AJO Blog

Children's Holiday Wishes Come True - thanks to SHRAB

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December 19th, 2017

- Updated on

January 16, 2018 - 10:50am
As the year winds down and holiday celebrations are in full swing, we wanted to take a moment to thank our Senior HR Advisory Board (SHRAB) members for their generosity again this year. (Please note that SHRAB became the HR Leader Exchange on Jan 1st, 2018.)
 
For the fourth year in succession, Senior HR Leaders from local companies who are members of AJO's networking forum participated in the gift-giving. SHRAB members each "adopted" one of 32 children from a Morristown Neighborhood House (MNH) kindergarten class by purchasing gifts on their holiday wish list.
 
For many of these less fortunate boys and girls, the gifts are the only presents they will receive this year and high on the list were legos, cars/race cars, Barbie/dolls and Shopkins. The word cloud below incorporates all requests, while the text size denotes the overall frequency or popularity of each requested item. Lego is still a big hit with children!
 
Morristown Neighborhood House Children Wish List
2017 Morristown Neighborhood House Sponsored Class Wish List Word Cloud
 
AJO's Alice Yoson co-ordinated the effort on behalf of the SHRAB members, making sure each child was accounted for, wrapping many of the gifts sent or dropped off by SHRAB members. Thank you, Alice. Great job as always!
 
Morristown Neighborhood House Gift Giving 2017
Alice prepares the gifts for departure to Morristown Neighborhood House
 
For the second year in succession, the SHRAB Holiday Reception was held at Morristown Neighborhood House. Members had a chance to meet with members of the Cornerstone Family Programs and Morristown Neighborhood House, including CEO Patrice Picard and Directors, Jacquelyn Looby and David Haggerty, shown below, left to right.
 
Morristwon Neighborhood House CEO and Directors - Patrice, Jackie and David
Patrice Picard, CEO and Directors, Jacquelyn Looby and David Haggerty of Cornerstone Family Programs &
Morristown Neighborhood House
 
SHRAB members toured the facility and saw the many activities still underway at 6 p.m. The computer lab was full of children doing their homework, where they had access to PCs and "English-speaking" help. Other children were participating in recreational activities such as learning to play the guitar or participating in sports in the gym.
 
Patrice shared some remarkable facts with us:
  • 40% of the families attending MNH programs are considered the “working poor” living under the federal poverty level and about 18% make under $10,000 per year.
     
  • MNH currently has 108 preschool students, 170 afterschool students and three additional afterschool sites in Dover. There are about 100 children on the MNH waiting list. There is an urgent need to expand to allow more children, so efforts are underway to locate space close by.
     
  • Great programs are being offered to interest boys and girls in STEM, (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) careers.  
     
  • David Haggerty, MNH Director, (who attended the reception) was recently nominated one of only thirteen afterschool ambassadors in the country. He was invited to Washington DC to advocate for the importance of afterschool programming.  
We also learned that the MNH intervenes when an emergency arises. One of the children in our sponsored class found his family homeless this year after returning home to find they had been evicted with belongings left outside. The family have been living in a motel for eight months and has just been rehoused in an apartment. Another family in the community has been helping them get back on their feet with basic needs and supplies.
 
Morristown Neighborhood House Sponsored Class 2017
Some of the children at Morristown Neighborhood House receiving their gifts
 
We hope all MNH children and their families, along with SHRAB members who brought these smiles to their faces, have a wonderful holiday season. We're proud to be part of such a worthwhile cause in our community.