by Kathy Emig, Director of Wings and Arizona Chapter Coordinator
For many of us, a toy is something we may take for granted if we have lots of them or a treasured memory from our past. To some children, it is their connection to a safe place, a reminder of where they have been and what they have learned. A toy can be a source of comfort during life’s difficult moments.
To some, a toy or a comfort animal is a lifeline of Hope.
I had the opportunity to speak with a woman who had received services through our Childhelp Merv Griffin Village thirty years ago at the age of 7. She reached out to us, so I connected with her and left the conversation with a new appreciation for the lifelong impact we have in the lives of those we serve through our programs, often without even knowing it. She started the conversation with “I am not a success story.”
I listened as she shared the struggles and hardships, and yes, accomplishments (which she did not necessarily see) over her 30 years since leaving the Village. As the conversation was coming to a close, after recognizing her accomplishments, she said, “Do you know what I am holding right now? Do you know what I am looking at?”
Of course, my answer was no.
As she was sharing her life’s story with me, she was holding the comfort animal she received when she arrived at the Village. The toy she looked at as she spoke was given to her at Childhelp Merv Griffin Village as a gift.
She shared her favorite memories of her time spent with us three decades ago. She shared the valuable lessons she learned at the Village and techniques she uses to this day to calm her anxiety. By the end of the conversation, she thanked me for calling her. She was reminded of how resilient she is and of how Childhelp gave her tools to create a life different than she thought possible.
While not perfect, it was better than she had ever imagined possible. It sounded like a success to me.
To this young survivor like so many others, years and decades later the small token of a comfort animal and a toy is a reminder and lifeline of Hope to this day.
If an organization/company is interested in hosting their own toy drive, please contact Childhelp at 480-922-8212. In the Phoenix Metropolitan area please contact Kathy Emig directly at firstname.lastname@example.org