Thankful for Our Volunteers During the Holidays

By: Chantae Thomas

An evangelist by the name of Henry Drummond said “There is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving.” Three-hundred-sixty volunteer hours, 140 hours of volunteering in one day, and $25,000 only begin to figure into the contributions that were given to the girls at Excelsior Youth Center during this past holiday season.

Comcast Business, a donor for the last four years, joined other members in our community including: Zonta, Cherry Creek Schools, Southland Olive Garden, Summit Park, Kings & Queens, Kingdom Connection, Pinnacol, Pat Corder with St. Thomas Moore Catholic Church, Mark West and Erika Sauerwein. They all contributed to the girls at Excelsior this year in abundance. “Comcast had so many gifts they chartered a shuttle bus for their first drop and then returned with a second drop,” stated Vicki Sicard, Excelsior’s Recreation Coordinator. Macio Alston, Senior Employee Recognition & Events Specialist at Comcast, shared that Comcast employees really look forward to the holidays and helping in the community. “It’s a great way to bring our employees together and make a difference. Everyone feels good about it,” said Alston.

The holidays are typically a time when a lot of the girls at Excelsior become triggered by various life circumstances, whether it is past life events, being away from their families, or remembering a holiday experience that was not enjoyable. Vicki along with Gwen King, Excelsior’s Volunteer Coordinator, coordinate the daunting task of organizing holiday parties, putting together holiday activities, and getting seasonal donations for the approximately 200 clients at Excelsior, including our residential, day-treatment, and community-based programs. They hope every girl receives at least a few gifts and with this years’ overwhelming community support they far exceeded that goal.

Many of the girls at Excelsior have not had the opportunity to experience the joy and happiness that many associate with the holidays. “They are afraid to say, I want a pair of jeans. Or I want shoes. Or I need a new coat. They think that is too expensive to ask for. Their lists include much smaller wants — a 12-pack of soda and a package of Hot Cheetos. We work with them and encourage them to think about what they really want,” shared Sicard.

Excelsior Youth Center thanks everyone who contributed over the holidays. Many of the girls say “I never had a Christmas before. This was my first one and it was so great.” Many of our girls have not had great holiday experiences, so when somebody does take the time to pick out gifts specifically for them, “it’s huge to them, it’s huge! Then on Christmas morning it all comes full circle for them. It’s… so worth it,” says King.

Again, thank you to all of our donors for taking a moment to remember the girls at Excelsior Youth Center. Without your continued dedication and contributions the holidays would not be the same. We are all truly thankful!