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New Branches on our Family Tree

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Saturday afternoon, I took Tacy and CJ to the Family Tree of Hope in south Metro Denver to drop off a box of toys, books, educational DVDs, and baby toiletries for the families living there.

A couple months ago, my friend Whitney – one half of the dynamic Rookie Moms duo – sent me two Caring Corners Mrs. Goodbee Dollhouses . One was for Tacy and CJ to keep, and one was for us to give away.

I prefer to support local charities – less overhead, more direct impact, a personal investment in the community – and when I found Family Tree, I knew they were the group I wanted to receive the other dollhouse.

From their Web site: “The mission of Family Tree is to help people overcome child abuse, domestic violence and homelessness to become safe, strong and self-reliant.” After reading their impact stories , I’d say that Family Tree is succeeding admirably.

Tacy was not pleased that I dragged her away from the brand new Wii Fit for our outing. “Tell me again, why are we doing this?” she asked.

How to explain without scaring her or making her sad?

“Well,” I began, “we are very fortunate people. We have so much at home. Not only do we have plenty of toys and books and puzzles, but we have clothes to wear and food to eat and a warm house where we can sleep each night.”

Your Daddy and I both work very hard to have enough money to take care of you and CJ and Ollie, and we plan carefully to make sure that we all have what we need.

But sometimes, even when people work hard and plan carefully, bad things happen. They get really sick, and it costs a lot of money to help them get well. And when they’re sick, they can’t work. So they run out of money.

Or kids might have a Daddy or a Mommy who can’t take care of them. Or who hurts them. And they need help.

So these families don’t have anywhere near as many wonderful things as we do. Sometimes they don’t even have clothes or food or a home.

And because we have so much, we can help. It makes me feel good to help other people.

Plus, even though your Daddy and I will do everything possible to keep you and CJ and Ollie safe and happy, someday we might need help. Hopefully not, but it’s good to know that there are people out there who can help.”

When we arrived at House of Hope, we were met by Ruth, a supervisor there who took the three of us on a tour of the home – after she oohed and aahed over the box of goodies that we’d brought, which made all three of us beam.

It’s a simple home on a quiet street. About a hundred years old, it used to be a convent, and the eaves over the front porch are still marked with a cross. Ruth showed us the closets of supplies – including a room packed floor to ceiling with diapers (which go fast) and a fantastic stash of school supplies – and the homework room, which has desks and computers and full bookshelves.

On the main floor, there’s a kitchen and dining area, as well as a play room (where CJ noted they already had a Christmas tree up). Upstairs, there’s a maze of hallways with small single rooms and shared bathrooms and linen closets.

When we greeted the kids in the play room, one little girl looked at Tacy and CJ and asked Ruth, “Are they living here?” For some reason, that question made me inexplicably happy.

I suppose it was because although I fervently hope that we never need to call on Ruth as potential residents of the House of Hope, it’s reassuring to know that we’d be welcome.

For more information about Family Tree, House of Hope, and their other services and programs, visit the Family Tree Web site.


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  • comment avatar Amber Johnson December 9, 2008

    Ahhhh, great minds think alike! I wrote something similar before Thanksgiving about giving a really cool Discovery Box to the Ralston House!

  • comment avatar Kagey December 9, 2008

    I’m going to crib off your explanation to your daughter. What a great way to tell her what was going on. What a terrific way to show her what really matters!

  • comment avatar cheri December 9, 2008

    I worked with many of the Family Tree professionals in my last career. They are a hard working group who help so many families. I’m glad you are spreading the word about this wonderful service.

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  • comment avatar family tree January 20, 2010

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