Forestdale Inc., a foster care and human services agency based in Forest Hills, makes a point of providing a joyful holiday experience for all of the children we work with. Many of these children have known significant trauma during their young lives, impacting their emotional well-being, physical development, and future prospects.
A simple holiday celebration can work wonders, mitigating the long-term impact of some negative childhood experiences.
These past 24 months have been extremely challenging for everyone. In response to the pandemic, Forestdale adapted all client services to continue remotely. In December 2020 and 2021, we had to forego our usual indoor party with 600-plus people and have the celebration outside on our campus.
So instead of a traditional party, small family groups moved through a “Winter Wonderland” complete with activities, warm beverages, snacks, and information about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas. As a finale, each child received a gift.
As a nonprofit, Forestdale relies on the kindness of supporters, including individuals, foundations, community groups, corporations, and other nonprofits, to make these annual celebrations happen. Otherwise, the expenses related to them would divert funds away from essential programming.
Forestdale board members rallied their friends and colleagues, and got the Pinnacle Building in Forest Hills and the School of the Blessed Sacrament in Manhattan to purchase and donate hundreds of gifts. The Good+ Foundation, a long-standing donor of diapers, coats, and infant formula to Forestdale, awarded Forestdale $20,000 to pay for over 600 presents and warm winter wear for our Strong Mothers, Strong Fathers, and Preventive services clients. In addition, “Tote”-ally Loved, a small Queen-based nonprofit, generously supplied tote bags filled with self-care items for the young women in the Strong Mothers program.
Forestdale offers a myriad of resources and experiences to help the families we serve move beyond trauma and towards a thriving future. We provide evidence-based services, clinical interventions, life coaching, parenting support, youth internships, and more.
In addition, we have supply drives throughout the year that help provide material goods and experiences for children in foster care. But sometimes, what a child really needs is a winter coat, warm meal, and a brand-new toy they can call their own, or a staff member or donor willing to go the extra mile to ensure they have what they require to flourish.
It might sound simplistic, but these experiences can help a child who has gone through adversity heal over time.
If you wish to find out more about Forestdale’s work and how you can get involved throughout the year, either individually or with your company, visit forestdaleinc.org or find us on Facebook.