The cooking and the baking started at the crack of dawn, and the scents of homemade baked goods, sides dishes created from family recipes, and well seasoned turkey’s filled the air at Crittenton Services for Children and Families (CSCF) this Thanksgiving.
“This is one of our favorite holidays to observe agency wide. Crittenton frontline staff from our Wraparound Services Program, our Foster Care Program, and our Residential Treatment Services Program do what they can to give their clients a memorable day and most importantly to let those we serve know that someone is thinking of them,” said Martha Jasso, Director of Communications, CSCF.
In particular, the concentration of Thanksgiving festivities happens to occur on our residential treatment campuses each year. Crittenton staff takes great pride and care in preparing a Thanksgiving feast fit for royalty. This is to ensure that the youngest of our clients placed in our residential treatment programs get to experience this holiday in a safe space.
“Sadly, for a number of our youth the holiday’s are not necessarily filled with pleasant memories. The youth entrusted to stay with us for, a short treatment period, oftentimes come from chaotic and even dangerous situations or homes that do not allow them to experience what childhood is all about – a happy family,” said Jasso, “At Crittenton we make it our mission that no matter what a kid’s situation is while staying with us that at minimum they get to experience a fraction of what you or I may have experienced during the holiday season growing up, and that they feel safe and cared for.”
Each year as the countdown gets closer to dinnertime all youth in our residential treatment programs gather with invited guests and staff alike for a family style meal. This is done so that the kids can experience what it is to take part in a family dinner.
And as all invited to our yearly Thanksgiving celebration gather at the table filled with food; the tradition at Crittenton for each guest is to give thanks for something, anything, one is happy for.
For many of our kids who shared what they were thankful for, it was actually the most basic of things that made them happy, including: their grandmother, a roof over their head, for God in their life, to be alive, and the opportunity to meet new friends while staying at Crittenton.
“The day can be a little tough for some of the kids who are staying with us due to the safety concerns in their home life. But when the kids see how much time and effort the staff dedicates away from their own families, on Thanksgiving, all in the effort to remind them that we are here to truly help it strike a positive cord in them,” said Alex Genah, Lead Recreation Specialist, Residential Treatment Center, CSCF.
And as the festivities wound down in our residential treatment programs the evening had just started for our community-based programs.
In this case our Foster Care and Wraparound Family Services Programs each do something special for the youth and their families that we currently serve.
Of particular, note, our Wraparound Family Services Program teams up with Lambda Theta Phi Fraternity, Alpha Iota Chapter, of California State University, Long Beach. This year, with the Lambdas help, we were able to donate an entire Thanksgiving meal to 10 families in our Wraparound Program.
This Thanksgiving we are thankful to our community partners, our support base, our donors, our volunteers, our staff, our families, and our kids that make Crittenton a place to be thankful for throughout the year.
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.