We recently held our annual Weekend Miracles Holiday Event in Los Angeles! This year, we had an outdoor event at Servicon in Culver City. The venue was decorated to celebrate the holiday season and inspire people to feel festive! Everywhere you turned, you saw glittery decorations, pine trees, stockings, and winter-appropriate beverages (including hot cocoa and cider). The event was a celebration of family, the resilience of our Kidsave Kids, and our amazing volunteers!
As the event was kicking off, we sat down with Sherri Sweeney, one of Kidsave’s dedicated Trustee Board members, who had this to say about the event:
“Today is Kidsave’s annual holiday event! A lot of kids from the LA foster system are here; they’re meeting some wonderful, positive mentors and people that are interested in potentially adopting. It’s such a great way for older children in the system to meet positive influences and people that care about them.”
Last year, due to the pandemic, our holiday festivities were virtual. We’re so proud of what our volunteers helped us accomplish the previous year – they truly provided us with an excellent framework for creating virtual fun. Still, it was such a treat, seeing everyone gathered one last time this winter, before the New Year!
There were approximately 40 kids in attendance, so Kidsave was genuinely relying on the help of our volunteers to pull this off! They went the extra mile. Natalie Mahdesian, one of the volunteers in attendance, shared, “This year for the holiday party, we wanted to make it extra special for the children – especially on the heels of COVID. It’s a great day filled with food, arts and crafts, games.” Watching the kids run around and connect with people who could become their forever family is always fantastic. It feels especially terrific during the holidays, as these kids will likely not have heartwarming family time over the next few weeks.
Natalie Mahdesian touched on this sad truth, saying, “I think what the children recognize when they are here is that they can see a sense of normalcy. A lot of times, foster children don’t have opportunities that our children might have had naturally. Here they get a chance to laugh, to talk, to hang out with other children that are in their situation. They recognize that they’re completely accepted for who they are.” Nothing’s better than watching a kid’s face light up when they begin making connections at our events.
This year, we had an extra memorable treat for the kids. One of our Trustee Board members, Autumn Ronda, graciously enlisted her family’s company (New U Life) to prepare personalized gift bags for all kids who came to our holiday event. As the event was coming to a close, kids lined up with giant stockings and received their gifts. They were surprised and delighted when they opened their presents to see gifts that had been chosen specifically according to their wishes. How did New U Life help us pull off this Holiday miracle?
We spoke with Autumn Ronda to find out. “We selected, purchased, and wrapped gifts for the kids, and these gifts are highly curated to exactly what their Christmas wishes were. It’s really important that we let kids know that we see them as individuals, we care about them and what they want, and that we went out of our way to fix something they would think was special.”
It was a truly joyous occasion all around, and our volunteers made it all possible. We can’t wait for next year’s holiday event!