Pasadena, CA, December 11, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- Clients of Hillsides, a Pasadena children’s charity, the Sanchez* children will have a difficult time appreciating and enjoying the Christmas spirit this year. Last year, just days before Christmas, they were separated from their mother who was sent to jail. At the time, the six children believed she would only be gone for a short while and that the family would soon be reunited.
Fast forward to almost a year later and the Sanchez children still do not have their mother by their side. They will actually be without her for quite some time. The Sanchez family was referred to Hillsides Family Center, the Pasadena children’s charity that serves families in Los Angeles County, shortly after the mother’s arrest.
Their maternal grandmother, Maria*, had taken over care of the children and was overwhelmed by the immense pressure of looking after all six of them, ages 2 to 17, by herself. Many of the children were underperforming at school and were not well supervised.
“With the dedicated therapists and the generosity of our donors, we were able to assist Maria in getting temporary guardianship and assistance so the children would not go into the already inundated foster care system,” said Janis Reid, Hillsides Family Center school-based mental health coordinator.
The children participate in individual and family counseling to adjust to the changes, promote education, and deter them from a life of deviance, according to Reid. In addition, the family has found success in the program and Ray*, the oldest child, has earned a high school diploma, enrolled in community college, and has a part-time job to help grandma out with expenses.
Presently, Maria is still doing all she can to take care of her grandchildren, relying solely on what little income she and Ray earn. The holiday season is not as joyous for the Sanchez family for they are not able to splurge on gifts or a traditional holiday meal for everyone. Memories of their missing mother also come back to sadden their spirits.
“During these times, it is important that the family knows that people support and recognize their efforts and that they have not been forgotten, when all around they see images of perfect families having perfect holidays,” said Reid. “It is also meaningful to have that little extra help with food, clothing and toys at a time when resources barely cover the necessities.”
Families living in Los Angeles County like the Sanchez’s rely on the generous support from the community through the Pasadena children’s charity adopt-a-family program. To learn more how you can help families experiencing crisis this holiday season, contact Laura Kelso, the children’s charity director of community resources, at 323-254-2274.