Let’s start 2017, with a good-news story.
In mid-December I stopped by Greater Lakes Mental Health Care located at 9330 – 59th Av SW, Lakewood, WA 98499. T: 253-581-7020. I had received a good news story tip from Marguerite Richmond, Development Director for Greater Lakes.
Greater Lakes is one of Lakewood’s greatest assets. Follow my story and you will discover why I think so.
Marguerite told me about a kind act performed by one of Greater Lakes’ staff members, James Saupan. James works the front desk as an appointment scheduler. He sees each of the 200 children/clients that visit Greater Lakes each month when they contact him at the front desk.
James could not help but notice many of the children walking in for their appointments were inadequately dressed for the cold, harsh winter weather.
When James saw the cold kids, it really bothered him. His warm heart took over and his first idea was to sponsor a clothing drive.
James grew up in Hawaii as one of five boys. Like many of his clients, James’ family did not have a lot of money when he was a kid. His mother sewed most of the family clothing. James learned to sew from his mom, and to this day he loves to sew.
Then it hit him, He could sew winter scarfs for the kids. James made 132 scarfs. He accomplished his sewing projects on his own time after work and on the weekends. On his day off which happened to be Black Friday, he fought the crowd to buy more material for scarf making.
Because James is an inspirational guy, he got others involved in his Cold Kids – Warm Hearts project including Kathy Sweeney and Joan Eisenhardt. I wrote about Kathy and Joan’s previous good work in my article titled Westside Story – Christmas Angels.
Cold Kids – Warm Hearts was an “inside job”. James and many of the Greater Lakes staff members chipped in their own money to bring the full program together. No support funds came from any other source including our taxes. There were some school supplies and toys donated to the project to make it that much better.
About 2,500 children a year visit James at his front desk. Many of these kids suffer from significant mental health issues, often related to experiencing personal trauma. Most live in poverty.
On December 16, 2016, after all the clothes, school supplies and toys were displayed in the Community Room, the Greater Lakes clinicians and therapists, who know each of the kids in their case-load well, shopped for what they knew their individual clients needed. Staff then gave the gifts to each child at their next appointment.
Right now it is 29 degrees in Lakewood. I can’t help but be enthused knowing a group of kids is better protected from winter weather because James and his crew saw a need and filled it.
If you would like to help James and his gang accomplish more good work, contact Terri Card – President and Chief Executive Officer of Greater Lakes or use their link DONATE to learn different ways to help and contribute.
James, you and your Greater Lakes Gang are a great bunch of people. Thanks for looking out for the kids.