The holidays should be an exciting time for children. But, for many families in Michigan the season is far from merry. Judson Center serves children, adults and families who may feel the burden or stress of different experiences like a child welfare case, autism diagnosis, a mental health crisis or a family member with a disability. While gifts can’t solve the challenges many face, Judson Center staff, volunteers and donors work to lighten the load of families in need and make their Holiday Wishes come true. Together, they show just how contagious generosity can truly be.
‘Tis the Season for Giving
One example of this generosity can be found in a group of friends who call themselves the LaSalette Ladies, named after the church they attended together. Each year, Renee, Jeri, Karen and many other friends join forces to sponsor families through Judson Center’s Holiday Wish Program. While shoppers focus on back to school shopping or Halloween, they are busy buying gifts for families at Judson Center. The group was introduced to the organization when Renee’s child attended school with former Lahser Children’s Respite Home Manager, Laura. Dozens of sponsored families later and the LaSalette Ladies still look forward to helping families in the program each year. If the group collects extra donations, they often buy gifts for multiple families at a time.
Going Above & Beyond for Families in Need
Throughout their time partnering with Judson Center, the LaSalette Ladies have found it easy to continue giving back. Renee, who helps coordinate donations, says she and her daughter no longer exchange gifts, but sponsor a family together instead. Knowing that the donations are going to families who are truly in need makes the program much more special to them.
With each passing holiday, the groups commitment to the children and families impacted through Judson Center’s programs has only grown. In 2021, a difficult year for many, the LaSalette Ladies went above and beyond, even after they had already purchased gifts. Renee heard from Judson Center Community Engagement Officer, Peggy Kerr that a family in need was without a Christmas tree. Without hesitation, the LaSalette Ladies jumped in to make their holiday wish come true. They asked what colors the family liked and not only bought a tree, but supplied all of the decorations for it, too.
Holiday Wishes Really Do Come True!
The LaSalette Ladies are one of many community groups, businesses and donors who make up the incredible “Community of Caring” at Judson Center. Their generosity and selfless attitude ensure that the children, adults and families receiving services at Judson Center are able to have a holiday full of joy and celebration. In 2021, because of the generosity of donors, supporters and volunteers Judson Center was able to provide gifts, coats, food and more to 26 families, 60 adults with disabilities and over 1,000 children. 2022 is shaping up to be another year full of making holiday wishes come true!
Thank you to everyone who has shopped, donated and volunteered to help make the holidays brighter for those we serve. Happy Holidays from Judson Center!
By Amanda Forrester (Guest Contributor) & Hannah Gregory