This is the ninth year Maura Howard and her family are sponsoring gifts for a family at The Family Partnership. We asked Maura to share how they connected with our work and why gift giving brings value.
Q – What impact has gift giving to another family had on your children?
It builds empathy and awareness. My kids are now in fifth and ninth grade but when we started 9 years ago, they were like “why is Santa not helping them with gifts?” Now, my kids get more pleasure out of helping other kids. One gift request from a child is for a blanket, not toys with batteries that will end up in a landfill, but imagine a kid needing a blanket to be warm in the winter.
We want our kids to know – part of our family value system is helping others.Maura Howard
Q – How did you become involved with The Family Partnership?
My son worked with a therapist at The Family Partnership when he was younger and we had a great experience. I also served on the Board. I love the work the organization does in mental health and in the preschools for kids to graduate kindergarten-ready.
Q – Your son experienced anxiety that one of our therapists helped with. Can you talk about that?
When my son was in the second grade the school contacted us. He was having issues with anxiety and had chewed all the erasers off the pencils in the classroom. I am not a mom that says I can do it all. I know when to outsource to people smarter than me.
I will never forget his amazing counselor at The Family Partnership – Barbara. She helped him in the second and fourth grades and we did some family therapy as well to support him as a team.
It was life changing for him.
I felt weird about taking up resources for my child, as an upper middle class white family. But, The Family Partnership assured me at the time it would not take away resources from other families.
Q – How has the therapy training continued to make a difference for your son?
The coping skills he learned have helped him navigate COVID and starting a new high school. He is the classic oldest child putting pressure on himself. Recently he used the breathing techniques he learned in therapy to calm himself down when there was a misunderstanding about a deadline for a school assignment.
I believe that if you can learn to downhill ski as a kid, you can use that muscle memory the rest of your life.
Maura Howard is Senior Business Development Director at Salo, a talent staffing and recruiting firm.