The Invaluable Gift of New Sneakers

December 16, 2020

Donors to the Adopt-A-Family Program have supported over 1,400 families in 2020! That's a big number. In all the hustle and bustle at Santa's Workshop, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that every family has their own unique story. But each year, some stories leap out and remind us of the struggles and pain so many kids and families experience in our community; as well as reminding us of the benefits and immeasurable value of the program ~ benefits that often go beyond the wrapped gifts under the tree.

For one young man, this year showed him that there are people who care about his well-being and that he is loved. This youth was critically abused, both mentally and physically, and was not provided the necessities of life by his primary parent. As a result, he moved into the care of his great-grandparents who are giving him the best life they can.

The social worker who referred him to Adopt-A-Family described him as a kind, considerate young man with big dreams. He helps to take care of his great-grandparents, including his disabled great-grandfather helping him up and down the stairs and around the house. This past summer, the youth received the gift of a bike, which he was grateful to have to help him find some work to "help his great-grandparents with groceries."

This year, his Adopt-A-Family donor provided him with some extra gift cards to buy something extra special for himself. "As a donor, it makes us so happy that we could do something to help this youth. We feel thankful that we were matched with him and that we are in a position to help, even though is in a small way."AAF Shoes

His social worker took him to Stone Road Mall as his biggest wish was to own a really good pair of sneakers. He shared that in the past, he would usually buy whatever he can afford and to make the shoes last longer, he would buy a few sizes too large as his feet were still growing. Owning a quality pair of name-brand sneakers not only would be more comfortable for him, it would bring him the sense of belonging that young people crave with their peers.

His worker reported how proud he was of his new shoes, and his great-grandmother shared that he carefully cleans them and takes such good care of them, wanting them to last as long as possible. The youth said, "they were the most comfortable shoes I have ever had and they make me feel good inside."

With counselling support and the love of his great-grandparents, social worker, and his Adopt-A-Family donor this youth is coming to believe that he will be okay and that he is loved. For this young man, his new sneakers just might be that memorable gift he'll recall years later. A gift that gave him the experience of being valued and loved, the opportunity to build his sense of belonging and self-worth, and to Dream Big.

There couldn't be a better Christmas gift than that!


From the article: Mind, body and sole: How sneakers became a stepping stone for the next generation to dream big - "Shoes are a stark illustration and an illuminating glimpse into what most would equate to a fashion choice that, it turns out, actually aids in identity."