–by Chad Bales, Assistant Director of Flourish Care Management, and Tami Vernon, Care Management Supervisor
Having worked a combined 32 years at CICOA, we have seen the amazing impact that holiday assistance can provide. CICOA’s Very Merry Days not only impacts our immediate clients and their families, but also the numerous volunteers that give of their time and resources between Thanksgiving and the New Year. It’s simply amazing! As our client numbers have grown, CICOA staff and donors have stepped up their game. CICOA now partners with more than a dozen organizations, churches and businesses to provide holiday assistance. This year, CICOA and our partners were able to serve over 625 clients, impacting almost 1300 members of the community.
Finding words to describe our feelings that come with this time of year can be difficult. It’s seeing the smiles, the joy, and the look of surprise on the client’s face. It reminds us of how we felt as kids waking up Christmas morning seeing what Santa left under the tree. Now as care managers, we have the opportunity to give that same joy that we remember as kids to our clients; whether it’s meal for an entire family, a warm blanket, or a homemade wooden toy for a child. It’s humbling to see the look of relief on a client’s face as they open a “Be a Santa to a Senior” gift of basic necessities with an added surprise of a simple holiday decoration or a poinsettia.
Looking to the future, how amazing would it be to double the impact we can make for our clients, their families, and the community? Our goal is to continue to grow and develop Very Merry Days as we want to increase partnerships with the community and collaborate to expand the giving season. (This correlates perfectly with the Flourish Pathways initiative to “develop meaningful connections to support a shared commitment.”) It would be wonderful to reach even more than we do at the present time.
From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank everyone who had a part in making spirits brighter for those we serve this holiday season! Have a happy and prosperous New Year!