dads rock: nurturing father engagement
we just love this story of giving back for the holidays
The Mrs. Claus project, helping to bring gifts to young Healthy Families moms in the North Shore area, was started by a former parent participant who wanted to give back. Jessica and her now-19 year old daughter were able to provide gifts to 8-10 moms in the project's first year, growing to 30 participants the following year, and over 100 families this year.
Reaching out to her own "personal angel" Susan, the Healthy Families North Shore Program Manager, Jessica and the Mrs. Claus Project were able to provide young mothers in a familiar situation with special gifts to remind them of their own hopes and dreams.
I know for sure that Susan is an angel because she has spent the past 18 years or so in the field. She was the one that set me up with local services including child care so I could stay in high school, drove me to appointments and provided me with daily support. It is this support along with the support of my family that gave me the courage to lean in when life felt rough. Now we have decided to pay it forward and surprise a few of the moms with special gifts just for them from "Santa."
All of the gifts are wrapped, so Jessica and some of her fellow Mrs. Claus' get together to have a wrapping party before delivering the gifts. Check out this brief video of their wrapping party:
But maybe the best part is the tremendous outpouring of gratitude that the Mrs. Claus project has created.
From the thank you letter to the Mrs. Claus Project from Susan that accompanied an envelope full of thank you notes:
"I was especially touched by your gesture to give to our program as a way of giving back from years ago when you were the recipient of support from a program such as Healthy families. I was touched by the fact that you recognized what those services meant to you and honored them in such a way. Over the years at I come to realize what a gift it is to work with young families. I am always amazed at the resilience displayed by the young woman I work with even in the face of great diversity. I am impressed by their willingness to accept help when needed but forge ahead to become self-sufficient and independent. I am amazed by their desire to share their story as a means to help others. I am grateful for their determination to create a future for their children and always happy to join them in celebrating their accomplishments."
Happy holidays to all, and an extra nod to all the special moms and dads out there!