feel lonely during the Holiday season. It brings back vivid memories of being with their biological parents and grandparents. It is a hard time for children in care and so Griffith Centers takes up the task of helping make the Holidays Merry & Bright!
It starts off with our volunteer group the Denver Optimist Club who come the week of Thanksgiving to cook a homemade Thanksgiving dinner for the residents and staff at Griffith Centers. They have been doing this for over 20 years for Griffith and it is always a joy to have them back in our kitchen cooking. The next focus is on Christmas presents! Our Elves get all of the children’s wishes in order for Santa to bring to them. What is unknown to the children is it is the Fundraising Department working with multiple organizations and individuals to make sure each child gets specifically the gift they asked for. If Lucy wants the Frozen Elsa dress-up dress then she gets the Frozen Elsa dress and if Jacob wishes for the Panda bear stuffed animal then he gets a stuffed animal Panda bear and not any other animal.
The next highlight to kick off the Christmas season is having Air Academy Federal Credit Union come to make a Christmas dinner for all of our residents and staff. This year was extra special when Air Academy Federal Credit Union brought in Danny Trevathan, a starting Denver Bronco Linebacker to meet with all the boys and sign autographs, shirts, shoes, and more. It was truly amazing to have him eat dinner with our residents. The boys kept coming up for more and more of him.
Santa stopped in before Christmas to check in on all of our residents, staff, and foster care kids. Every year we host a Foster Care Holiday party for all of our foster families to attend. We pride ourselves on making our foster care agency feel like a community. With food in their stomachs, the children got to watch Magician, Jason Gunnels, perform magic tricks before Santa arrived on his sleigh. Each child got to sit on his lap and receive a Christmas present from him (Santa gets all of the credit!). One boy came up to Santa at the end of the night and said “Santa! How did you know! It was exactly what I wanted”. Hearing that was a highlight for the Fundraising Department.
On two different nights before Christmas we had two groups come, ServePro (a supporting business for years) and a local club, Business By Referral. Both groups brought dinner for the boys in Independent Living and Transition Skills Program (two group homes) and they made sure to make double the food needed because our boys can eat! The groups focus on providing a Need gift, such as dishes, laundry supplies, kitchen items like a blender, crock pot, pots and pans, and then a Want item such as Bronco hat, Superman poster, Nike sweatshirt, Vans shoes. The two group homes are chosen by these two groups because it is a home working on helping youth age out of the system successfully.
Last but not least, we had the privilege of having Mark come teach a select group of boys how to make Christmas Yule Logs. It was like having a baking class in our kitchen. Each cafeteria table was equipped with three place settings of bowls, spatulas, mixers, and measuring cups. He baked along side the boys and went through each step of how to make the Yule Logs to perfection. Out of the 9 being baked all 9 turned out great! He taught the boys how to separate egg yolks from the whites and added in tips to prevent cracking the cake when rolling it into a log.
A BIG Thank You goes out to all the organizations, and individual donors who helped make Christmas wonderful again! Thank you to Business By Referral Colorado Springs, Cheers, CliftonLarsonAllen, Cobiz Insurance & CoBiz Financial, Colorado Rock Hoppers, Fed Ex, Griffith Centers’ Board and Trustees, Hogan Lovells, King Soopers of Castle Rock & Castle Pines, Microsoft, Monument Community Presbyterian Church, MTech Mechanical, Morning Star Memory Care, National Christian Foundation, Peliton, Rampart Range Kiwanis Club, Rotary of Colorado Springs, Serv Pro of North Central Colorado Springs, St. Thomas More Catholic Church and all the countless individual donors in our community who contributed to making this Holiday season a special one to all of our children and families in care! It couldn’t have happened with out your help!