The JOY of IN-PERSON Holiday Parties for Our Youth

As we prepare to host holiday gatherings for both Thanksgiving and December festivities, we’re thrilled to share that we can celebrate together in person with our youth this year! We are also reflecting on how grateful we are to have a community of caring supporters like you who help make this all possible. Here’s a glimpse of what’s in store for our young people this holiday season, and how you can help.

TAY Space hosted a Thanksgiving meal on November 16 for youth, families and friends in its new community center in San Rafael. “We are absolutely loving our new space, and are excited to host holiday gatherings here!” says program director Laura Taylor. “This is the first time in over two years that we’ve been able to have a party with food. It feels really special to be able to gather together around a meal.”

TAY Space is thrilled to share that its annual holiday “store” will take place December 6-9 at the community center at 801 Fifth Avenue in San Rafael. Youth from all over Marin can shop for free at this popular annual pop-up store. From candles and clothing to baby accessories and countless small gifts, there is something for everyone. “We also dance, play fun games such as holiday musical chairs, and teach youth how to wrap gifts.” To donate gently used or new items for the store, contact Laura at

In December, TAY Space staff will deliver the wonderful holiday gifts provided by community partners such as Marin Country Mart and Book Passage. “The transitional age youth served by this program are often struggling with mental health challenges and poverty, and the holidays can be a difficult time for them,” says Clinical Supervisor and Case Manager Erica Antonio. “We are grateful that we can offer each youth the special holiday excitement that comes from opening a gift purchased just for them.”

The Irene M. Hunt School is preparing to host its annual Thanksgiving Stone Soup luncheon this afternoon (November 18). Based on the wonderful book by the same name, students are asked to bring ingredients to this interactive event. “We also have a giant stone that we show them, and then we make the soup out of the ingredients they bring,” says school director Jolene Yee. Cornbread with homemade honey butter, and dessert graciously donated by SBS’s Glenwood Guild completes the meal. This year’s theme is Friendsgiving, and all present will share a gratitude, an art creation or a short skit.

In December, students will enjoy the Hunt School Winter Holiday celebration on Friday, December 16. With festive food, dessert again provided by the Glenwood Guild, and music and games, it’s a fun-filled celebration for all. Gift opening begins with a Secret Snowman gift exchange, where older students are paired with younger to create community across the grade levels. “Students shop at Hunt School’s student store for cost-free shopping,” says Yee. After the Secret Snowman gifts are exchanged, holiday gifts provided by Mill Valley Middle School and Book Passage are distributed and opened. “This is a special time each year where we are able to ensure that those who don’t have much to celebrate have a lovely gift bought just for them. Mill Valley Middle School is so conscientious to honor exactly what is desired by each student! New staff are always in awe of how generous and thoughtful the donated gifts are.”

On December 20, Real Alternatives youth will host a cozy holiday event where all will gather to watch a holiday movie, enjoy snacks and treats, play games, and receive their holiday gifts generously supplied by our amazing community partners and caring individuals who wish to provide a bit of holiday cheer to those less fortunate. “Last year, youth just took the meals to go, so we are so happy we can gather together in person this year!” Click here to support the Real Alternatives holiday wishlist and party.

Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to our community partners and to generous people like you who bring the spirit of the holidays to over 300 youth each year! Click here for details on how to fulfill wishes for youth in all our programs this holiday season.

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