Youth Villages stories

Holiday Heroes 2023 logo graphic

Holiday Heroes Spread Joy

Jan 24, 2024 | Blog

Holiday Heroes is the most magical time of the year at Youth Villages. From the beginning of October through the end of December, we work to ensure every child and young adult in our programs gets to experience joy during the holiday season. It is always incredible to see the community show up for our youth each year.

Through our Holiday Heroes campaign, we fulfill holiday wish lists for youth and their siblings whose families may struggle to provide holiday gifts and necessities. This year, we had requests for 813 youth, which is our highest need to date.

Holiday Heroes 2023 Wrapped

Family intervention specialists and LifeSet specialists work directly with the primary caretaker or young adult to determine what gifts the youth would most like to receive and create a holiday wish list. These wish lists are sent to kind-hearted donors and corporate partners who then shop for a specific youth and fulfill their wish list.

Each wish list costs around $150 to fulfill. This year, donors sponsored a record number of 437 youth and raised $31,051. That is the highest number of Holiday Heroes participants since we opened our Massachusetts doors in 2007!

Fulfilling a youth’s wish list is just one way to get involved in Holiday Heroes. Donors can make monetary donations and let us do the shopping for them; they can start a peer-to-peer fundraising page; become a fundraising volunteer; shop our Amazon wish list; or volunteer at our Holiday Heroes workshop.

female youth with gift from Holiday Heroes

Fundraising Volunteers/Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Fundraising volunteers meet virtually each week during the Holiday Heroes campaign to brainstorm ways for Youth Villages to engage with the community. Volunteers become Youth Villages ambassadors through community building and awareness. For Holiday Heroes, each volunteer is guided through how to build a peer-to-peer fundraising page and recruit individuals to donate to the campaign. Organizations, corporate partners and anyone interested in raising funds for Holiday Heroes also have the opportunity to create a peer-to-peer page and promote it to employees, friends or family to support the campaign.

Amazon Wish List

Our Amazon Wish List consists of the highest requested gifts on the holiday wish lists. Donors have the option to fill up their cart as much or little as they like. The items then ship directly to our office where the gifts are sorted to be distributed to youth who have not been sponsored.

Volunteering in the Holiday Workshop

With the thousands of gifts that arrive for youth during the holiday season, a Holiday Workshop is created to sort, safety check and prepare gifts for delivery. Workshop volunteers sign up for their preferred day/time slot and work to ensure all the donated items are safe, wish lists are fulfilled, gifts are sorted by office location, and presents are packed up and ready for delivery.

male youth with video game gift from Holiday Heroes

Once shopping is complete, donors drop off gifts to our office or an off-site workshop. Companies and corporate partners can schedule a Holiday Heroes pick-up day or packing event. At these events, our staff will travel to the company’s office and pick up gifts. If the partner would like an interactive opportunity for employees, we will bring holiday card making supplies for folks to create cards for the youth in our programs to go along with their gifts.

As the workshop begins to fill with gifts, Holiday Workshop volunteer days begin! This year, our workshop held more than 2,500 gifts. This would not have been possible without the help of our 53 volunteers who spent seven days in our workshop safety checking, sorting gifts and ensuring each wish list was fulfilled.

Holiday Heroes 2023 overall results

Over three days, Two Men and a Truck generously donated their services and delivered the gifts to each one of our offices. Specialists picked up gifts for their youth and families and delivered them, along with wrapping supplies.

Nothing beats the feeling of seeing the photos of our youth with their holiday gifts and seeing their smiling faces. Holiday Heroes are more than just donors; they bring long lasting core memories for the youth in our programs. They bring joy, fun and happy experiences. They bring the families relief and opportunity.

Thank you to our Holiday Heroes! Without you, none of this would be possible.

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