The Presents Program is designed to assist mothers and their children who are entering domestic violence shelters. By providing “presents” consisting of both necessary and specialty items for the children, we can alleviate some of the initial stress of entering a shelter while also bringing some measure of joy during this time of acute crisis. PRESENT NOW works with two types of domestic violence programs: short-term crisis intervention shelters and long-term transitional shelters. Short-term crisis intervention shelters provide a safe place for battered women and their children to develop a long term plan to begin rebuilding their lives. Women who enter crisis programs are often moved with their children into long-term transitional shelters, where they receive confidential care, housing resources, job counseling, legal and medical referrals, on-site schooling for K - 12 children and individual and family therapy. These families typically will stay between one year and 18 months. All women and children entering a domestic violence shelter of any kind leave their homes with no possessions. This is the driving force behind the creation of the PRESENT NOW Presents Program. The program consists of three presents given to children throughout their stay at a long-term transitional shelter, and in some cases short-term crisis intervention shelters.
PRESENCE OF MIND
The Presence of Mind Box is given to each child in August. Inside this box will be a new backpack filled with school supplies suited to the child’s age and grade level. For school-aged children, backpacks will include (but not be limited to) pencils, erasers, crayons, markers, glue sticks, highlighters, scissors, folders, notebooks and lined paper.
PRESENCE OF LOVE BOX
The Presence of Love Box is delivered to each child on Valentine's Day. Enclosed will be an age appropriate digital toy and/or learning device. For example, Leapfrog, Kindle and Apple products.
PRESENCE OF BEING BOX
The Presence of Being Box is presented to each child on their birthday. Based on the individual shelter’s wishes, the box will contain ingredients for a homemade cake to be prepared by the family. Each box will also include a restaurant gift card for the family to enjoy a birthday dinner out on the town. Together with the shelter staff and the mothers, we will also surprise each child with a birthday gift inside the box which includes a new toy, a new outfit and a book. With all three of these boxes, our goal is to create hope and some measure of comfort all year long for the child. It is also our intention that when these families transition out of shelter living into their new homes, they are able to bring all of these presents with them to begin their new lives.