Imagine, if you will, somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 children (plus Mom or Dad) gathered at Cochran Elementary School (a wonderful FSH partner!) for the annual Family Scholar House Resident Holiday Party. There’s pizza (plenty of it!). Cookies (lots of those, too!). Juice boxes, water, veggie trays. All the sorts of food things you might need for a party. There’s also art supplies for a coloring contest.
Mrs. Claus comes to the FSH party, too, smiling beautifully and with such care for all our kiddos, her lap wide enough and arms strong enough to welcome as many children as will join her for a picture, or just a sweet whispered, “Merry Christmas.” The line to see her is long and any one lucky enough to observe the visits of the children to Mrs. Claus is privy to some incredible smiles and giggles and laughter.
Mrs. Claus brings presents from folks in the community who care about our kids–new pajamas and a book for each child. This year, the bags that Mrs. Claus delivered the pajamas in were decorated by the children of a local faith community–their stickers and glitter and crayon drawings testament to their love for other children, even ones they don’t know.
Volunteers of all sorts welcome residents to the party and work hard behind the scenes. FSH staff serve dinner and escort kids to Mrs. Claus. It is, truly, a team effort, born of the collaboration of many hearts, minds and bodies. And for many FSH families, it IS their family Christmas party–their family Christmas meal. It is, as FSH CEO Cathe Dykstra often says, “no accident” that “Family” is the first identifier in our organization’s name. Because at FSH, we ARE family. Always.
And so it shouldn’t surprise anyone at all that the winner of this year’s coloring contest drew a picture communicating just that–that at this time of year, we are reminded in some really wonderful ways that we truly are all in this together.
There are in this world far too many who feel alone, who feel hopeless, who feel as if there is no way forward. At Family Scholar House, we know that not a one of us traverses this life successfully without the support of a caring community. We’re all in this together–this we know, and this we strive to be about as we work and live and be together. For EVERYONE who is part and parcel of our community, we are thankful.