Not every child receives lots of presents on Christmas morning, but 500 families in need will have a very happy holiday thanks to the volunteers of SafeHouse Outreach.
Tracie Alvis is a superstar volunteer for the Safehouse Christmas in the City event that gives gifts to children who would otherwise not have a merry Christmas. Alvis tells us about the many community outreach programs under the SafeHouse umbrella, the organization's holiday activities and how you can help kids have a happier holiday season.
What community does SafeHouse Outreach serve? They serve in Atlanta and have several different outreach programs and several events throughout the year. They serve food every night for the poor and homeless for starters.
There is a mentorship program where they pair adults with a child of an incarcerated parent to help guide them and be a positive influence in their life. The Youth Reach program gives youth the tools they need to make better choices, improve grades, develop character traits and graduate from high school.
Homelessness prevention and crisis intervention through life-readiness programs including mobile health clinics, foot care and eye care is offered. They provide assistance during a crisis and once the crisis has passed to improve the quality of life for the family.
Why is supporting Safehouse important to you? My friend January Howard got me involved with Safehouse three years ago and they have had my heart every since. It's hard for Safehouse not to get hold of your heart and never let go when you see everything they do and the impact that they make in the community.
Philip Bray started Safehouse in 1982 by going out on the streets and rescuing child prostitutes and runaways. The headquarters was in a burger joint. I only wish I had the passion that Philip Bray has, which is what motivates me every day to make a difference in this world like he has.
Tell us about Christmas in the City. Safehouse sponsors 500 children in the Atlanta community from in-need families. Safehouse finds giving souls to sponsor a child or family for Christmas. This is the only Christmas these children will have. They have a Christmas party for the children before Christmas and we hand out the gifts.
Christmas in the City is what Christmas is all about. Giving back to others. The kids Christmas party is my Christmas because I don't have children in my family. There is nothing better than to see their faces when they see their presents and know that Safehouse took part in putting that smile on their face. It's truly the spirit the Christmas.
How can our readers help with your efforts? Safehouse doesn't get much in the way of government funding and desperately needs donations right now. You can go to www.safehouseoutreach.org and donate. Also, they need mentors for their mentorship program as well as volunteers to help serve food nightly. You can go to www.safehouseoutrach.org under volunteer to get more information and get involved.
Where can you be spotted in your free time? Oh, I do like to have my fun. I live in Midtown so I tend to stay in that area of town. I love the Nook, ParQ and Koo Koo Room.
What advice would you give to someone looking to give back to the community? Find whatever your passion is and get involved. It is truly the best feeling giving back and knowing you are a making a difference to better this world.
Do you have any final thoughts? Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world, for indeed that's all who ever have.