For many residents of St. Anne’s, the holidays can be a difficult time. Many do not have family to celebrate with, while some have never celebrated at all. This year, the young mothers in St. Anne’s Transitional Housing Program (THP) created their own memories by organizing their very own Thanksgiving Dinner through Resident Council.
Resident Council plays an important role in THP’s goal to build self-sufficiency and advocacy skills in young mothers transitioning out of foster care. The Council, made up of volunteers who are current residents, is designed to give a collective voice to the young women in the program. Residents are able to share their opinions and concerns about the program as well as discuss solutions and suggestions. This year the Council has focused on increasing the sense of community among residents and organized several events around holidays.
This year’s Thanksgiving Dinner featured a creative potluck: since many residents have limited cooking skills and limited funds, St. Anne’s staff set up cooking classes complete with ingredients on the day of the event. The young moms attended the classes and learned how to make the traditional dishes they were bringing to the potluck. Members of the Council decorated St. Anne’s Foundation Room and set up a photo booth for family portraits. Children played together, shared the meal their mothers had cooked, and staff and residents had an impromptu dance party. Transitional Housing Program Director Tony Weaver shared, “I felt honored to be a part of this special celebration and so grateful to see the sense of family among our residents and staff.”