Success 4 Kids & Families Gift Giving Drive Gives Needy Kids Christmas Gifts
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DECEMBER 24, 2010 - Town N' Country, FL - "It is hard trying to take care of seven kids," said mother Aiishah Edwards, 36.
Edwards is a former school bus driver. She has been out of work for months and her husband got laid off more than a year ago.
The future was bleak, but then they found "Success 4 Kids & Families." "The program has really helped me. Things I never would have thought of, they have really came through and been a real support and backbone for me and my family," said Edwards.
Clara Reynolds is the executive director of Success 4 Kids & Families of Hillsborough County. The non-profit organization services up to 600 families a year.
"Before they have to touch the child welfare system or the juvenile justice system, the substance abuse, domestic violence system, we really try to hit families the moment they need help," said Reynolds.
The Edwards family has received help through the program since August, but Aiishah never knew the help would carry into Christmas.
When it comes to the holidays, this year was the most successful for the organization. Because of their local business partners in the community, they were able to provide 435 children with a Christmas gift under the tree, including every child in the Edwards family.
The kids range in ages one through fifteen and they are all excited for Christmas.
Valencia, 13, said the reason they are so excited is "because we are celebrating Christ and we are getting gifts."
As for those gifts, the wish list ranges too. While Valencia wants a MP3 player, her little brother, 7-year-old Kobe, wants a football.
The special part of the Success for Kids gift drive is that employees from local businesses adopt a child to make sure he or she gets the gift they want.
"Without the program, they wouldn't be there. Those presents wouldn't be there. I was getting pretty depressed about Christmas and then they came through in a big way," said Aiishah.
While the program has been a big help to the Edwards family, they still have one big need: a car to fit their whole family.
If you want to help the Edwards family, you can contact their case manager, Toni Koerner with Success 4 Kids & Families, at (813) 490-5490.
If you know a family in Hillsborough County in need of help with their troubled children or just struggling due to financial constraints, contact the program here.
Erica Pitzi, 10 News Reporter