This December brought about joy and cheer from the dedicated support base that delivers Christmas in a way that helps the children and families in our care “believe” in the possibilities of the New Year.
From dedicated volunteers, to generous donors, to those unstoppable Christmas elves the magic of the holiday was evident in all corners of the Crittenton Services for Children and Families universe.
We kicked off the holidays the year by teaming up with friends such as, Junior League of Orange County, to fulfill the need for stocking stuffers for youth and toddlers living in our Residential Services Treatment Center and our Youth Shelter Program.
Handmade stockings designed, made, and stuffed by Critttenton volunteers were filled with basic supplies such as: hats, mittens, scarves, lotions, stuffed animals and other personal hygiene products that our kids enjoyed receiving.
A stocking parade of flannel, velvet, soft cotton, fringe and sparkle adorned the rooms of the Residential Treatment Center and Youth Shelter Program as the kids eagerly showcased their stockings for all to see.
However, the volunteers did not stop at just stockings! Each year our dedicated volunteer groups meticulously plan out holiday parties for our youth staying in our treatment center and shelter program. Crittenton volunteers know that the holidays can be an especially difficult time for some of our youth that don’t have safe and stable homes to go back to. Therefore, our volunteers make sure that at Crittenton the holidays are a time where concepts of safe, stable and cared for are synonymous with Christmas.
At the Residential Treatment Center, the teenage girls, got a visit from their volunteer “moms” and “big sisters” and got to spend a Saturday enjoying a Christmas brunch, board games, and one-on-one time with a group of women that care about their well being.
“Our girls felt so supported and blessed this holiday season. Thanks to all of our volunteers, donors and support staff as this outpouring of generosity is what makes the difference at Crittenton,” said Tristyn Ingallinera, Vice President of Residential Treatment Services, CSCF.
The celebration was slightly different this year in our Youth Shelter Program. Due to some health issues this winter season their holiday party was cancelled. However, Youth Shelter Program volunteers were able to improvise and still get the opportunity to send stockings and dinner to all kids staying at the shelter.
In fact, the Youth Shelter Program volunteers were so determined in making the holidays happen for the kids that the volunteers were able to convince well know Orange County, Calif. chef, Adam Navidi, to make a special dinner. The executive chef and part owner of the wildly popular green2GO organic restaurant and market in Brea, Calif. was so moved by the Youth Shelter Program story that Navidi’s core team personally made, packed and delivered the food themselves. Fresh organic salad, numerous side dishes, decadent sauces, and irresistibly fluffly Enchiladas were among the dinner items to choose from. Both Navidi and his business manager took time out to personally make the holidays just a little brighter for youth in Crittenton’s care.
The festivities continued throughout the agency and both our Wraparound Services Program and Foster Care Program made every effort to make the holidays special for our community based clients.
Both programs organized celebrations for entire families (birth or adoptive) to enjoy. For our foster youth their holiday party, which was generously donated by the Fullerton Elks Lodge #1993, consisted of a sit-down dinner, a night of dancing, and was a chance to spend time with old Crittenton friends and new family members.
From food to good cheer foster youth and families spent a night getting to know a large community of resilient survivors all with a different story and trajectory.
In our Wraparound Services Program staff staged various celebrations throughout the Los Angeles County area. From Compton to Pomona, Calif. families got to share time together in an environment that promoted support and encouragement.
The various holiday events invited families to break bread with Crittenton by providing a safe space for all to enjoy the festivities. Whether the activity was to participate in a “reindeer game” or to sing your heart out at Karaoke the children and families that attended enjoyed each other’s company.
Last, but certainly not least, we should note that the holidays would not be what they are if it were not for those hard working Crittenton elves that show up each year.
The Crittenton Angel Tree Program and its dedicated elves, now in it’s 15th year, handles the “magic” part of the holidays at Crittenton. It is through the Angel Tree Program that all children and families enrolled in our agency programs receive a gift for the holidays. More than 700 Christmas wishes needed to be fulfilled this year and our holiday elves were working overtime to make the Christmas deadline.
In a strong show of support donors from across Southern California came through to make holiday wishes into a reality for so many children and families in need. Whether it was a skateboard or a new laundry basket with cleaning products that was asked for the Crittenton support base came through. First-time philanthropists and corporate donors such as: ADP, Lakeshore Learning Store – Carson, Mercury Insurance, 96-7 KCAL/ 99.9 KOLA, Morningside of Fullerton and so many others made the magic of Christmas possible.
“The Angel Tree program has become one of Morningside’s favorite activities of the year,” said Melody McFadden, Director of Accounting for Morningside and organizer of the donation event for the retirement community. “Participation among the residents and staff has increased every year because of the outstanding work Crittenton does to help children – some of whom are living in some very sad situations. It feels good to support the kids by making sure they have a special wish fulfilled for the holidays.
Crittenton Services for Children and Families of Southern California (CSCF) is a non-profit social services agency whose mission is to heal the wounds of abuse and neglect; strengthen families; and help troubled adolescents reach their full potential. Established and incorporated in 1966 Crittenton has a highly trained workforce operating 24 hours a day / 7 days a week providing comprehensive counseling, medical, and other support services to the clients in our care. We provide a full array of residential, in-home, community based, wraparound, mental health, foster care, and adoption services with a service planning area throughout Southern California that covers Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego Counties.