2017 may be coming to a close, but this Holiday Season was one of the highlights of the year! Trillium Family Services is so grateful for the generosity and compassion of our community members and we would like to take a few moments to share with you all the wonderful things that happened in the last few weeks.
For many of us, the holidays evoke memories of shared family gatherings, special meals, and unforgettable traditions. For the children in our programs however, the season can be a source of disappointment due to a family’s lack of financial resources or having to be in residential care, away from the comforts of home. That’s why we at Trillium work diligently each year to make the holidays extra special, so that children who are in the process of healing can experience the magic of the season.
To start things off, local businesses near both our Metro and Mid-Willamette Valley campuses signed up to host Giving Trees featuring wish tags from the clients utilizing our treatment services. Things like books, art supplies, sports equipment, games, and clothing are frequently requested, and employees and customers from the businesses who participate in this activity rally to help fulfill EVERY request! Some groups have been participating in this tradition with us for 10+ years! We simply cannot begin to describe the amount of cheer these businesses and groups bring to the children and families in our programs.
Many of these groups also participated in our NEW Donation Drop Off event, hosted by the Keep Oregon Well Street Team on each of the respective campuses. This expedited gift organization on our end and allowed for volunteers to prep gifts even quicker. Participating groups got a chance to interact with Trillium staff and volunteers, and posed for festive pictures with all their donated gifts! It seemed like all the groups had a fun time gathering the wish list items and it was so empowering for our staff to have a chance to personally thank each group for taking the time to help our organization. We will be offering this opportunity again next year and look forward to seeing everyone again.
Thank you to the following groups for supporting our Giving Tree efforts!
Portland Metro Region:
Bank of America Tualatin/Sherwood
Bank of America SE Milwaukie
Bank of America SW 116th
Bank of America SE Sunnyside
Bank of America NW Bethany Blvd
Bank of America NW 21st Ave
Bank of America SW Allen Blvd.
Bank of America SW Pacific Hwy
Bank of America 4th Street
In Memory of Steve Hoagland – Group of neighbors and friends
Bank of America Lake Oswego
Les Schwab Tire Center on SE Powell
Mid-Willamette Valley Region:
Key Bank Corvallis
Regent Holiday Retirement
Project Foster Kids USA
Rotary Morning Club
**Apologies to any businesses we may have missed when this went to print.
Special to the Portland Metro Area is our Adopt-A-Family program which allows individuals and groups to support a specific family in our Therapeutic Outpatient Program. For some of these families, the option to purchase toys and clothes is just not possible, especially when pantry and household items are needed as well. With the support of community, over 30 families were able to be adopted this year and matched with donors who wanted to help. Entire families were able to receive new items, including gift cards to the grocery store, new bedding and clothing, toys for the clients we work with AND their siblings, and even some new items for their parents. This particular program really helps support families who are struggling to make ends meet or who may be experiencing major crisis. The families are always so grateful and touched by the support of strangers who simply want them to have a special holiday. For the donors, we often hear that they had a lot of fun picking out gifts and wanted to do even more to help give the kids and their parents a memorable holiday. We also hear that for some donors, they use this opportunity to teach their own children about the importance of giving back and helping others who may be less fortunate.
In addition to the Holiday Giving Tree and Adopt-A-Family programs, Trillium was lucky to be selected by two local news stations in the Metro area to be recipients of their toy drives. Items like bikes, art kits, basketballs, and toys helped tremendously by filling in for any last minute gift needs. Big thank you to the teams and donors of 2017’s KGW Great Toy Drive and KPTV12 Les Schwab Toy Drive for helping bring so much joy to the kids this year. We were able to replenish campus items that are frequently used by the kids during treatment activities, as well as help individual kids who admit closer to the actual holiday and would not have had an opportunity to create a wish list. The Mid-Willamette Valley campus was also a recipient of the N. Corvallis Les Schwab and Albany Les Schwab toy drives.
We would also like to thank Foresters Financial for their special contribution of brand new Build-A-Bears! Employees of this group have been coming together each December for multiple years now to create cuddly bears just for the kids in our programs. This year, 90+ bears were made on an early Saturday morning before the store opened to the public. Foresters Financial secures a special grant to make this activity happen and we are honored they choose us to be the recipients of these little guys.
Volunteers: Heroes without capes!
Ever wonder what happens after we receive all the holiday donations? It really is a group effort and it couldn’t be done without the hard work of our Development Team. Volunteer Coordinator, Shanin Engman, and Community Engagement Manager, Kierra Woekel were the backbone of this season’s success. They organize and schedule a myriad of volunteers, who quite literally swoop into action and immediately begin inventorying and organizing everything that comes in. Items are tracked and separated so they are easy to locate and disperse to the kids. Our volunteers also make sure items are safe for the children to use. Volunteers then help wrap EVERYTHING. Can you believe it? Hundreds of items and lots of wrapping paper rolls later and the gifts are ready to be delivered. We could not pull this off without our volunteers! They are like magical elves that make what could be a daunting process, seem smooth and effortless! Some volunteers even step up before the holiday season begins by helping create Giving Tree Wish Tags and prepping correspondence to the local businesses.
Thank you to the following groups and individuals for donating your time to our holiday preparations this year!
Portland Metro Region
Mid-Willamette Valley Region
The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without some festive activities. It can be difficult being away from home and not having many of your traditions near, so our staff make an effort to find ways to support the clinical teams with recreational activities that serve to bring joy and cheer during a time that be really lonely and isolating.
At our Metro campuses (both residential and day treatment), there is an annual cookie decorating party led by volunteer, Kathryn Madison, where the kids create tasty masterpieces using colorful icing and sugar cookies. At our Mid-Willamette Valley residential program, kids and staff create gingerbread houses led by our own Recreation and Activities Coordinator, Bethany Pitt. Kids and staff decorate houses with candies and hold a campus wide competition for the best creation. The Oregon Symphony makes a visit to our Portland Metro programs, playing classical music that soothes the soul and a special visit from Brad’s World of Reptiles at our Corvallis campus gave kids a chance to learn about snakes and bugs. Our Historic Old School also hosted an employee gathering with hot cocoa and cookies, offering a time for staff to connect and even get in on the holiday spirit, and one of the Portland Women’s Guilds provided holiday treats for staff working the residential units on Christmas Day.
After so much planning, organizing, and prepping, you’d think the satisfaction of getting it all complete would be the icing on the cookie, right? Well, yes – IT IS rewarding to know that all the tasks are complete, BUT the joy of seeing the kids and their families experience fun and wonder during a time that is difficult is really the reason we keep doing this. For some kids that we work with, they have never received new clothes or toys, and for some families, there might not have been any way to provide gifts at all. For those who donated items and took time out of their own schedules, we want you to know that the children and families are so appreciative of the outpouring of support by the community and they want to say THANK YOU to each of you who contributed this year. Our staff echo this sentiment as well. It is amazing to see our communities come together to help create happy memories for the kids at Trillium Family Services.
Happy Holidays to All!
*If you want to participate in 2018’s Holiday Giving opportunities, please contact Shanin at SEngman@TrilliumFamily.org (Portland Metro) or Kierra at KWoekel@TrilliumFamily.org (Mid-Willamette Valley) and we’ll get you on the contact list!
Check Out Photos Below: