Webb: Help make sure refugee children don't wake up to empty stockings

awebb@idahostatesman.comDecember 10, 2013 

Local art enthusiasts have an additional resource to create pieces — a new enameling kiln, thanks to the city of Boise and art instructor Barbara Louise Bowling. Read the story for details.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY BOISE PARKS AND RECREATION

Valicity Koen is a counselor at Real Solutions Counseling in Boise. The organization works with refugees integrating into the community.

Many of Koen's clients are children. They, along with their families, have experienced profound trauma that ranges from spending years in resettlement camps, to seeing family members killed, she said.

A recent experience with a 9-year-old client inspired Koen to start a donation drive this year to provide a little holiday cheer.

The girl, along with her three siblings, had heard last year from their friends about the tradition of leaving stockings out for Santa Claus. The kids left their stockings out on Christmas Eve. They woke up the next morning. Their stockings were empty.

Koen said she hastily tried to explain that Santa Claus just probably hadn't realized that those were Christmas stockings he was supposed to fill.

So this year, she's asking for help from the public to provide small gifts for 17 kids who range in age from 18 months to 15 years old.

Koen and volunteers are making stockings for each of the children, and they've already collected candy for everyone. But they still need small-sized toys as well as books, crayons, coloring books and larger items that might not fit in the stockings.

On the practical side, Koen said she gets plenty of donated coats, scarves and hats. Underwear and socks not so much. She needs donations of kids' underwear (boys and girls, sizes 3 to 15) and various sizes of children's socks.

If you'd like to help, Koen will accept donated items from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, and Friday, Dec. 20, at Real Solutions Counseling, 1011 Williams St., Suite G, in Boise.

Questions? Call Koen at 353-5300.

DONATIONS NEEDED: CHILDREN'S HOME SOCIETY OF IDAHO CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS

The Children's Home provides counseling services for young people, their families and guardians, regardless of their ability to pay.

The organization seeks donations to help fill as many as 300 Christmas stockings for its young clients.

Needed items include: packets of hot cocoa, packets of apple cider, packets of un-popped popcorn; candy canes; granola bars; small boxes of crayons and coloring books and stickers.

Drop donations at the Children's Home, 740 Warm Springs Ave. Call 343-7813, ext. 0, for more information.

GRANT WILL PAY FOR NEW ENAMELING KILN

Barbara Louise Bowling, the new enameling instructor at the Fort Boise Community Center's Art Center, worked with the city to submit a grant proposal to the Enamelist Society.

The goal: getting enough money to buy a new kiln for city art classes. The society awarded a $750 grant.

Twelve students are already enrolled in the city's first enameling class set to take place this fall.

For more information about the class, contact Chris Kranz at ckranz@cityofboise.org or 608-7680.

KUDOS TO THE ASSISTANCE LEAGUE

The Assistance League, whose charitable programs always include local kids, recently gave $2,000 worth of new books to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Ada County.

The organization will distribute the books to kids who attend Boys & Girls Clubs programs.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Ada County serve more than 4,000 children and at-risk youth, and provide a wide variety of youth development programs.

IDAHO FOODBANK RECOGNIZES DONORS AND VOLUNTEERS

The Idaho Foodbank recently announced that the Idaho Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals recognized some of the food bank's most loyal volunteers.

The association recognized Rachel Holtgard, Boise, owner of Ceramica, as Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser for her support of the food bank's Empty Bowls program. In 2010, the first year she worked with Empty Bowls, Ceramica donated 500 bowls. In 2013, Holtgard and her customers donated more than 1,000 bowls. Holtgard also makes in-kind donations to more than 100 nonprofit organizations and volunteers with the Boise Curling Club and Junior League.

The organization also recognized Boyd Anderson and Lavar Thornton, both of Kuna, as Honor Roll recipients.

Together they have provided indispensable help, thanks to their years of farming experience, at the Southern Idaho Correctional Institution's farm near Boise.

For the last two years, Anderson and Thornton have helped inmates grow more than 490,000 pounds of fresh produce for the food bank. In 2013, the donation weighed in at 310,000 pounds of fresh, local fare.

REMINDER: WREATH LAYING CEREMONY IS DEC. 14

Volunteers will lay wreaths on the graves of veterans at 11 a.m. at the Idaho Veterans Cemetery, 10100 Horseshoe Bend Road. Details, contact Col. David Guzman at 283-8358 or the cemetery at 577-2330.

U OF I GRAD PRESENTS NEW DOCUMENTARY ON 'MENTAL ATHLETES

Ana Overgaard, a former intern at the Basque Museum, has turned her sights on the big screen. The documentary she produced, "Ace of Diamonds," tells the story of Nelson Dellis, who became interested in the concept of memory after losing his grandmother to Alzheimer's disease.

Dellis went on to train his memory as a preventative act - and became a world-renowned "memory athlete." He is also an avid mountaineer and created the foundation Climb for Memory. The group raises money for Alzheimer's disease through mountaineering expeditions.

"Ace of Diamonds" features Dellis as he attempts to climb Mt. Everest and win the World Memory Championship.

Overgaard and Dellis will be in town for a special screening and Q & A at 7 p.m., Dec. 13, at the Egyptian Theatre in Boise. Tickets are $10. A portion of proceeds will benefit the foundation. Call the box office at 387-1273 for tickets or order online at www.egyptiantheatre.net.

Anna Webb: 377-6431

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