Record Setting Toy Drive Means a Very Happy Holiday Season
Everyone at VIP is feeling truly blessed this holiday season all because of the overwhelming response to our holiday gift drive. Because of your generosity and your courage in championing VIP to your friends and corporate colleagues, we were able to put a new toy or gift in the hands of close to 1,000 children who might otherwise have had a sad and uncertain holiday.
This is a new record for VIP, and we are so grateful. It meant that even our patients siblings were able to receive a new gift for Christmas. Thank you to our amazing benefactors who kept the magic of the season alive, and brought renewed hope to everyone at VIP:
10th Street Preschool
Equity Office Properties
Hell’s Belles Car Club
Hendricks & Partners
Los Angeles Kings Care Foundation
Mattel Toys, Inc.
Occidental College Baseball & Softball Teams
Reach Out and Read Los Angeles
The Rubin Family
Charon and David Sandoval
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton
Our holiday campaign concluded on Wednesday, December 21 with a wonderful party for our child clients and their families. Santa Claus made a special trip down from the North Pole to take pictures and listen to a few last minute requests. And once again world-renowned musician Abraham Laboriel and his amazing band were on hand to play everyone's favorite Christmas songs in their toe-tapping Latin/Caribbean jazz style. For the second year, international singing star Tata Vega sat in with the band to serenade our young audience and bring smiles to hundreds of faces.
Join the VIP Holiday Gift Drive!
The winter holiday season is a time of happiness and joy for most children. It is a time to believe in magic and wonder, to have faith in things you cannot see, and to have hope that wishes do come true.
But for children who have been abused, neglected, abandoned or placed in protective custody there is little to be happy about. They have had the magic and wonder ripped from their lives, and they lose their hope and faith in everyone and everything. The holidays are just another source of uncertainty and disappointment.
You can give them back all that they have lost.
The VIP Holiday Drive is about more than just giving a child a new toy. It is about giving a child a chance to believe in magic and generosity again. It is about supporting a mother as she tries to rebuild her family. It is about giving children and adults who have been hurt in the worst possible ways a little faith in humanity again.
Each year VIP asks all of our friends to join in this effort. Last year, thanks to you we collected enough new gifts and toys for over 700 children. This year our services have expanded and so have the number of children we serve. So we need your help again.
Here is what is on our Wish List this year:
- New, unwrapped, nonviolent toys, games, books, arts & crafts kits, jackets, scarves, gloves, hats, sweatshirts, toiletries and sports equipment under $20
- Gift wrapping supplies
- Gift cards to Target, gas stations, Ralphs/Food4Less, and Smart & Final in $20 denominations that we can use to help families in need
- The financial resources to keep all of our programs serving the most children possible all year long
Please visit our Wish List at Walmart to buy gifts and have them shipped to us. Organize a drive with friends, family, co-workers, etc. to collect new, unwrapped gifts. Talk to any companies you know that may be willing to donate their products to our efforts and become a VIP sponsor. Or donate online to make a financial contribution before the end of the year.
All donated items are distributed to the children and their siblings who receive services at VIP. We invite mothers and other caregivers who cannot afford gifts to pick out presents, wrap them up, and give them to their children as a gift from them.
Donations should be delivered to the Violence Intervention Program, 1721 Griffin Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90031 (Monday-Friday 8 am to 5 pm). For more information, please contact Erica Blodgett at (323) 221-4134, ext 219. All donations will be acknowledged with a letter and proof of non-profit status for tax purposes.
Back to School Day Makes the Grade
Thanks to an amazing level of support from longtime donors and new community partners VIP's Third Annual School Supply Drive and Back to School Day was a grade A success!
With your help VIP was able to put together 400 new backpacks full of new school supplies to give away to our clients in foster care and other high-risk situations. This is a new record, and one we are so grateful we were able to reach.
Our Back to School Day event on August 24 was tons of fun, too, for children and families as they picked out their new bags and had one more day of summer fun before school started. We had games, arts & crafts, food, music, and more! We couldn't hav gotten through without the tremendous efforts of our volunteers who helped out all day.
Special thanks to:
- Nixon Peabody, LLC
- KBKG, Inc.
- Panda Restaurant Group's Panda Cares program
- LA Galaxy Street Team
- Los Angeles Fire Dept Station 2
- Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLC
- Golden State Foods Foundation
- Maureen Nishikawa
- and all the individuals who donated their time and resources to making this event such a huge success!
VIP Expands Services to Care for Most Vulnerable
Last year, as we looked at the gaps in services and our ability to intervene, we recognized that more and more children were seeking out mental health treatment who did not meet our eligibility requirements. All services at VIP are free. VIP receives funding from county and state agencies to provide mental health care to specific populations of children who qualify for Medi-Cal. For instance, all children placed in the foster care system are covered under Medi-Cal.
But more and more families were seeking out services for children who did not qualify for Medi-Cal. Primarily, these are children who have been victimized in some way, maybe by someone outside the immediate family, and are not removed from their homes by social services. Because they are not detained and put into foster care they do not automatically qualify for state sponsored health coverage. If their families cannot qualify and they lack the resources to purchase private insurance, they are left without options to help their children.
These children need help to heal from their abuse, control their post-traumatic stress, and ultimately find a positive path in life in order to break the cycle of violence. VIP did not want to keep turning children away since our expertise is so vital to their long-term success. Thankfully, last summer, the Eisner Foundation and the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation recognized the importance of not denying any child in need, and chose to fund a pilot project to provide crisis intervention and mental health services to children who might otherwise go without.
The program is showing great results both for clients and for staff. VIP has been able to open its doors even wider and provide the same high level of comprehensive therapy and case management services to an even larger population. Earlier this year, the Milagro Foundation, a longtime VIP supporter, awarded us a grant earlier to help expand our specialized services for children and families dealing with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders to this same uninsured population.