The following account was written by Brandy Gustoff, the former Program Manager of Transition Services at Omaha Home for Boys, on December 22, 2016:
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, Omaha Home for Boys’ Transitional Living Program. 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 the 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.
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!
Help Bring Holiday Joy to Our Youth
With your help, we can create a special holiday season for all of the youth at Omaha Home for Boys. Your donation today can help purchase a gift from our Holiday Wish List for a young man or woman at the Home who may otherwise go empty handed on Christmas. Our Holiday Wish List includes:
- Gift cards for food and other essentials
- Winter coats
- Men’s and women’s socks
- Personal hygiene items