November 2023

Volunteer News

You protect. You encompass. You embolden. You empower.

Hello Friends,

As the air gets crisper and the lattes get pumpkin-spiced, we're feeling an extra dose of gratitude for each of YOU. It's easy to look straight ahead to the Christmas festivities, but I'd like to spend a moment reflecting on this time of the year when Thanksgiving isn't just a day; it's a feeling of warmth and community spirit.

Not only are we thankful for you, but most importantly, our youth appreciate everything you do to bring joy, fun, compassion, and individual worth to our campus every day!

Still, I know as soon as we finish the Thanksgiving leftovers, we'll be ready to dive into all the fun and excitement of our Wish List program, so all the festive details are below! Together, we'll make this season truly unforgettable for our youth, families, and each other!

I hope to see you soon,

Jessica Marcetti, MA, CVA

Senior Manager, Community Engagement

Wish List 2023

What Kind of Elf Are you?

Every year, our volunteer "elves" generously go above and beyond to provide stocking stuffers, fulfill individual wish lists, and get everything organized, wrapped, and festive in our Vista Boutique. We hope you'll join us this year!

Stocking Elves Needed!

We need more help filling our youths’ stockings with goodies and stocking our boutique for the year ahead. You can help by purchasing items from our stocking stuffer list.

These items can be found at most stores, but if you shop our Amazon and Target wish lists, your gift will be delivered directly to Vista Maria.

A few of our most needed stocking stuffers are:

  • Fun, colorful socks
  • Colorful gel pens
  • Sweatpants, S - XL
  • Braiding hair
  • Jewelry making craft kits
  • Cordless electric shavers

  • Reusable plastic water bottles
  • Cute composition notebooks
  • T-shirts for teen girls, S - XL
  • Family board games
  • Diamond art
  • Twin/Twin XL comforters

Angel Elf

Sponsor the Wish List Program by providing gift cards to stores like Target, Amazon, Old Navy, and Kohls to help us fulfill last-minute wishes. You may also consider donating online to cover the costs of gifts for any youth who come in right before Christmas.

Workshop Elf

Our Vista Maria Boutique and offices become the epicenter of holiday cheer every December! You can help sort and inventory gifts and organize “Santa’s Workshop” right here on Vista Maria’s campus. Volunteer times are typically 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday-Friday.

Shopper Elf

Grant the wishes of an individual child, or several children, by purchasing all four items on their personalized Wish Lists. Shoppers can expect to spend between $200 to $300 on each child’s list. This is a great holiday activity for families or groups to do together!

Lists are available now. Only a few are left, but children sometimes arrive at Vista Maria right before Christmas, and we may need your help to grant their wishes.

Adopt a Wish List

Contact Jessica at to adopt a wish list or Maddie at to volunteer.

Volunteer Spotlight

Lace Up Detroit

At their annual Boots & Bites event, the volunteers from Lace Up Detroit made sure our kids were ready for a slushy Michigan winter! This fantastic group of ladies outfitted every single resident with cozy Bearpaw boots 👢, comfy Crocs, and warm socks 🧦.

Thank you, Lace Up Detroit!

Gift Giving FAQ for Mentors

We have received a lot of questions about bringing gifts for our residents this holiday season, so we're answering some of the most common questions below.

Can I give a Christmas gift to my mentee?

  • Yes. Mentors may give gifts up to a $25 value at Christmas, your mentee's birthday, and their graduation. As always, it is a good idea to double-check with the building staff before you arrive with your gift.

How much am I expected to spend?

  • $0. Mentoring is not about gift giving and this is explained to the youth during their application and matching process.

What are some free or low-cost gift options for my mentee?

  • Do a craft together to make a keepsake your mentee will treasure or gift to someone.
  • Get a nice journal and write about how much you appreciate them, things you like about them, and shared moments and experiences.
  • Share your favorite book or movie.
  • Visit us in The Boutique to get craft supplies or small gifts.

Can I give food as a gift?

  • Please try to avoid it. The clinic team is working hard to reduce instances of diabetes and obesity.

What is the maximum I can spend on a gift?

  • $25. If you choose to buy a gift, the retail value may not exceed $25. (Even if you find an iPad for $25 on eBay, please refrain from giving big-ticket items like this.)

Can I bring a gift for every resident in the building?

  • Yes. Please talk to Maddie or the building staff to confirm any restricted items.

Can I give the gift directly to my mentee? Or do I have to give it to staff first?

  • Yes, you can give your gift directly to your mentee during your visit as long as the contents have been checked or approved.

I signed up to adopt a Wish List. Can I adopt my mentee's list?

  • Sorry, no. To keep the Wish List program anonymous and fair, the lists are assigned randomly. You can request a wish list from a specific building, and we will do our best!

If you have questions about giving gifts to your mentee, please get in touch with Maddie at, or reach out to the building staff, or your mentee's therapist directly.

Giving Tuesday

Double your Impact!

Want to double your donation and increase your impact?

This Giving Tuesday – happening November 28 – all gifts will be matched by our board members, up to $26,000!

Click the link below to see how you can support Vista Maria.

Double Your Impact on November 28

Photo Album

Volunteer Appreciation Brunch

In September, we celebrated our dedicated volunteers with brunch, gifts, games, and a chance to let us serve THEM for once! It was such a fun morning and just a small gesture to thank these generous folks who give their time, talent, and hearts to further Vista Maria's mission. Thank you!!

Self-Care Corner

Grateful people are happy people, research shows. But how grateful are you?

To find out—and discover steps for promoting even more gratitude in your life—take this quiz, based on a scale developed by psychologists Mitchel Adler and Nancy Fagley.

Take the Gratitude Quiz

Wear Your Fearless Heart on Your Sleeve

There are some new designs, colors, and styles in our Bonfire store! Be sure to check it out and stock up for fall. We've tried to keep the prices low and any profit from the sales comes right back to Vista Maria, so you can look good and DO good at the same time!

Stay in Touch!

Jessica Marcetti

Sr. Manager, Community Engagement

Maddie Phillips

Mentor & Volunteer Coordinator

313-271-3050, ext.221

Connie Farlow

Donor Engagement Coordinator

313-271-3050, ext.400

Becky Hermann

DREAM Program Manager


Janet Jones

Values Educator / Heartmovers Coordinator

313-271-3050, ext.123

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