It was cold enough to freeze your shadow but that wasn’t stopping anyone that evening. There was work to be done.
When you hear the word teenager, compassionate, selfless, and engaged might not be the next words that spring to mind – but they should be. The half-dozen teens gathered are all that and more.
They could’ve been anywhere that -12° night (most notably: indoors), but instead they enthusiastically took on the role of Christmas elves. With sacks of carefully wrapped presents slung over their shoulders, they dashed from home to home with Susan, the route captain, to carol We Wish You a Merry Christmas and deliver presents to wide-eyed children.
Between deliveries, the youth spoke about school, joked and playfully needled one another like any group of teens would. But once they reached a delivery’s doorstep, all banter stopped. They knew how important their mission was.
They knew how magical these deliveries were for the kids. After all, it wasn’t long ago that Susan was knocking at their doors to deliver gifts to make their own Christmas wishes come true. This is their neighbourhood. The kids receiving gifts are their neighbours. This was their chance to pay it forward. It was personal, and they did not take the responsibility lightly.
No house was forgotten, no child missed. When they learned of one home’s new baby sister, two youth rushed back to the bus to find something for this unexpected six-month-old. They’d stocked the bus’s front seats with a dozen extra gifts for exactly this sort of situation.
The same efficient efforts were engaged when the group met a mother and her preschool-aged son in an apartment elevator. The boy wasn’t in our program so Susan explained to his mother about CityKidz. Meanwhile, the youth coordinated bringing the son a gift.
These teens could have been doing just about anything on that frigid evening. What they’d chosen to do, however, was sacrifice their time – not to mention any feeling in their extremities – and share their love, to make the season merry and bright for their neighbours, to remind children that they are remembered and to inspire kids to be engaged and caring members of their community. They’d chosen to pull out their own roots of poverty and adversity and plant seeds of hope and possibility.
Without your support, our thoughtful teens won’t be able to deliver these kinds of Christmas gifts! Our youth are eager to give back to their communities, will you do the same?