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A Holiday to Remember at PathWays PA

(reprinted from the PWDC Newsletter)
by Roxanna Green, Case Manager EYPtE

PathWays PA EARN Center, December 23, 2010

The PathWays PA Empowering Young Parents through Education Program (EYPtE) and EARN Center hosted their annual Adopt-a-Family project during the holiday season. This past December, the event was truly a season of giving and caring. In addition to the Adopt-a-Family project, customers received a visit from Philadelphia Eagles cornerback, Ellis Hobbs.

For years, PathWays PA has sponsored their Adopt-a-Family project during the Christmas holiday season to match participants and their families with generous donors. This year, over 300 families were adopted within PathWays EARN system, including all active and some transitioned EYPtE students. It took over five days to distribute thousands of beautifully wrapped presents to participants. Each EYPtE student averaged three large bags of individualized gifts from their list. The gifts ranged from microwaves and Bed in a Bags to clothes and cameras to books and electronic games. All pregnant students received newborn necessities, clothes and toys for their unborn child. The students were very appreciative.

One student reported that she would not have had anything for her toddler son and unborn child had it not been for the Adopt-a-Family program. She said her whole family cried at the Christmas tree as they thought about how someone who didn't know them cared about them enough to make sure they had a great holiday. The next day, this student's grandmother baked delicious homemade cookies for the staff to show her appreciation.

A few days after the Adopt-a-Family project, the Philadelphia Eagles organization sponsored a catered dinner hosted by Cornerback Ellis Hobbs and his family. Over 50 families from EYPtE and the EARN Center, all of whom had excellent attendance and program participation, were invited to the dinner. On the menu were bacon-wrapped shrimp, three kinds of gourmet pizza, white macaroni and cheese, champagne chicken, and a tasty beef stew with rice. There were more freshly prepared items on the menu as the caterers had a full kitchen on a truck parked outside the building. Participants received gifts, Eagles paraphernalia, and autographs from Mr. Hobbs. According to Mr. Hobbs, "It is important to give back to the community. I want to provide positive encouragement to people trying hard to make ends meet during these economically hard times." Mr. Hobbs also expressed that he cared for our participants in a "real" way. The participants and their families were delighted and appreciative, especially the children. Both events left a lasting impression with staff and participants, and the holiday was certainly one that will be remembered.

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