Thursday, November 15, 2012


I had planned to blog this week exclusively about the Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner, a massive "community dinner table" held every Thanksgiving at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center where approximately 25,000 elderly and less fortunate people are treated to a holiday meal and entertainment. A group of JLSA New Active members, spearheaded by First Year Active Chair Heather Beard, along with additional JLSA volunteers, will be helping with turkey delivery and kitchen setup this Sunday, November 18, from 10am to 1pm, in order to help make this event a success. So far, 16 ladies have signed up to help, and there are 25 slots for volunteers. Log in and sign up on the JLSA website if you want to contribute your time and energy to this fantastic and inspiring seasonal event.

I also want to share with you an experience I had this week. On Tuesday, I, along with a room full of JLSA members, attended a November Community General Meeting at the Children's Bereavement Center of South Texas in Olmos Park. I really enjoy this annual opportunity to visit and explore some of our community partners. The Children's Bereavement Center is just one of a handful of special places around San Antonio that our members are visiting this month. I think the November Community General Meetings are win-win: not only do we get a firsthand look at a nonprofit partner, we also get a meeting credit as well.

I was so moved by the Children's Bereavement Center,  its staff, and the short, powerful movie that we watched that showed us who the Center is and what it does. In a nutshell, the Center is a place where grieving children who have suffered the loss of a loved one can go to heal. The Center is the sole provider of grief support programs for children through young adulthood in South Texas. The facility is gorgeous--tucked behind the circle in Olmos Park, the building is newly renovated and has been the Center's home for about three years. It is filled with bright and cheerful meeting rooms and spaces for all types of play therapy for children. After we viewed the film, we were able to tour the Center, checking out the various therapy rooms. There was a room with doll houses and castles and little figurines for children to play with, there were art rooms, stocked with all types of art supplies. There were music rooms loaded with instruments and drums, rooms for dance, rooms for physical play, a playscape and a labyrinth. My favorite room was a magical space with beautiful murals and an Avatar-inspired tree with feathery blue-green leaves hanging from it, like a weeping willow. It looked like the type of place where a grieving child could snuggle up and have a good, long cry; a peaceful space to ruminate over memories of lost loved ones. Our JLSA members provide support to the Center in a variety of ways, and the staff expressed such gratitude to the League for our help and support.

So it comes back again to gratitude, to giving thanks. I'm thankful that our city is home to the Children's Bereavement Center, where the single goal is to provide healing for our community's grieving children. I'm thankful for the volunteers who share their time and talents to provide Thanksgiving dinner to our elderly and less fortunate citizens. I'm thankful that our Junior League and its members contribute to the success of these two very different,  but very important, nonprofit organizations, that provide help, love and support to an entire spectrum of people living in and around San Antonio.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. 

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