Like many parents living in the suburbs, I often wonder if I’m doing enough to push my kids out of their middle class bubble of Netflix, Capri Suns and endless clementines. I grew up living a mostly idyllic childhood in a two-parent family where we never went hungry or wore last year’s coat that was too small. My husband, on the other hand, was raised by a single mom in a sketchy part of Los Angeles, where getting their lights shut off was a regular occurrence and his only meal of the day was often the free lunch he got at school. Both of us would love nothing more than finding a perfect balance for our children, between having the stuff they want and need, and having them actually appreciate the work and expense that goes into providing for them. It’s such a struggle sometimes to raise kids who aren’t entitled, because our kids don’t have any of the life experience or wisdom to understand that WiFi doesn’t just flow out of a faucet like hot water.
This weekend, my three daughters gained a bit of perspective about people less fortunate when they spent a whole day working alongside their Girl Scout Troop at Aurora Warms The Night, a non-profit organization that helps homeless individuals in Aurora by providing meals, food kits, warm clothing, hygiene items, transportation to shelter, laundry vouchers, bus passes, partner agency referrals, and advocacy. They also operate as a shelter when temperatures fall below 20 degrees.
“By partnering with providers, we are helping to break the cycle of homelessness through comprehensive services. Our partner provider services are located onsite in our building and include mental health services, health care clinics, workforce education for clients including resume writing, interviewing skills, job coaching assistance, food stamp, SSI, and SSDI application assistance; and veterans’ services.” – Aurora Warms The Night
Since they provide assistance in nearly every area, from providing warm clothing and toiletry items to making sure kids have books to read, these people need A LOT OF HELP. Our girls had plenty to do, and after meeting with some of the coordinators from the shelter, they got right to work. The girls, along with a couple of moms (and one dad!) sorted and organized over a thousand donated coats and boots. They also put together some toiletry kits for women with some of the essential items women need.
I must admit, I had an emotional moment with my own three girls just before we got started, when it started to dawn on them that the people this shelter helps are kids and families just like our own, who are just not as fortunate as we are. It was like the lightbulb of clarity was lit up when I explained to them that this is exactly how their dad and uncles grew up, getting their coats and clothes from the shelter and feeling so lucky when they’d occasionally get something brand new. Telling them about it is one thing, but seeing firsthand where people go when they need help made a huge impact on all of our girls. Turns out there’s no better way to teach our Girl Scouts to be compassionate, helpful, caring human beings than to have them go somewhere and actually take action and HELP.
Here are our hard working girls!
For their efforts, the girls were rewarded with these darling keys! What a fun surprise.
We thought this was such a rewarding service project for our Girl Scouts, but I think this would be great place to bring any group of kids to spend some time away from video games and soccer fields, making a real difference for those in need! If you’d like to learn more about Aurora Warms the Night, definitely find them on Facebook and check out their website. Information is below.
Aurora Warms the Night
1544 Elmira Street
Aurora, Colorado 80010