In December of 2009, Cathy and her co-workers volunteered as Holiday Giving sponsors and walked into the lives of one local family in need. The family had faced a difficult year and was struggling to provide for their basic needs. A special Christmas meal and gifts seemed out of reach. However, through the generosity of this group of sponsors, every family member received a special gift.  Cathy was touched by the family’s warmth and love and all the thank-you notes they received from the children. One note in particular stood out. It was written by the family’s 13 year old daughter. This young girl explained that watching her mother open a gift that was purchased just for her was the highlight of her Christmas. This was the first gift the children had seen their mother receive.

The Holiday Giving Project provides food and gifts to needy families, but it is not about giving things. It is about sharing joy and hope and investing time in another person. Although, not all recipient families are able to express their feelings and gratitude like this one, we can be assured that we are making a difference. Thank you to everyone who has supported the Holiday Giving Project. The joy and hope that you are sharing it worth more than the gifts and food you are delivering.  If you are interested in proving food and gifts for a needy family or interested in joining the Holdiay Giving Team please contact Jill Ochs This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rock-the-House provides a safe, fun and supportive environment for many children who struggle with realizing their talents and how much they are loved by God.   On the day of our Rock-the-House Christmas Party, we learned that one of our boys, Thomas, would be moving to West Virginia the next day. He had grown up in the Gardens and was a regular at Rock-the House. His family had many struggles, including a father who was in and out of jail, a mother suffering from depression, and no positive male role-model for Thomas. Thomas needed to be around strong positive people who could lead him and teach him how to become a man. He thrived at Rock-The House, built relationships with many of the volunteers, learned social skills, received love, affirmation and forgiveness for his mistakes. With tears in his eyes, he said “goodbye” to friends and told us “I will miss Rock-the-House most of all”. His mother called me that evening to express how deeply grateful she was for the program and everyone who had reached out to Thomas. I could hear her sob as she thanked me and told me that we had made a big difference in their lives. With tears in my own eyes, I prayed with her, and thanked God for His provision and care of Rock-the House. To learn more about Rock the House or to volunter your time please contact Shawna Offenberger This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

One of the first students to get his GED through our program is the first one in his family to earn a GED or high school diploma. He was so excited when he opened the envelope letting him know that he had passed the GED exam. This was a huge milestone for him and we were so proud that he had achieved this goal. Another student that passed the GED exam, is a young mother who realized she had to have the GED to advance her career. She has now received a pay raise and is looking forward to more responsibility at work and a stronger foundation for her family.