Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Latham School Students Give Back to Those in Need This Holiday Season


Latham students and staff present check to Julie Wake, Director of Communications & Development, Housing Assistance Corporation (second from right)

Annual Craft Fair Proceeds Benefit Two Cape Charities Serving Disadvantaged Children

Latham School students in Brewster have donated proceeds from their Annual Craft Fair to two Cape Charities. The students will award cash gifts to The Angel House Shelter of The Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC) in Hyannis and The Masonic Angel Fund of Orleans. Last year’s fair beneficiary was the Cape Cod Times Needy Fund.

“The fair gives our students a creative license to do for others at a time of year when so many on Cape Cod are in need,” explains Latham School Director of Education, Gerry Pouliot.  “The event also gives our staff an opportunity to teach empathy and compassion for individuals perhaps not so dissimilar from themselves.”

Items ranging from holiday ornaments, soaps, scarves and blankets, handmade books and cards, jewelry, and votive lights were all quickly snatched up by Latham staff in support of the children’s generous efforts. According to Latham Transitional Counselor and fair organizer Shauna Kelly, “The craft fair is a favorite annual event celebrating generosity at Latham. Our students give of themselves in creating beautiful crafts knowing proceeds from the fair will go to a charity of their choosing. They are always very thoughtful in what charity will be chosen.”

This one-day event is the culmination of Latham’s intensive and highly customized-work with students throughout the year as they practice the four tenants of the Latham-adopted Circle of Courage cultural empowerment model.  “The Circle of Courage approach requires staff and students to examine four basic human needs to find workable solutions within our tightly-knit campus,” says Pouliot. “The four needs—Belonging, Independence, Mastery, and Generosity—are all played out in this one simple but important exercise. The work not only strengthens the Latham community, but also the greater community-at-large.”

HAC's family shelters provide a safe haven and services to families experiencing housing crises. The Angel House shelter in Hyannis works with families recovering from alcohol or other drug abuse. Angel House provides a structured and secure environment where mothers and children can be reunited and recover from the dual traumas of substance abuse and homelessness.

The Masonic Angel Fund of Orleans provides modest assistance to children in need who do not fit the criteria for the usual social-service programs. Such assistance might be to provide a pair of glasses, a coat, shoes, field trip fees or minor health services. The Masonic Angel Fund has supported select Latham students for more than a decade for such services and needs—often when there is no family support or family interaction.

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