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

  • Collect Original Graphic Works by Salvador Dali in Our New Fall Sale

    Salvador Dalí is one of the most famous artists of the 20th century. Now you have the opportunity to collect works from the internationally renowned Surrealist in our ...
    Read More
  • Meet the Artist: 10 Questions with Patrick Guyton

    Patrick Guyton has combined his passion for ancient art techniques with a tenacious work ethic to create a truly unique body of work.Guyton’s art is a sight to behold. ...
    Read More
  • Park West CEO Provides Insight into ‘Self-Destructing’ Banksy Art

    Famous street artist Banksy has made art history by having one of his paintings elaborately destroy itself immediately after being sold for $1.4 million.The unprecedented stunt took place at Sotheby’s ...
    Read More
  • Park West Auctioneer Spotlight: Alex White

    It takes a special kind of person to head off onto the high seas to spread their love of art to travelers around the world.Alex White is one of those ...
    Read More
  • The History of Picasso Ceramics: How Picasso Changed Pottery Forever

    Between 1946 and 1973, Pablo Picasso created a breathtaking collection of original ceramic works.Over the past 50 years, Park West Museum has developed one of the largest collections ...
    Read More
  • Understanding the Delicate Process Behind the Art of Patrick Guyton

    The artistic process Patrick Guyton uses to create his art is exacting, volatile, and precarious. This may sound hyperbolic, but for Guyton, something as simple as using the wrong ...
    Read More
  • Park West Gallery Enhances the Art Experience with New Interactive Technology

    As Park West Gallery celebrates 50 years in business, it’s continuing its mission of reimagining the art world with new and innovative ways for people to interact with art.Park West ...
    Read More
  • Meet James Coleman: 10 Questions with the Acclaimed Artist

    If you’re not familiar with the name “James Coleman,” you’re definitely familiar with his work.For over 17 years, Coleman supervised the creation of the hand-painted backgrounds for some of ...
    Read More
  • Behind the Artist: Patrick Guyton

    The path to becoming an internationally renowned fine artist might not be paved in gold, and that’s fine with Patrick Guyton—he prefers to put gold to better use.Guyton’s own ...
    Read More
  • From Disney to Fine Art: Marvel at the Artwork of James Coleman

    
    Read More
  • Patrick Guyton’s Gilded Art Shines in New Limited-Time Fall Sale Collection

    Veiled women, tranquil koi ponds, and graceful birds—these are just some of the zen-like images you’ll encounter in the gilded world of artist Patrick Guyton.You can enter this shimmering ...
    Read More
  • What Are Etchings and How Are Etchings Made?

    Etchings have been hugely influential in art history, particularly in the development of printmaking.The art of etching is one of the oldest printmaking mediums—originating in the 15th century and evolving ...
    Read More