This month of November, The Guidance Center is celebrating gratitude. Please view our blog, A Season of Thankfulness, for more information.
For many, the holiday season is a time of celebration. Typically, when we think of the holidays, we think of gifts under the Christmas tree, traditions, decorating and family gatherings.
However, this is not the norm for the children and families at The Guidance Center. The holidays bring a mix of emotions and feelings of sadness, anxiety, worry, isolation, traumatic memories and anger. For the families living in poverty, the extra expense of the holidays can be a burden.
As a therapist at the Compton Clinic over the past couple years, I have had the pleasure of having several families participate and be recipients of the Adopt-A-Family program. Through the generosity of our donors, our clients and their families are able to experience the joy of opening gifts with their loved ones.
One of my clients, who was “adopted” last year, is a six year old boy who was a victim of domestic violence and physical abuse by his father. His mother and his siblings had to leave the house, leaving behind their toys, special blankets, dogs and all the things they considered close to their heart in exchange for their safety. Before they knew it, the holidays were knocking on their door, and had become an added burden for his mother. With the help of a generous donor in the Adopt-A-Family program, this family was able to celebrate and enjoy the holidays by creating new memories together. The joy on this family’s face when I arrived and dropped off the gifts was priceless.
My client for Adopt-A-Family 2019 lost her mother at the age of nine and her father is not in her life and has no intention of being part of her life. Then this year, at the age of 12, her primary caregiver, her grandmother, died and she was going to be placed in the foster care system. Her best friend asked her mother if they could take her in and this amazing family of eight agreed and took this child in and now they are a family of nine. Through all this trauma, this child has lost her smile and her reason to live. Adopt-A-Family will not bring her mother or grandmother back, but it will brighten up her holiday with the act of kindness.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and miss what this special time is all about: helping others through selfless acts of kindness. No matter how small or large your gift may be, this season is about filling hearts around us with peace and joy, and giving to those who may be less fortunate. So I thank you in advance for considering being part of this amazing Adopt-A-Family program and bringing smiles to these children and their families.
Cynthia Sedillo-Artiaga, AMFT is a Clinical Therapist at The Guidance Center’s Compton Clinic, where she helps guide children and families struggling with mental health conditions or abuse toward positive and productive futures. She is especially passionate about bringing mental health awareness to the undeserved communities. Before joining The Guidance Center team, Sedillo-Artiaga worked at Aids Project Los Angeles. Sedillo-Artiaga earned a Masters of Arts Degree in Counseling Psychology/ Marriage & Family Therapy at Argosy University.