Adopt-a-Family Program Gives Joy to Many

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Because of generous community members and local organizations, 150 of our children and parents, totaling almost 40 families, will experience the joy of the holiday season this year.

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The holidays for our families can be especially difficult. They come from all different backgrounds and face complicated issues. Some are headed by single parents or are large families. Some are victims of domestic or community violence. Some are seeking treatment for mental health conditions or learning to cope with a loss within their family. Each working hard to make ends meet year-round.

The Adopt-a-Family donors provided so much joy for the season and hope for the New Year to our families. We’re inspired by their compassion and so grateful for their generosity.

Before we head out for the holidays, we want to say a special thank you to these donors and share a few of their inspiring stories. We hope it brightens your holidays as much as it has ours!

Jeannine Scott & Family

Adopt-a-Family Jeannine Scott Presents LA Kings

Jeannine Scott, a major Los Angeles Kings fan, found The Guidance Center by way of our Sunset Sip silent auction website in 2015. That year, our auction featured a Jeff Carter autographed hockey stick, and Jeannine was intent on winning it.

She ended up winning the autographed hockey stick (yay!), and joining our mailing list. Several months later, she received an email about our Adopt-a-Family program and immediately requested to participate. This year marks their third year adopting a family.

  • Why do you feel passionate about adopting a family?
    Jeannine: In my line of work I see the types of families that the Guidance Center helps. Working for a Federal Agency for over 15 years I have seen a lot. There are so many families that need assistance not just in the holiday season but all year long.  This is just our way of giving back.
  • What’s your favorite part about participating?
    Jeannine: My daughters and I go shopping with our family’s list in hand and set out as a family to pick gifts that we think they will like. I like to imagine the look on their faces when they open their gifts.  I was very touched last season when I actually received a handmade Christmas/thank you note from the children of the family we adopted.

Sole Sisters

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Sole Sisters is group of 15 philanthropic educators working in Long Beach Unified School District, who get together for after-school “urban hikes” and weekend 5Ks in addition to making spirits bright for families in-need.

Stephanie Sasaki, a member of Sole Sisters, was scrolling through Facebook one night last month and saw a post about our Adopt-a-Family program. She’s been a follower ever since attending our screening of Paper Tigers at the Long Beach Art Theatre this spring.

As a teacher, she sees firsthand the needs of our children so she got together with her fellow Sole Sisters and adopted a family this year.

  • Why do you feel passionate about adopting a family?
    Stephanie: Everyone in our group is an educator. We see the need on a daily basis. We are so fortunate to be in a position to help others. We see, first hand, the good work that the Guidance Center does for our students and wanted to show our support for the center’s work.
  • What’s your favorite part about participating?
    Stephanie: Most of our group have grown children or no children, so being able to shop for little ones really added a great amount of joy to our holiday preparations. It also gave us the opportunity to get together for shopping and socializing. During the holidays, we find it very challenging to get together. Everyone enjoyed the “teamwork” aspect of organizing and dividing up the shopping responsibilities.

Amanda MacLennan & Kirsten Goulde

Amanda, our Chief Operations Officer at The Guidance Center, started her career in the for-profit world, specifically marketing and business planning and analysis. With a heart for children and giving back to her community, she spent her free time volunteering for youth serving agencies.

Desiring to marry her skills with her passions and support the incredible families in our community, she began working in nonprofit. We’re so thrilled she made the switch as she’s an invaluable member of our leadership team.

Not only does she bring joy to our office and empower our staff, she and her wife also take advantage of every opportunity to support and help the families we serve.

  • Why do you feel passionate about adopting a family?
    Amanda: It’s heartbreaking to learn about what some of these young people have experienced in the past year. They are so strong and they are just kids. The least we can do is to help them have a great Christmas when they’ve had a pretty horrible year.
  • What’s your favorite part about participating?
    Amanda: The shopping, I love it when I can find the items requested. I get goose bumps thinking of the children opening their gifts and seeing their wish list items on Christmas morning. I also love picking out the clothes and finding that specific jacket that a teenage girl asks for and also finding the right color. I’m smiling just writing this!

The Queen Mary

Adopt-a-Family 2017 - Queen Mary

All over the world, The Queen Mary is known as a historical landmark in Long Beach. But many may not realize how charitable the crew who works on this iconic ship truly are.

We at The Guidance Center are truly grateful for all the ways that they have supported our children and families through generous gifts not just during the holidays, but also throughout the year.

Stewart Newell, Human Resources Manager of The Queen Mary, leads the group of crew members who have participated in our Adopt-a-Family program for the past two years.

  • Why do you feel passionate about adopting a family?
    Stewart: We feel it’s a great opportunity to give back to our local community.
  • What’s your favorite part about participating?
    Stewart: For us, it’s about actually buying the gifts and wrapping them knowing we will make Christmas special for these families.

To all our 2017 Adopt-a-Family donors, we just can’t say thank you enough!

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