Community Connections Newsletter December 2020
"I had a lot of fun making my gingerbread house. I think it looks cool! I hope Santa gets to read my letter. I have been a good boy this year, and I hope I get some toys. Merry Christmas!"

--- Ayden, After School Achievement Program participant
12 Days of Christmas

Participants in the After School Achievement Program enjoyed the "12 Days of Christmas" by completing activities that included tasks like: writing a letter to Santa, helping their parents at home, and building a gingerbread house. Children received a special Christmas treat at the end of the 12th day for participating.
The Magic of Christmas for Homeless Families

The Magic of Christmas for Homeless Families

Families residing at Dumas Wesley Community Center's Transitional Housing program, Sybil Smith Family Village, enjoyed the holidays thanks to the generosity of community supporters.

  • Austal USA, members of Coast Guard - Mobile, Queens with Dreams and board members Betty Fain and Dee Dee McCarron adopted a dozen families in shelter and granted Christmas Christmas wishes for 33 residents.
  • Moms residing at the Village received special holiday gifts bags from Career Women of Mobile.
  • JM Family Enterprises and Alabama Power Service Organization – Mobile donated more than $4,000 in new apartment supplies.
  • Families captured Christmas memories thanks to volunteer, Tonya Murph, who photographed each family and presented them with a photo keepsake.
  • Makeda Nichols, owner of State Farm Insurance, made a donation in support of area youth, making this a Christmas to remember!

"During the holidays, we often take for granted how important it is to have a safe place in which to celebrate. Our homes are a space to spend quality time with loved ones, host gatherings, get in the spirit by decorating, and just enjoy. But that isn’t the case for many families who are struggling to make ends meet. We were excited to come together to purchase bedding, towels, kitchenware, and more for Sybil Smith Family Village, so that each apartment feels a little bit like home while families focus on what's most important-getting back on their feet. We are proud to support Dumas Wesley's efforts in strengthening our community!"

--- Kimberly Agnello, Manager, Volunteer Engagement & Community Outreach at JM Family Enterprises, Inc.
Tis the Season

Participants in the Senior Activities for Independent Living (SAIL) program received some much-needed Christmas cheer while social distancing at home. 

  • Seniors received two hot meals in conjunction with The Simple Greek Mobile's "Bowls of Hope Plating Change Program. The Mobile franchise will be delivering two additional meals to seniors in January.
  • Dee Dee McCarron and friends donated 80 Christmas bags filled with essentials like toilet tissue, cleaning products and socks for area seniors.
  • UMS-Wright fourth grade students donated Christmas goodie bags filled with fun activities like crossword puzzles and coloring books. UMS-Wright elementary students made Christmas cards for seniors.
  • The Joseph Project Food Pantry donated additional bags of supplemental food including fresh bread and produce.

"The Simple Greek through Plating Change is giving an opportunity to provide people in need with a meal through organizations like Dumas Wesley. Providing meals to the SAIL program means the world to us at The Simple Greek. Providing hot, nutritious meals to the elderly in our community is such a blessing. Knowing that we helped brighten someone’s day through our Plating Change initiative drives us to want to do more! To give back and help one another in our community, is a huge blessing. We are thankful to help our neighbors, Dumas Wesley, in their ministry."

-- Angela Prine, Franchise Owner, The Simple Greek Mobile
“Please give my thanks to everyone who donated all the toys and bikes! I live in Crichton and I am a single mother. I would not be able to afford Christmas for my babies without this opportunity to shop. It makes me feel good as a mother to be able to buy all my own gifts for my kids. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

-- Jacqueline, Toy Store participant
Providing Christmas Cheer during the COVID-19 Pandemic

On December 12, 2020, The Dumas Wesley Community Center spread Christmas cheer to low-income families who had been invited to participate in Dumas Wesley’s Annual Toy Store. 

The event supported 99 children residing in the local Crichton and Toulminville neighborhoods and Sybil Smith Family Village, Dumas Wesley’s transitional housing program. Dumas Wesley partnered with local merchants, churches and individuals who supported the Toy Store’s concept of giving a hand-up instead of a hand-out. New donations of toys and bikes were reduced in price to a fraction of their retail value, making it affordable for parents to purchase toys for their children. Proceeds from the event support Dumas Wesley's Neighborhood Outreach and After School Achievement Programs.
A New Home for Christmas

"Two years ago, my kids and I were homeless. I was lost, broken and felt all alone. When my mom and grandma passed away, I was very depressed. They were my support system and were always worried about me and the kids. When I came to Sybil Smith Family Village, I was closed off, I had a hard time accepting what I needed to change as a person and as a mother. It was hard to hear constructive criticism from others but I knew in order to make a change within myself, I had to be real about what wasn’t working in my life. 

The life lessons I learned while at Sybil Smith changed my life. I learned how to open up and express my feelings, and how to build healthy relationships, which helped me with my depression. From the life skills classes they offered, to the pride I felt when I found a job, and all the fun activities we experienced as a family, I couldn’t have asked for a better blessing- this program!

I am so proud of the person I am today. My family and I moved into our own apartment, just in time for Christmas. I am ready to once again be on my own, because I’m a better me-that’s all I’ve ever wanted! To be a confident, strong, independent and dependable mom! My oldest daughter told me, ‘Grandma would be so proud of you.' Being here at Sybil Smith makes me feel good because we’re all happy!’ it made my heart full. Thank you Sybil Smith Family Village!” 

--- Dierra Thomas, Sybil Smith Family Village graduate