In a Springfield College holiday tradition, the Office of Spiritual Life staff led its annual adopt-a-family program, with the mission of helping neighboring families. Once again, members of our campus community worked together to make sure families from the Teen Living Program will receive special gifts this holiday season. The Teen Living Program, run by Springfield-based Open Pantry Community Services, is a residential program for teenage mothers and their children who require a safe place to live.
“This truly is one of the most heart-warming initiatives I am involved in at Springfield College,” said Springfield College graduate student Jonathan Perlow, who once again worked with Springfield College Director of Spiritual Life David McMahon in helping lead this initiative on the campus. “We wanted to make sure we were able to do this program in a safe manner this year, both for the individuals at the Teen Living Program, and the individuals at the College.”
The biggest alteration to this year’s program was the requirement that all of the gifts needed to be sent directly to the Teen Living Program, instead of gathering the gifts at the College, where individuals would normally organize and wrap the gifts.
“It has been so heart-warming to see all of the gifts arrive at our office on a daily basis, and it really means so much to all of the families,” said Teen Living Program Director Nicole Lussier, who earned her Master of Social Work degree from Springfield College in 2000. “Every day I feel like I am going to cry just looking at all of the gifts. It really does display that there are so many great people in our community, and at Springfield College.”
Lussier went on to add, “The impact this has on our families is so special. Many families in our program have never had the opportunity to receive gifts during the holidays, and being a part of this adopt-a-family program really reminds us all why we are all here, and it emphasizes why helping others is so very important.”
For more than 10 years, the College and the Teen Living Program have collaborated in making the adopt-a-family program an annual part of the holiday season. It’s a partnership that just keeps stronger each year, and is a natural fit for our Humanics philosophy.
“Having this opportunity to see the best of our campus community, and see everyone rise up to really want to help others in the neighboring community is always special,” added Perlow. “To be able to support Nicole and all the great programming she leads, it is very rewarding. This year especially, so many people had to adapt and come together to make this happen, and that’s really the endearing message I take away from this year’s program.”
The Teen Living Program caters to the concerns of poverty, homelessness, and empowering people, in particular, women. It is the goal of Spiritual Life, in conjunction with the Springfield College community, to assist the families at the Teen Living Program in having a special holiday during their challenging time.