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Glenholme's Spirit of Giving

The Glenholme School (Connecticut)

(Washington, CT)

Christmas Past

Holidays at Glenholme have always been cheerful events for the children we serve. For over 30 years, many of our students did not go home for Christmas. Some had no home, others had scattered families, a few received short visits with visiting resources somewhere during the holiday week. Nevertheless, Hanukah and Christmas were bright and special days at Glenholme. Staff spent weeks shopping for toys and clothes, then wrapping each gift with the merriment of anticipation, knowing the joy a child would receive after ripping off the ribbons and bows to see the prize inside. Cottages were decorated with lights and wreaths and trees and trimmings. Truly special meals were served to students wearing brand new holiday outfits. New pajamas were worn while dreaming, perhaps not of 'sugar plums,' but of the wonder of Santa. And what joy there was on Christmas morning! Staff - both scheduled to work and those with the day off - would watch and share the total pleasure of each child during this special season. Children without families and homes who were enabled to celebrate holidays with enjoyment and happiness because of the staff who cared for them and found irresistible even the hardest child to love.

Christmas Present

As Glenholme opened its doors to a wider range of children with special needs, our goals increased to develop students for continued education. The children now at Glenholme have more family support than those who lived with us in the past. For the first time in Glenholme's history, the campus will be closed on Christmas day. Every child on our campus will be home for the holidays. This in itself is a milestone for the school.

At Glenholme, we practice our values every day of the year. These values are part of our culture, they are part of our orientation process and they are part of the spirit of every staff member. One of our values is caring. This thoughtful consideration is how we respond to everything that goes on around us and we model this behavior for our students. And oh, how they respond! This year, Glenholme students have completed 2000 hours of community service that has become a continuous standard of pride and commitment. Right now, in our reception area stands a tree decorated with donated hats, gloves, mittens and scarves. Some of our students will take these items to a St. Vincent DePaul shelter so other children can be warm with their new brightly colored accessories. Other students will make their weekly visit to their friends at an area nursing home, wishing them happy holidays before they themselves leave to celebrate with their families.

And Glenholme will be closed on Christmas day.

Ah, but the spirit and the value of caring continues even though the campus will remain quiet that day. A new tradition will begin with our staff and students this holiday year, 2005. Because Christmas is magical, Glenholme will sponsor a family in town who is very much in need. The idea went out with immediate and overwhelming support from staff with ideas and donations of grocery gift cards, gasoline cards, clothing, gifts for the boy, the girl, the mom and the dad. Students help with the wrapping, knowing that, as is our tradition, a real Christmas will happen for some kids who thought there just wouldn't be very much cheer this year.

Christmas Future

There are always children and families who need a helping hand. Devereux is there to bring a meaningful life to all people. At Glenholme, it really doesn't matter whether it's a child we care for or a family we'll never meet. We are here for them. We can quietly supply a doll or some slippers or a turkey or two. It is in the giving that we show our awareness and concern. It is seeing joy on a little girl's face, excitement in a young man's eyes, a smile on a mother's face that secures our hearts. It is working together to give to a lonely child, or a family in need a nicer day, a better holiday. We don't seek recognition or thanks. Because, quite simply, we just care. That's the way we are.
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