Holiday Spirit Lives in the Hearts of Volunteers
Volunteers from the Shooshan Company and A-SPAN continue the tradition of their Annual Client Holiday Party. This once a year celebration pulls the homeless off of the street and out of shelters for the opportunity to celebrate the holidays.
This Saturday many of us will celebrate Christmas with our friends and families. It is a time to relive every childhood tradition from hanging stocking on the mantel of the fireplace to leaving cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. We will spend Christmas morning preparing to host our guests for a beautiful holiday dinner. Sometime during all of the chaos of the day, I personally hope to steal a moment by the fire with a simple cup of hot chocolate and my wife.
The holidays will be different for all of us. We need to remember one thing: Our simple traditions are not a possibility for everyone in our community. On Monday, for their third year in a row The Shooshan Company hosted the Client Holiday Party for A-SPAN. The Client Holiday Party pulled people off of the street and out of homeless shelters for one afternoon to celebrate the holidays. Kelly Shooshan, the COO of The Shooshan Company, said, "We basically close the office and have staff come. People really like to get involved."
A-SPAN just held one of their largest fundraisers of the year on Thursday, December 16th aptly named Light Up Rosslyn. The Shooshan Company was actually the title sponsor for Light Up Rosslyn: Helping the Homeless Holiday Gala. And then, exactly four days later, they sent their staff to volunteer at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church and work hands on with A-SPAN for the Client Holiday Party. They have gone above and beyond typical corporate giving, The Shooshan Company is bringing the spirit of the holidays to the streets. They are making it possible for people to make a difference and do something good.
Sandy Burke has volunteered along with The Shooshan Company for two years. She returned this holiday to help because she loves "seeing peoples faces light up and being able to do something good with [her] time." Most of the people that attend the Client Holiday Party come from the streets, but many also come from the Emergency Winter Shelter.
Each client has a story, and for many this event will be their only opportunity to truly celebrate Christmas. After hearing from some friends who were also homeless, Darvis Dais took the chance and moved into the Emergency Winter Shelter. A-SPAN has given him a temporary home, but Dais is hopeful that he'll soon be moving into a "place of my own." He has lived in the Washington, DC Area all of his life. While staying at the Emergency Winter Shelter, Dais was found singing in the hall. For this reason, he was asked to sing 12 Christmas Carols at the Client Holiday Party.
"I love that this event gives them some place to go and celebrate Christmas. Another thing I love, I love the partnership with The Shooshan Company. We come together and provide this for the people on the street." Kathy Sibert, the Executive Director of A-SPAN, notes that it is only through our communities combined efforts that we can make a difference for those in need.
This holiday season please remember those who can not celebrate without your help. Organizations like A-SPAN our making dreams and a future possible for their clients and it takes the support of donors and volunteers to keep their mission alive. If you are interested in volunteering or you would like to make a donation, please contact A-SPAN through their website, www.a-span.org.