Secret Santa: What It Means To Me
When I was fifteen years old, I was placed in foster care. The years before I aged out of foster care were tumultuous, very often low and seldom high. Unlike many youths in foster care, my siblings and I were not separated from one another more than once and we did not move around often. Even so, we experienced a lot of difficulties and the worst time of year for my siblings and I was usually during the holidays. It was the time of year that served as the biggest reminder that we no longer really had parents, at least not in the traditional sense. We suffered something that most children in foster care experience: being forgotten.
It was extremely disheartening to watch my foster parent dote on her own children and forget we existed. And while our foster mom sometimes got our younger brother a few Christmas gifts, as teenagers, my sister and I were often left unacknowledged. This was the story of the holidays for us over and over again until one year, we received gift cards from our foster care agency. The first time we received them, we were really surprised and grateful because those gift cards gave us the chance to treat ourselves to something that we wanted.
Receiving a gift card soothed the sting that comes with not being able to spend the holiday with family and opening gifts on Christmas morning like other kids. As the years went on, we actually looked forward to the holiday season rather than dreading it. Even though we still didn’t get presents from our foster family, we always got something from our agency. It was a symbol that someone out there remembered us, that someone cared.
When I learned about the Felix Organization and their Secret Santa gift card drive, I realized that they were the ones behind those highly-appreciated presents. They were able to provide these gifts as a result of their fundraising campaign every year on #GivingTuesday, an international campaign that takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. This year, #GivingTuesday will be on November 27th. People from all over the world will band together in giving back to make life a little brighter for others. I hope that you will be one of them.
Now, as an intern with the Felix Organization, I know what it’s like to be on the other side of this campaign. It feels good to know that I am one of the people who help kids like my sister and I when we were kids. I am wholeheartedly dedicated to our fundraising campaign because I know firsthand what a difference this program makes. Please help the Felix Organization raise $25,000 this year to provide gifts for over 500 children. Although I am no longer in foster care, I will always remember how that one gift card every year improved my whole holiday season. As the holidays approach, please keep our mission to enrich the lives of children in foster care in your hearts and consider donating money to help make a foster child’s holiday great.