She stressed about the perfect Christmas gifts, but then this happened…

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I stress myself out every year at Christmas time. Not because of the baking, preparing for company, decorating or the lack of time to get it all done, but because I want to find the perfect Christmas gifts for my residents at Jacobs’ Place. I stress about making sure everyone has the same amount of gifts to open and the same amount of money is spent on each resident. I want to really make sure Christmas is special for my young men and women.

Why do I do this you ask? Why do I get stressed about the perfect gifts year after year? Because today when we celebrated Christmas with 15 young adults living at Jacobs’ Place this is what I heard:

“I want to cry. I’ve never got this many presents before!” declared one young woman.

I said to one of the girls, “Honey, you can rip them open.” She replied, “No, I want to savor the moment. I’ve never had a Christmas like this before and I want to remember it forever.”

“This feels like silk,” one teen said in reference to a fleece blanket.

“I really need this,” one young man said in reference to two pairs of Levi’s.

One excitedly professed, “This is what I wanted the most!” in reference to a set of professional chef knives.

“Thank you so much! This was best thing ever!” I heard another say.

“I can’t believe you guys did all of this for us,” was a common remark from several residents.

Throughout the celebration, we received many hugs and thanks. These young people showed a tremendous amount of gratitude to us and our community partners who donated.

Each resident received four presents from us which were needs, as well as two fun gift cards and a grocery gift card. They were also fortunate to each receive a basket filled with hygiene items donated by United Way of the Midlands and a stocking filled with essentials and goodies from nursing students at UNMC.

This is why I stress every year. I stress in order to bring the memories of Christmas to a young person who’s never celebrated before. I stress to bring tears of joy and feelings of excitement to young adults who deserve a wonderful Christmas. I stress to make these young folks feel special and loved.

My heart is so full and I have had many tears all day. God has blessed me to get to do what I do!

May you find joy this Christmas season!

Brandy Gustoff

Jacobs’ Place

Program Manager of Transition Services


About Jacobs’ Place

Jacobs’ Place is a transitional living program that serves as a resource for young men and women age 17-20 who struggle with a lack of housing, support, education and independent living skills. The program provides a skills-based structure, safe environment and caring staff to help young men and women gain the skills needed to move toward self-sufficiency.

To support the young adults served at Jacobs’ Place, please contact the Omaha Home for Boys’ development office to discuss giving options or make an online donation.


(402) 457-7165

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