I remember you telling me when I was a little girl that Mrs. Claus prefers the solid blue lights on a tree because the multi-colored lights belong in the Northern sky. I always thought that was rather poetic but seeing as we don't have Northern lights here in Pennsylvania, I've often wondered what Mrs. Claus would do?
She'd smile at me, wouldn't she, and say something like "That isn't the point. The point is to let the lights shine and lights are supposed to shine all year through with what we can do."
Well, that reminded me of The Salvation Army's Project Break Through (PBT) program. It offers the light of encouragement for a whole year along with guidance to set realistic life changing goals to help lift impoverished families from barely surviving into thriving.
One of the basic components is pairing a mentor with mentees. These mentoring volunteers become advisors, sounding boards, cheering sections and family friends for that year.
Mentors and mentees, work together to identify obstacles, brainstorm solutions and break down goals into manageable pieces which helps greatly with achieving goals - goals that range from getting a high school diploma equivalent or enrolling into a higher education program to becoming a homeowner or starting a business.
What a gift of light showing others the way out of poverty's darkness. And did you know Santa, some of our mentees then become mentors themselves.
I mean, how awesome is that? It's like watching a line of Christmas candles being lit one by one. These new mentors bring an understanding of what it's like to be in that dark place and what it takes to get out.
Life building skill classes are also offered like financial management, anger management, parenting and nutrition. Yes, you and I both love cookies but selecting healthier options MOST of the time does help to lead to happier and more productive life. (Do calories really weigh the same in December?)
And PBT families bond over the monthly PBT family night, which allows them to spread a little light amongst themselves because really, who understands you better than your peers.
One of the family nights was a spa time with mini massages, spinal alignment checks and manicures. Both the adults and the kids enjoyed that!
This Salvation Army program is entering its eighth year and so far we've easily helped over 1,000 families. We're looking forward to helping more.
Anyway, please tell Mrs. Claus to keep enjoying those Northern lights and best wishes!
Please help by giving generously to the Sun-Gazette and the Salvation Army Santa Fund.
You can help make this a brighter holiday season for local families by making a contribution in person to any branch of M&T Bank or by mail to M&T Bank at 405 River Ave.; at the Salvation Army, 457 Market St.; or the Sun-Gazette office, 252 W. Fourth St., Williamsport, PA 17701.
The Santa Fund is a fundraiser organized by the Sun-Gazette and the Salvation Army to help local families in need.