300 youth given happy holidays by the Park West Foundation

park west foundation

Donated gifts were collected and distributed to 300 youth in the Park West Foundation network (Photo courtesy of Saba Gebrai)

The holidays are a time for families to come together and celebrate with gifts and expressions of love. Unfortunately, many youth cannot share in this joy as easily as others.

An estimated 13,000 Michigan children are in foster care at any given time, a portion of who “age out” of the system at ages 18 to 21 and are left to fend for themselves. For them, the holidays are all the more difficult.

Thankfully, the Park West Foundation, with the help of individuals, partners and organizations, helped 300 young people enjoy the holidays through generous donations of gifts and time.

Founded in 2006 by Albert and Mitsie Scaglione, the Park West Foundation promotes creative and lasting solutions for youth aging out of the Michigan foster care system. Among its programs is a special Christmas outreach effort to provide gifts to foster care youth and their children.

park west foundation

Albert and Mitsie Scaglione with Park West Foundation Program Director Saba Gebrai (back center) and a youth with the foundation (Photo courtesy of Saba Gebrai)

Park West Foundation Program Director Saba Gebrai says the requests for gifts were collected from youth they work with on a regular basis as well as referrals from agencies. The gift requests included everything from toys to clothing such as boots and jackets.

“They are quite surprised when they get something they want and something they can use,” Gebrai says.

These donations were then handed out to various individuals and organizations throughout the area. For instance, a tree at Park West Gallery was adorned with tags listing gift requests. Employees took a tag, fulfilled the wish, and returned the gifts to the tree to be picked up by the foundation. Gebrai says many of these gifts were the only presents the youth, their siblings or their children received this year.

park west foundation

The “wish tree” at Park West Gallery

“The personal touch of those who adopted a child, who considered the child’s age, favorite colors, sizes and wishes in selecting a gift and stocking stuffers made all the difference,” Gebrai says. “They (the youth) normally have nowhere to go and no one to share this holiday with and therefore no sign that someone cares.”

Not only does the foundation assist young adults with education, shelter and other resources, it also provides opportunities for them to empower themselves. Many of the foundation’s youth leaders, and college students on break, volunteered to help shop, wrap and deliver gifts during the month of December. Donations were made to individuals at their residences and at three area hospitals.

park west foundation

Volunteers with the Park West Foundation preparing the donated gifts (Photo courtesy of Saba Gebrai)

Last year’s effort collected gifts for 200 young adults. Gebrai says with the foundation’s network of over 1,000 youth, she hopes the program will continue to expand.

“It’s just a way of showing them ‘we’re thinking of you,’” she says.

The foundation thanks Park West Gallery employees as well as the following donors for their contributions to the project: Dave and Maureen Boyed and the Holy Spirit Catholic Church of Highland, Michigan; Big Family of Michigan; Dena along with friends and co-workers; Attorney Sean Blume and friends; and the Wayne County DHHS Partnership Board members of Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative.

Leave a comment

Prove you\'re human. *

Latest Comments

Latest News

  • Peer Through the Looking Glass With Lebo Plexiglass Art

    Enter a wonderland of vivid colors, wordplay, and animals with David “Lebo” Le Batard’s “Through the Looking Glass” series.Lebo takes his signature Postmodern Cartoon Expressionism style to new ...
    Read More
  • Art News: New Gardner Museum Lead, Herzog Court Victory, ‘Genius’ to Profile Picasso

    The art world is full of fascinating exhibitions, intriguing discoveries, and moments that shape history. Here are some of the latest news items making art headlines. New Leads in Gardner Museum ...
    Read More
  • Behind the Artist: Yuval Wolfson

    Emerging alongside the artistic renaissance of his native country, Israeli artist Yuval Wolfson possesses both the technical edge of a printmaker and the virtue of a painter. As a ...
    Read More
  • Video Premiere: The Rise of Romero Britto’s Pop Art Empire

    From painting on newspapers as a child to displaying his signature style seen across the globe, Romero Britto’s goal has always remained the same.“I ...
    Read More
  • Port of Call: Skagway, Alaska

    Experience the history of the popular port town Skagway, Alaska. Immerse yourself in the beauty of its wilderness and stroll through historic towns connected to the gold rush era.Dog ...
    Read More
  • How to Clean Your Art

    Art collectors take pride in their extensive collections, artistic knowledge, and beautiful home galleries. To keep your artwork looking its best, here are several dos and don’ts for cleaning and ...
    Read More
  • Art News: Picasso Ring, Lichtenstein Sold for $165 Million, Pollock Found in Garage

    The art world is full of fascinating exhibitions, intriguing discoveries, and moments that shape history. Here are some of the latest news items making art headlines.  Hand-Painted Pablo Picasso Ring For ...
    Read More
  • Alexandre Renoir Shares Insight Into New Renoir Museum

    Artist Alexandre Renoir recalls fond memories of spending time in his family’s summer home in Essoyes, France. Now, those very same halls are filled with the footsteps of curious ...
    Read More
  • View the 2017 Summer Sale Collection Online

    Looking for that special work of art to make your collection sizzle? Find it during Park West Gallery’s 2017 Summer Sale.The 440-piece Summer Sale contains new artwork and masterworks ...
    Read More
  • Holland America to Offer Cruises to Cuba

    Holland America Line will be warding off the winter cold with voyages to the hottest new destination—Cuba.On May 26, the cruise line announced the Veendam will set sail ...
    Read More
  • Autumn de Forest Wows Gala Crowd With Beyoncé Portrait

    What do Autumn de Forest and Beyoncé have in common? They’re both young, fierce, and unquestionably talented.In honor of the Grammy Award-winning artist, Autumn presented Tina Knowles-Lawson—fashion designer and ...
    Read More
  • Art News: ‘The Night Watch’ Sleepover, Fine Art Inspires ‘Wonder Woman,’ Top 20...

    The art world is full of fascinating exhibitions, intriguing discoveries, and moments that shape history. Here are some of the latest news items making art headlines.  Dutch Teacher Spends the Night ...
    Read More