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Paying it Forward

Watervliet Youth Pitch In

Recognizing the blessings in their own lives, a number of Watervliet youth decided to pay it forward to others in their community by making Christmas about giving. The idea was to take the focus off themselves, and focus on the needs of others. Friends Bless Demand, Isaiah Teabout, Dontae Powell, Mya Sentmier Thomas and Nathan Bellow worked together to shop for kids their own age who might not be as fortunate at the holidays.

For families in need, the winter months, and especially the holiday season, can be a time of stress. Not being able to meet your child’s needs, much less provide a gift at Christmas, can be overwhelming. That’s why holiday gift giving programs are important: they provide gifts that fulfill a child’s needs –  like a new winter coat to replace one that no longer fits – as well as a wish for a new toy.

The program also helps parents. The holiday ‘store’ that Unity House operates with neighboring non-profit CEO provides parents an opportunity to choose from new toys, games, books, pajamas, sporting equipment, coats, boots, and sleds for their child. In this way, parents have the dignity of choosing items their child needs and wants. And isn’t that the magic of Christmas- both finding the right gift and being able to give? As a parent, there is nothing like watching the delight of a child who opens a gift and it’s just what they wanted.

That was the goal of Bless, Isaiah, Dontae, Mya and Nathan: to give so that children in need might have a merry Christmas. They are focused on the giving rather than the receiving so they worked together to help the families that are served by Unity House. The kids are friends from the various football and basketball teams they play on. It’s obvious they know about teamwork and how, when people come together, they can accomplish a lot.

On behalf of the families we serve, especially the children, Thank You Bless, Isaiah, Dontae, Mya and Nathan! You have helped make a difference!!