I have a friend who spent a large part of her childhood homeless. She says it was not so much the fact that they were homeless, because they lived in their car so they could stay out of the weather and had help from local shelters and organizations for food, but it was that she never was able to believe in Santa Claus because there she didn’t have a Christmas. Thousands of kids every year go without a single present- either at Christmas, Hannukah, birthdays, or any other “holiday.” Its not necessarily the giving of the present that matters, its the idea of someone cares enough to think about you on a special day.
Thus, for this post, I’m highlighting One Simple Wish. The organization has several programs that benefit foster children and families fallen on rough times, including Wish Granting, The Ohana Project, Wish to Work, and Project Prom. These programs give free prom dresses to teens in need, help in gaining job skills for kids who age out of foster care, provide basic supplies like baby care items to foster kids and families, and grant the needs of kids and families. To read more about these programs, see their website here.
The best part about this organization is that you don’t necessarily have to give money. You can simply grant a wish that has been posted on their website, which include music lessons, basic school supplies, a tutor, or a simple experience (like a ride along with a police officer), donate a prom dress because who wears that more than once, really? There are simple things you can offer for just a few minutes and a couple bucks to mail something or an hour or two worth of time to make someone’s day or even life. Who knows how much of an impact you could make on someone’s like, especially a child who lacks in even the basics that we take for granted every day?
Their work extends throughout the United States, to date touching over 5,000 kids in 30 states. In my own experience with foster kids, their families, the system, and knowing the statistics (see numbers here and more info here, the stories are heartbreaking. From the outside it seems like there is no way their lives could be real, but sadly, they lived through it and re-live through it every day in memory day and night.
The following is an endorsement of One Simple Wish from their website. You can read more endorsements here.
Graduation photos. A trip to the movies. A double-dutch jump rope. Many kids could simply ask their parents to buy these items, and they will do so without hesitation. But many families our agency PEI Kids serve cannot afford these purchases as they worry about necessities like food and shelter. The children and the families we serve have faced horrible situations – child sexual abuse, abandonment, trauma and loss. Many of these children have stopped wishing for things they know they cannot have. There are no fairy tales with happy endings in their worlds. Because of One Simple Wish, children in our programs are having happy endings. I have seen firsthand in the eyes of the children we serve the joy and happiness this organization has given them. And it is not just the gift itself. Many of these children have been hurt and disappointed by the people in their lives who are supposed to love and care for them. To have a complete stranger purchase a gift for them helps restore their faith in humankind. -Nicole Cody Communications & Outreach Associate, PEI Kids
So, check out their website (http://www.onesimplewish.org/) and share this post with someone.