- (being_homeless) wrote in operation_smile,

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Christmas for Homeless Youth

okay. I'm crossposting this to several communities, so if you see this twice, I'm sorry...

but I thought I'd share with you about a project I did this Christmas for my friends....
some of you know me and/or read my journal, but for those of you who don't I'll re-introduce myself....
I'm crystal, I'm 22 years old and I've been homeless since Feb 2003. I'm in the boston area, I've stayed in 11 shelters as well as the streets this year... I'm homeless because I can't hold a job due to a brain injury from a car accident nearly 3 years ago (see my journal for more details). I'm currently a volunteer at Childrens Hospital, Boston as well as Ronald McDonald House in Boston. I'm in the writing program at Harvard Extension School (the night school at Harvard University)... And I go to a program called Youth on Fire- a drop-in center for Homeless Youth age 14-24.

I wanted to do something special for my friends for Christmas, so I decided to make 27 stockings out of fleece (it's easy) and stuff them to give to the youth at the drop-in on Christmas day. I have over 1000 people that read my journal regularly so many of them were willing to contribute to the project... Some mailed me packages of stocking stuffers, others contributed money, a few helped sew the stockings and other LJ friends helped shop for supplies and stuff them. it was a lot of hard work and organizing, but it was well worth it...

Here are links to the posts of the project in stages (lots of pixs)

Sewing the Stockings
stuffing the stockings
Other Donations for the Youth Drop-in Center
Everything wrapped and ready to be delivered....

I posted this article in my journal a while ago: The Spirit of Giving. It was written about me 3 years ago. I was 19 and ran a non-profit reaching out to families of sick kids. Christmas of 2000 I made 150 stockings out of fleece (like the above ones) and stuffed them and brought them to Childrens Hospitals in 5 states... it was a lot of fun. Hard work, but worth it when I saw the kids faces. :)

I particularly enjoyed doing it this year for homeless youth. the stuff we got was so practical, and I think the kids will really enjoy them... I can't wait til tomorrow to see them open their stockings!

Just thought I'd share this, and pass the idea along... other things you can do year round would be grab bags, stuffing shower caddies (for those in shelters) sack lunches etc... it's a lot of fun!
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