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There is Nothing Like Hope for the Holidays

Divya Kumaraiah, Policy Assistant in the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, reflects on the holiday season, and the importance of building community.

The holiday season and time spent with family and friends has a way of reminding me how blessed I am.  It was also a great reminder of the responsibility I felt to share the holiday spirit within our community.  To do this, some of my colleagues joined me and the DC community in celebrating the 20th anniversary of Holiday for Hope. 

Holiday for Hope is hosted by Howard University and organized by Dreams for Kids, which is a national nonprofit that empowers at-risk youth and those with disabilities through dynamic leadership programs and life-changing activities.  Holiday for Hope brings together over 600 homeless and underprivileged kids for a one-of-a-kind holiday celebration.  There were arts and crafts, live musical and dance performances, magic shows, cookie and hat decorating stations, and a full holiday feast.  Even Santa and Buddy the Elf made an appearance!

Holiday for Hope started as a small group of volunteers visiting a homeless shelter on Christmas Eve in 1989. Now, throughout the country, there are over 10,000 homeless and underprivileged children celebrating Holiday for Hope like we were in Washington, DC.  It is amazing how one act of engagement and kindness can turn into a movement of people all working to build a stronger community for those around us.  It reminds me of the quote by Margaret Mead that says, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Happy New Year from our office to you and your families!

Divya Kumaraiah is the Policy Assistant to the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.