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 News

  • New Michael Godard Sale Features More Than 30 Unique Works

    As the “Rock Star of the Art World,” Michael Godard borrows a page from his musical counterparts by searching for new and innovative ways to express himself.“I’ve always admired ...
    Read More
  • Saving Lady Liberty: How Peter Max Helped Restore the Statue of Liberty

    Iconic Pop artist Peter Max has several recurring images that he’s returned to throughout his prolific career, but perhaps none are more famous than the Statue of Liberty. Max ...
    Read More
  • 5 Years Ago, Peter Max Transformed a Cruise Ship Into a Work of...

    In 2013, artist Peter Max watched a cruise ship pull into a New York City harbor.It was a big day. The ship—Norwegian Breakaway—was one of the largest cruise ...
    Read More
  • Watch Alexandre Renoir Evoke ‘Moments of Bliss’ at His Monthaven Arts Exhibition

    As the great-grandson of famous French Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alexandre Renoir is carrying on his ancestor’s mission of bringing beauty into the lives of others through art.It’s what Alexandre ...
    Read More
  • VIDEO: How Anatole Krasnyansky’s Art Peers Behind Humanity’s Masks

      There aren’t many artists ...
    Read More
  • Auctioneer Spotlight: Mark Muller and Natasha Moore

    Many Park West collectors develop lasting friendships with our auctioneers and art teams, underscoring our 50-year reputation of connecting people from all walks of life with artwork they love.Here’s a ...
    Read More
  • Don’t Miss These 4 Memorable Works from Our 2018 Summer Sale

    With more than 500 works of art available during Park West’s 2018 Summer Sale, it might seem hard to choose a favorite.It’s understandable—for art lovers, picking a favorite artwork or ...
    Read More
  • Peter Max and The Beatles: Friends, Artists, Icons of the 1960s

    Two of the biggest cultural innovators of the 1960s were artist Peter Max and the legendary rock group The Beatles. But did you know that Max was actually close ...
    Read More
  • Collect the Art of Peter Max During Our Limited-Time Summer Sale

    Peter Max is one of the most iconic living artists today, thanks to his bold color palette, masterful brushstrokes, and cosmic imagery. Now, you can become a part of ...
    Read More
  • Park West Donation Benefits Delaware Military Personnel

    The freedom of speech and expression are critical components to art, which are just a few of the reasons Park West Gallery is proud to support those who fight to ...
    Read More
  • Pat McManus: Painting the Softer Side of Nature

    Artist Pat McManus jokes that he paints wildlife instead of people for one reason: They’re not picky.“I’ve tried painting people—you have to be very accurate with people,” McManus says ...
    Read More
  • How Wyland Became One of the World’s Biggest Marine Wildlife Artists

    As an artist, Wyland is used to working on big canvases.He first rose to fame in the 1980s painting life-size murals of whales—that’s right, life-size whales—on the sides of ...
    Read More