The Haven has some truly wonderful community partners and volunteers. They are individuals and businesses, children and seniors, occasional contributors and regulars. Each brings something special to the people we serve and to the work we do here at the Haven.
What continues to surprise and delight us is how people who want to contribute find unique and meaningful ways of doing so. Laura Jean Whitcomb, editor of Kid Stuff and Kearsarge Magazine and owner of Howling Beagle Communications in Grantham, has found a distinct niche by delivering fun goodie bags to the children in the Haven’s After-School Program.
“When Laura Jean approached me last October about making Halloween goodie bags for all the children in our After-School Program, I was delighted,” said Erin Wetherell, Children’s Services Coordinator. “What I didn’t know was that those bags were only the beginning! Since October, Laura Jean has faithfully supplied the kids with a goodie bag every month, each with a unique theme. Some favorites have been superheroes, mustaches, and the letter ‘d.’ The kids look forward to the goodie bags each month, and it’s a perfect example of a small gesture going a long way.”
Laura Jean explained some of the reasons behind her contributions:
“I have a prize drawer at home. I keep it stocked with things I find on sale (games and toys), things I like (erasers and scented pens), and things I think would be handy (chapsticks, hair bands). When my kids were younger, they could pick something out when they got a good grade or did something extra around the house. (And they could pick out birthday gifts for friends or parties that we would inevitably forget to shop for.)
Well, now my kids are 12 and 15. They don’t share my ongoing love for erasers shaped like donuts or clapping glow sticks, so I thought the kids at the Haven might appreciate my child-like whimsy and super-saving shopping skills!
We all know that life is not about material things—collecting stuff or having stuff—but sometimes it is nice to get a little treat—a cookie, a toy, a new pencil with a fun eraser—to make your day a bit brighter. The kids at the After-School Program are so lucky that the Haven provides them with a place to learn, feel safe, have a healthy snack, and, well, be pampered a bit with a little gift-y surprise. Some of my favorite things from my childhood were the tiniest things—a miniature horse figurine, scratch and sniff stickers on my notebook, a hard candy from my grandpa’s candy bowl—and I’d like to think that the kids at the Haven might fondly remember a mustache whistle or a tiny dinosaur figurine later on in life.
Weird? Maybe. Kids should only have kid worries—like spiders—and these kids are dealing with so much. I’d love it if they remembered the leprechaun houses (that Erin showed me) and the homemade banana bread that the volunteers made for snack and the monthly goodie bags I donate instead of whatever else was happening in their life at the time.”
So thank you, Laura Jean, we salute you and all the other kids at heart out there. You’ve found a way to bring fun and special memories to the children at the Haven.