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Holiday Heroes Bring Cheer to Children and Teens in the Child Welfare System

2016 Holiday Heroes recap

During the recent holiday season, hundreds of Holiday Heroes partnered with KVC Health Systems’ local subsidiaries across the U.S. to give gifts to more than 6,000 children and teens receiving child welfare system or behavioral healthcare services. Holiday Heroes are individuals, businesses, churches, groups and other organizations who donated toys, clothing, games, gift cards, electronics and more for vulnerable youth to help make their Christmas or other holiday traditions special.

KVC is a nonprofit organization working to show that people matter by providing support to children and families. Some of its primary services include:

  • keeping families safely together by providing in-home support (family preservation),
  • safely reuniting families who have had children removed from the home (reintegration),
  • providing out-of-home care by partnering with relatives, other kin and foster families,
  • matching youth with adoptive families,
  • providing aftercare to support families who have recently reintegrated or adopted, and
  • providing psychiatric treatment at its hospitals.

Each of these services involves children and parents who are overcoming challenges in order to be safe, healthy and connected to others. One simple thing that communities can do to support vulnerable families is rally around them during the holidays.

KVC provides family services in partnership with state agencies including the Kansas Department for Children and Families, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and the West Virginia Department for Health and Human Services and many others. KVC staff in these four states reached out to local communities to collect the items on children’s wish lists so that they would have gifts to open during the holidays. Information on the various states is below, including just a few of the special Holiday Heroes we’d like to recognize.


KANSAS

Over 5,000 children and teens received holiday gifts through KVC Kansas’ Holiday Hero program including those served by family preservation, foster care and aftercare programs. Numerous businesses, organizations, families and individuals generously donated new toys, clothes, games, electronics, gift cards and more items on children’s wish lists. 

Erin is a Holiday HeroInstead of getting gifts for her birthday this year, Erin decided to give back to other kids in need. She asked friends and family members to purchase gifts for children and teens in foster care through our Holiday Hero program. (See the post on Facebook)

pitt-stateCayley Fenoughty is studying social work at Pittsburg State University. For her senior project, she rallied 8 organizations to participate in our Holiday Hero program, providing gifts for 140 children in need. (Read more of her story in The Collegio)

Generous community partners also brightened the holidays for children, adolescents and adults receiving psychiatric treatment at KVC Prairie Ridge Hospital and KVC Wheatland Hospital. Several businesses and organizations donated toys, blankets, sports equipment and more to 98 children, youth and adults over the holidays. 

Grant Mennonite youth group Holiday HeroesThe Grant Mennonite youth group from Ulysses, Kansas delivered holiday treats to youth receiving psychiatric treatment at KVC Wheatland Hospital in Hays, Kansas. This is the second year the group has done this! (See the post on Facebook)

Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce Holiday HeroesThe Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce collected and donated gifts for youth receiving psychiatric treatment at KVC Prairie Ridge Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas. Sheila Tracy and Kathy Ludwig have been longtime friends of KVC and have been very supportive in helping us achieve our mission. (See the post on Facebook)


KENTUCKY

45 children received holiday gifts through KVC Kentucky’s Holiday Hero program including those served by family preservation, foster care and behavioral health services. Gifts were donated by families of Providence Montessori Middle School in Lexington and other private donors from all across Kentucky.


NEBRASKA

Generous individuals and organizations partnered with KVC Nebraska to provide gifts for 460 children and teens in Omaha, Lincoln and surrounding communities. These Holiday Heroes donated toys, games, electronics, clothing, gift cards and more! Read the entire recap on the KVC Nebraska blog.

Nebraska Holiday Heroes ProgramSgt. Angel Muro and several generous donors to the Toys for Tots program provided numerous gifts for children and youth in foster care. Toys for Tots has partnered with KVC Nebraska to provide gifts for kids served through the child welfare system for several years now.

Doug and Jamie Dawson are Holiday HeroesDoug and Jamie Dawson recruited Holiday Heroes at their workplace which resulted in dozens of gifts for teenagers in foster care. The couple are licensed foster parents through KVC Nebraska and were recognized as Foster Parents of the Year in June 2016.


WEST VIRGINIA

780 children in West Virginia received gifts this holiday season. Holiday Heroes donated toys, games, clothes, activity books and more for children and teens in foster care.

Lonnie Bowen and John Rivard are Holiday HeroesLonnie and Debbie Bowen, John Rivard and members of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church of Williamson and the First United Methodist Women donated numerous gifts for children in foster care this holiday season. These groups have participated in our WV Holiday Hero program for several years now. (See the post on Facebook)

Debbie and Scott Broom are Holiday HeroesDebbie and Scott Broom, along with members of the Southern Cruisers Riding Club Chapter 689, collected and donated toys and gifts for WV children in foster care. (See the post on Facebook)


Thank you to all of our Holiday Heroes who selflessly donated gifts and brought smiles to the faces of so many children and teens! 

It takes help from caring and supportive communities to strengthen vulnerable families and build resilience in children and adults who have experienced trauma. KVC offers several opportunities throughout the year for individuals, groups and organizations to help others in need. Read this blog to discover the best way you can give back to your community!

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