A special partnership between Woodland Hills School District and the Options Care Management program is making the holidays a little brighter for many older adults who live on their own.
"Many of the participants we serve will be home alone this holiday season and receiving a small gift or card would mean so much to them," Director of Service Coordination Michelle Sipple said. "It means they are not forgotten."
Thanks to the generosity of Woodland Hills High School and junior high school students and their families, nearly 200 older adults in Familylinks Options program will receive holiday gifts.
"Many of these individuals have served our country, served our community and served their families through the years and would appreciate beyond measure being thought of during this season of giving," Sipple said.
Woodland Hills School Board member Tara Reis said she was happy for the impact the project will have on local residents, but also how it will affect the students involved.
"When you help others, it makes you feel good and the kids will see how this impacts people," Reis said. "When we can teach kids to think outside of their own houses, it's a good thing. All of our kids have parents and grandparents-and some of them are being raised by their grandparents. By giving them this opportunity, it opens a whole new world to them and shows them that there are older people out there who have nobody - that's who we are helping."
Reis said that while teenagers are typically known for being focused on their own lives, this will give them a new awareness of others' needs.
"It makes them realize that not everybody has it as good as you do," Reis said. "When you look at what these folks are asking for - they look at these and say 'Whoa, that's what will make them happy?'"
Many Options clients requested simple items that included socks, blankets, pillows or a Steelers sweatshirt.
"I think this would help any district because no matter where you are, kids need to realize there are people out there who are alone and buying them a blanket or some Steelers socks- that will make their day," Reis said.
She said by giving what they can to Options participants, the district is really gaining more by helping.
"It's like a Christmas present to us," she said.
The Forest Hills-Regent Square Patch.com news website recently featured a story about the Familylinks Options Care Management program. CLICK HERE to read the article.