Community supporters make holiday season special for Devereux Pennsylvania youth
The holidays are over, but the memories remain of a special season filled with joy and gratitude for youth served by Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Pennsylvania.
Through Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Services’ “Operation Santa” program, community supporters, as well as center staff and their families, donated hundreds of toys to help fulfill the holiday wish lists – and more – of approximately 300 children and adolescents living with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences.
“We want to thank our community supporters, team members and their families for helping to make ‘Operation Santa’ a success,” said Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Services Executive Director Patricia Hillis-Clark, Psy.D. “Through their incredible generosity, we were able to create holiday magic for those in our care, ensuring youth had presents to open and cherished memories to last a lifetime.”
In addition to fulfilling holiday wish lists, Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Services also received hundreds of “extra” toys from community supporters, as well as gloves, hats, coats and gift cards.
“Our supporters went above and beyond to brighten the holiday season for children and adolescents enrolled in our residential programs, and those in our psychiatric hospital, outpatient and community-based settings and approved private schools,” explained Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Services Director of Business Development Jessica Chappell, M.A., CBIS. One special community member donated $5,000, which allowed us to capture even more kids through ‘Operation Santa.’ Notably, our hospital used some of the funds to purchase toys; therapeutic games and crafts; books; clothing and blankets. In addition, two of our schools held celebratory holiday luncheons for students, while another school purchased gift cards for the kids. Our community services team also purchased gift cards, toys, clothing and supplies and distributed them to families with unique needs, including a single father of five.”
Spreading holiday cheer
Community supporters say they chose to participate in “Operation Santa” to spread holiday cheer.
“We wanted to make sure every child was able to celebrate the holidays. With Devereux, we know the children we are supporting, and it made us feel good to help them enjoy the season. In addition, the feedback we received afterward, including the handwritten thank you notes from the youth, allowed us to see their happiness and reminded us of the true meaning of the holidays.”
“It was great to see my football team work together to get presents to the kids who need them the most. We loved providing some magic during the holidays, and helping Devereux made us all feel like we were giving back.” – Alex C., West Chester East High School football player
Chappell noted, “Because of the thoughtfulness and compassion of our supporters, our youth had the opportunity to experience a holiday season like no other.”
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