During the first weekend of December, a time most people associate with endless holiday shopping and long lasting family tradition’s a group of 3rd and 4th graders and their parents came to LIFT to give back to the community. The families of LIFT supporters visited the office for the first time to learn more about the services LIFT provides and participate in a holiday decorating extravaganza.
Prior to decorating the office, the group participated in an activity where they learned and discussed the importance of giving back and serving the community. This activity taught the children that we all desire the same supports in life; like someone to talk to when times get tough, a healthy breakfast to start the day, and the comfort of knowing where you will rest your head at night. LIFT staff helped show the children that LIFT works with community members who are like them and the people in their lives but have happened to have fallen on tough times. Similar to the supports in the their lives like their parents, teachers or coaches, at LIFT we collaborate with members to realize the human potential within each person, build meaningful relationships and have an optimistic sense of possibility to overcome challenges.
Following the lesson, the children and their parents were fired up to contribute and do something special for
LIFT’s members. They collaborated to make the office look like a winter wonderland with festive holiday chains draped from wall to wall and handmade snowflakes, colorfully decorated reindeer and snowmen hanging in the lobby and workstations for members to enjoy. Following the extreme makeover the office now warmly greets our members with a new upbeat spirited personality that never fails to bring about a smile or even the occasional holiday song.
The families of LIFT supporters also brought bags filled with home-baked individually wrapped holiday treats for our members. Each member that has had a scheduled appointment or visited the office over the past couple weeks has left with a bag of cookies or brownies in hand. The volunteer’s time and baking talents have been greatly appreciated by all of our members as it has made their holiday season a little sweeter. After receiving a package of the holiday treats a LIFT member took the time to write, “Thank you so much for the wonderful gift of cookies. It was so heart-warming to know that someone cared enough to go out of their way and do that. I really appreciate your kindness.”
It was a pleasure to spend a Saturday afternoon with a kind-hearted group of families eager to learn about and give back to LIFT. Even if only for a couple hours, the passion for service, holiday spirit, and level of compassion in the office was immeasurable. I hope that during this short time together the children will be encouraged to be lifelong givers and possibly even future LIFT-Chicago advocates.
Even if they don’t end up volunteering with LIFT in the future, I am confident they will continue to individually seek ways they can serve and be an advocate in their own community.