How Gratitude Makes an Impact

giving back, philanthropy, Los Angeles, children, foster care, families, adopt a family, group homes

To view more photos, visit our Facebook page at

Hillsides is so fortunate to benefit from the extraordinary generosity of our donor community. This is especially evident during the holiday season when a legion of supporters provides a steady flow of gifts to satisfy the wish lists that the children, youth, and families we serve share with us. For many of our donors, unless they volunteer in our support groups, there is no opportunity to meet the actual recipient of a gift.

However, a handful of our volunteers, who have focused throughout the year on supporting the children who live in our group homes, have had the opportunity to actually get to know the children we serve. This holiday was especially meaningful for them as they got the wish list from those children to make sure that their wishes were all addressed. From my office, I could see a steady flow of these volunteers bringing in these gifts during the weeks before Christmas, checking off the items, making sure that everything was ready. Often they would come with there own children to drop off these gifts to introduce them to the spirit of giving that is at the heart of the holiday season.

As much as possible I tried to personally thank these volunteers and all of them had the same response: thanking me and Hillsides for the opportunity to give back in gratitude for all they enjoy themselves. For all of our generous supporters, what motivates them is knowing that for these children and their families this holiday season will not be marred by the traumas they may have experienced, but rather made memorable because of the generosity of a supportive community. One example of this memorable season is best summarized by one of our therapist who delivered her client family their adopt-a-family wishes:

My client and his mother had their mouths agape and were excited upon seeing the amount of gifts they received. My five-year-old client kept asking whether or not the gifts were for him and was smiling and jumping when finding out that the gifts were indeed for him. My client’s mother continuously expressed gratitude towards Hillsides and guided my client to use his words in saying thanks. When I provided my client’s mother with gift cards to Wal-Mart and Superior, she stood in disbelief with her eyes lighting up and filling with tears of joy.  She was extremely surprised and grateful for the generosity of the donors and repeatedly expressed thanks for helping make this a Christmas the family will never forget.

This support for children and families who are so vulnerable makes a great impact. It eases their anxiety and, more importantly, reassures them that they are valued and important. Our ability to make such a statement is dependent upon the kind and generous support of our donor community. To one and all, thank you!

On behalf of whom we serve, our extraordinary staff, and the Hillsides Board of Directors, please accept our gratitude and best wishes for a glorious holiday season and a prosperous new year.

To view more photos, visit our Facebook album.

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