By David Esteppe
Behavioral health agency Open Doors for the Developmentally Challenged strategizes each holiday season to provide a Christmas for its members, who are without their families and natural support. Part of this effort includes decorating a Christmas tree with paper stars listing gift and need ideas gleaned from the members of the agency. Usually, the employees of the agency and acquaintances in the community take the stars, buy the gifts and wrap them, and the gifts are taken to the members’ homes in time for Christmas morning.
The Christmas committee at Open Doors received the news this week that the Alter and Rosary Society, from St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Ronceverte, are taking all of the stars on the tree this year. Kathy Anderson from the Alter and Rosary Society explained that, “This is something we all strongly support.” [referring to the work done at Open Doors].
Natural support in the behavioral health industry means people supporting people, without being paid to do so. Most people experience this naturally. Valerie Staunton and Barbara Frame-Cook, therapeutic consultants at Open Doors and Christmas committee members were happily surprised by the outpouring of support during this holiday season from the ladies at St. Catherine’s. Frame-Cook says, “Last year, these ladies took several stars from the tree. This year they reached out to us with this generosity,” Staunton says, “Taking all of the stars is such a heartwarming thing for them to have done.”
The stars usually list clothing items, gift cards to favorite eateries, books, movies, compact discs. These are things that people on a fixed income cannot afford and certainly appreciate.