- Bigger rat cage
- Hair straightener
No, that’s not the list of things we lost in our move across buildings this year!
These are just a few of the present requests for Christmas 2021 through TASC’s annual Christmas Teen Initiative. These are simple things that kids want but also more often than not, we get requests for things people NEED, like a bed or shoes.
The Christmas Teen Initiative is a low barrier gift program that supports teens in the community by providing presents through sponsorships with members of the community. That means we are able to connect those who want to give to those who may have a few needs and sometimes we’re able to get a few wants too. Our goal is to help mitigate some of the stresses of the holiday season for families who are struggling.
By making Christmas Teen a low-barrier program, it is free from many of the requirements of other programs that may deter or exclude a family from being involved. We work with school administrators, community partners, and other TASC programs to identify teens who may not have access to gifts otherwise. We received Christmas gift requests for 43 kids throughout Northwest Arkansas this year, almost doubling what we had last year. We were able to provide gifts for each one.
We want to give a HUGE thank you to our 2021 Christmas Teen Sponsors. We couldn’t do any of this without our sponsors, supporters, and collaborators. Collaborating with the schools and community organizations connects us with the teens who need us but sponsors are an important piece of the holiday giving puzzle! Without sponsors, we just have a list of kids who need help.
This year, sponsors came from all over the community. Girl scout troops, local churches, business groups, and individuals all signed up to sponsor our kids, and as such, we were able to fulfill so many wishes. Some amazing sponsors donated the bed for a teen. Pedal It Forward donated the bike! So many people purchased coats, shoes, socks, and other hygiene items that were requested. Some teens even asked for food.
It’s through community giving that allows us to make a difference in the lives of the teens we work with. Through our partnerships, we were also able to give out resources and nutritional food to take home at our Christmas Present pick-up party. We also had a Santa and elf for photos!
Here is what some of the teens had to say about how receiving gifts through TASC affects them:
- It would make a difference because I’d know that there is real kindness in this world and it would be nice to have things I need gifted to me. — 17 year old girl
- I know my mom and dad can’t afford much and it would be a stress off them, which would make me happy. — 18 year old boy
- I moved here a month ago and have nothing. — 16 year old girl
- I really just want a good Christmas. — 17 year old girl
- I think what yall are doing impacts every kid, because it’s a nice act and some kids don’t have the Christmas all kids get to have. This will make a difference with me because it will help my mom not have to worry about getting presents for me for Christmas. — 16 year old girl
If you’re interested in being on the list to sponsor a teen for Christmas 2022, you can fill out the interest form here: Christmas Teen 2022 Sponsor Interest Form