Hope for the Holidays | Making Seasons Brighter

We had an opportunity to speak with one of our donors recently and talk with her about why she is so passionate about being involved with our annual “Hope for the Holidays” program.

Sitting in her home in Mascoutah, Samantha relaxes on her couch as what sounds like a thunderous herd goes by. “Those are my three babies,” she says. She’s talking about her three dogs, each weighing over 100 pounds. “It’s non-stop action around here.”

Samantha was born in Maryland but has lived in numerous locations throughout her childhood, including southern Illinois. “I’m the daughter of a military dad. Moving is part of the deal,” she explains. She and her sister moved back to the southern Illinois area in adulthood and made it their home to be close to each other and other family members.

Samantha’s dad was adopted, so she learned a lot about the challenges and ordeals of foster children through his experiences. It’s that understanding that led her to give back to organizations like ours.

“I worked in nonprofit myself at one point,” she says. Now a wedding planner, she still likes to give back when possible, especially for causes focused on children. “I learned about Hoyleton when my sister, Alex, started working for you at the Lehre Haus,” she says. Lehre Haus is one of our residential homes located in Belleville, IL, for intellectually disabled young men transitioning from foster care.

“Alex loves working for Hoyleton and being a part of its mission to enable all people,” says Samantha. “Seeing her passion and understanding the programs they have for youth, both young and old, made me want to get involved in a different way.”

“It can’t be easy when you can’t fully help yourself,” she goes on. “I felt for them and wanted to get involved to bring a little joy into their lives, especially around the holidays, which can be even tougher on them.”

This is why Samantha decided to get involved in our “Hope for the Holidays” gift program.

“Hope for the Holidays” allows people to choose a youth and/or family to purchase gifts for them to have on Christmas. Whether it’s using a wish list that was created for them or simply providing gift cards, “Hope for the Holidays” is a way for people to make someone else’s season bright.

“I ask Hoyleton to simply choose a few youths for me, regardless of age,” Samantha explains. “I can then pick out some gifts and know their Christmas will be a little merrier. We sometimes take for granted that all children are afforded the same joys. This brings some perspective and helps those who need it most.”

Samantha plans on making “Hope for the Holidays” a tradition in her family, and she looks forward to finding other ways to support our mission in the future.


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