The 2017 Holiday Gift Bag campaign to spread cheer to students participating in Youth On Their Own, YOTO, was organized by The Women of Quail Creek, TWOQC. However, many Quail Creek friends and neighbors not affiliated with TWOQC joined in to sponsor one or more of 250 YOTO students. The following statement was recently received from Daniela Zaza, YOTO Director of Programs. It clearly conveys the impact of the gifts.
“When staff saw the gifts come into the office it was overwhelming, in a really good way. That the women of Quail Creek care so much about youth they have never met, and were so willing to show their support, was magnificent. As staff was sorting the presents and getting them ready for delivery, you could hear Program Coordinators say, ‘Awesome, Carlos is going to be so excited to get this!’ or, ‘I know Maria is going through a lot right now. This is going to be a great surprise.’ You could tell that each of the gifts was put together with each student in mind and with heartfelt kindness and Christmas wishes.
Liaisons and students were so excited when the gifts arrived at their schools. The students did not expect to receive them and were so excited opening them, especially when they saw items that they had expressed they liked in their wish tree surveys. That small touch of care and attention to what they liked helped make them feel special. Even gifts that had gift cards in them with a kind note made a student’s day. The Liaison from University High School called Diego, one of our Program Coordinators, and told him that the student was so happy to get her gift; each time she pulled an item out of the bag, her smile got brighter and brighter and her happiness lit up the room. One of the Home Store Interns received one of the wish tree gifts and was so excited to receive one, she radiated joy all day.
Taking the time to wish our students a wonderful holiday and to get together to make an impact on our students made a difference. From all of the YOTO staff, we couldn’t thank the Women of Quail Creek enough for the kindness they have shown our youth.“