Youth Haven in Naples provides homes, hope, and healing to abused and neglected children and teenagers in Southwest Florida during the holidays.
Linda Goldfield, the CEO of Youth Haven, said many children at the shelter aren’t used to the customary cheer, lights, and trees during the holidays.
“As they’re celebrating Christmas here on our campus, they realize that they never really did have the experience of having a merry and bright Christmas. So everything we do on this campus is to ensure that they have a very special holiday season,” Goldfield said.
Spreading Christmas cheer this year does seem to be a bit more of a challenge than normal.
“Frankly, this year, in light of the hurricane and the economy, we haven’t been receiving as many toys and gifts as we have in previous years,” Goldfield said. “So now more than ever, we really need the community support to rally around our children.”
Youth Haven is seeking gifts for its annual donation drive.
Christmas tree with an ornament. CREDIT: WINK News
Youth Haven created a wish list with help from the children it serves.
The shelter, which serves people between 6 and 20 years old, hopes to bring joy to some of the older age groups who are often forgotten about.
“I think oftentimes, we think of Christmas for the little ones, the baby dolls, and the teddy bears, and the Legos, but our older children are equally is in need of holiday gifts,” Goldfield said.
While the donations requested cover all price points, Goldfield said there’s no putting a price on showing the children they’re not alone.
“For many of our children, adults have continually failed them. And it’s heartwarming for the children to see that the community adults do care about them and want to ensure that they have a brighter future,” Goldfield said.
Click here to learn how you can donate and help Youth Haven.