Teens and Homeless Families Build Bonds through Sharing during Holiday Season
Led by RWF founder and president Rhonda Walker of WDIV-TV 4, teens and volunteers host an annual Christmas party for families at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries’ Genesis House II homeless shelter. The Foundation adopted the shelter, which provides transitional housing for about 60 women and their children, five years ago as part of its annual community outreach project. The purpose of the event is to emphasize the importance of service.
“This event encourages our teens to consider what they can share with others to illustrate and illuminate the real meaning of the season: giving,” said Walker. “All activities are designed to provide teens and volunteers with hands-on opportunities to experience the joy of giving and reinforce the responsibility we all have to help others.”
Teens and volunteers serve residents a hearty holiday feast with all the trimmings, courtesy of Patrick Coleman and Beans & Cornbread of Southfield. The group also distributes toys to children and gift bags filled with toiletries and other items to the women. The RWF teens play games and participate in arts and crafts activities with the children.
The women and children of Genesis House II are not the only ones who benefit from participating in the holiday party. While the emphasis is placed on highlighting the benefits of benevolence, the activity is also designed to help teens build skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making.
“Shelter residents give personal, emotional testimonies about their experiences. These stories of struggle, sacrifice, and strength teach important life lessons about making choices, managing challenges, and maintaining commitment,” said Walker. “This activity not only gives us all wonderful memories that we cherish for a lifetime, but it also shows teens that everyone has something valuable to give to others, whether it be time, talent, money, or experience. Sometimes, the best present we can give is our presence.”
Making a List and Checking It Twice
The Rhonda Walker Foundation accepts donations of toys for the children and items to prepare gift bags for shelter residents. Contributions of new, unwrapped toys and toiletries, gloves, hats, scarves, journals, calendars, note pads, perfume, or other articles that women need are appreciated. To find out how you can help the RWF spread holiday cheer and goodwill through sponsorship or donation of in-kind goods and services, visit our Donate and Volunteer pages.