The Cheerful Helpers Courier - November 2022
This month, one of our UCLA MSW Interns, Carolina Maranian, had a chat with Shetal Belman, Cheerful Helpers’ Alumna. Shetal shares the impact working at Cheerful Helpers has had on her career and in her current position as Director of Admission for Marburn Academy. Shetal fondly remembers her favorite memory at Cheerful Helpers and discloses a fun fact that you might not have known about her!
November 29th marks GivingTuesday, an international day of generosity first celebrated in 2012. GivingTuesday is all about supporting meaningful causes that have made a difference to you and your life. All around the world, people use GivingTuesday to empower their communities and uplift organizations that improve people’s lives.
This year, 2022, marks Cheerful Helpers’ 64th birthday. We are so excited to continue doing what we do: helping our students learn together, play together, engage in the world, and build skills and friendships for life. The support of our community — alumni, families, teachers and therapists — has always been crucial in allowing us to provide services including speech therapy, OT, play therapy, Social Skills, and many others. During our last year-end fundraising drive, our community donated an incredible total of $69000, allowing us to offer support to more kids and stock our classrooms with wonderful books, toys, art supplies and more.
In order to keep up this incredible momentum, we would be delighted if you chose Cheerful Helpers as your organization to support this GivingTuesday. If just 9 of our community members gave $64 dollars per month for a year, in honor of our 64th year of operation, this would allow a child like yours to experience a full round of BEIG. If 42 Cheerful Helpers community members gave $64 dollars each for 4 months, this would sponsor one child for a full year of school. The need here is great, and this could make a monumental difference in a child’s life.
We look forward to this season of giving and gratitude. Our hearts remain full from October’s alumni night, where we heard our graduates’ wonderful stories of growth, community, and new directions. We are excited for another year of Cheerful Helpers, and a 2023 full of new faces in our programs.
Bianca Siegl and Joanna Hankamer
Thursday, November 10, 2022 marked Cheerful Helpers' 42nd annual Alumni Night. Alumni Night offers a rich opportunity for alumni parents and adult alumni students to share updates and stories from their lives after graduation. This year 15 graduate families from 2004 - 2022 came together on Zoom, along with current parents and staff. It is this connection between former and current families that makes Alumni Night particularly meaningful. Alumni families shared stories of navigating post-CH successes, struggles, and a deep appreciation for Cheerful Helpers.
We remember the double-dip feelings of being a current parent at Alumni Night, in awe of these incredible families and kids who were doing what seemed impossible out in the real world, and worrying that we might never have success stories to share ourselves one day. At the time, we couldn't begin to imagine what our lives would be like after Cheerful Helpers. Cheerful Helpers held not just our son but our whole family for three and a half years.
It was clear we were in a community of families and staff who truly understood the crisis we were in, and we supported each other no matter what the journey. While many of us miss the camaraderie, hugs, and toy truck full of M&Ms when we gathered in a big circle of chairs in the old church building, Alumni Night on Zoom also allows those of us who no longer live nearby to remain part of the community - sharing each other's joys and holding space for the hard times. This year we heard friends old and new repeat common phrases that continue to lift up our son and provide a steady foundation for our family, phrases such as: I can stay separate, the big feelings will get smaller, we can say the real thing, we will keep you safe. Our son often says "I went to Cheerful Helpers and I can talk about my feelings." What a super power. For our family, our feelings of gratitude do not get smaller, and they never will. We can't wait to see everyone again next year.
December 3rd - 9:00 am Alumni Support Group Zoom Link
- December 22nd - January 3rd Winter Break
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