The Piecemakers at South Canyon Lutheran Church are helping make Christmas special for 12 young adults at LSS New Alternatives. New Alternatives is an LSS program in Rapid City that provides housing, case management, counseling and nursing support to young adults ages 18-21 who are learning to manage severe mental illness. Just like most people in this age group, clients at New Alternatives are living on their own for the first time in their lives, which can be exciting and challenging.
If you think back to your first apartment, remember how hard it was to give your space a homey feel with limited funds. This time of year it is even tougher because you want to give your home the warmth and coziness that everyone looks forward to with the holidays. When you were first on your own, you may have borrowed things from your parents or even tried to make a floor lamp look like a Christmas tree with some hand me down decorations.
Many clients at New Alternatives spent time in the foster care system or in psychiatric residential treatment centers such as LSS Canyon Hills Center or Summit Oaks. Some have had frequent stays in the state psychiatric hospital. Almost all have little to no family to support them. They don’t have decorations in storage or the ability to send their Christmas wish list to family. Hand-me-downs to get them started in their own place don’t exist.
LSS works hard to make all apartments feel like a place someone lives, but there just isn’t enough funds available to add all the special touches, especially at Christmas. These young adults, just like you, want to have some of the traditions to make this time of year feel special and memorable. They want to experience the joy and excitement the holidays bring.
That is why the gifts from the Piecemakers play such a tremendous role! The Piecemakers is a group of Rapid City area women, and just one of the great things they do is help the young adults at New Alternatives feel special and remembered. They donate gifts – including basic household supplies, personal care items, as well as a decorative pillow and unique quilt. Clients will welcome the needed personal care and household supplies and will be thrilled to have a nice pillow and a special quilt to call their own. These gifts will help them give their apartments a more homey feel and help clients feel more independent.
A few clients already have an idea of what’s ahead and have spied the gifts. The sacks are as big as Santa’s bag and when they see them, clients are filled with excitement and anticipation for the holiday. They were touched that this group of local ladies, who they haven’t met, cared enough to make sure that they would have a gift to open on Christmas morning. All of us at New Alternatives and LSS are filled with joy knowing that this holiday season will be made special by the Piecemakers.
Post by Sheila Johnson and Jessica Lillebo