She stressed about the perfect Christmas gifts. Then this happened…

The following account was written by Brandy Gustoff, the former Program Manager of Transition Services at Omaha Home for Boys, on December 22, 2016:

I stress myself out every year at Christmas time. Not because of the baking, preparing for company, decorating or the lack of time to get it all done, but because I want to find the perfect Christmas gifts for my residents at Jacobs’ Place, Omaha Home for Boys’ Transitional Living Program. I stress about making sure everyone has the same amount of gifts to open and the same amount of money is spent on each resident. I want to really make sure Christmas is special for my young people.

Why do I do this you ask? Why do I get stressed about the perfect gifts year after year? Because today when we celebrated Christmas with 15 young adults living at Jacobs’ Place this is what I heard:

“I want to cry. I’ve never got this many presents before!” declared one young woman.

I said to one of the girls, “Honey, you can rip them open.” She replied, “No, I want to savor the moment. I’ve never had a Christmas like this before and I want to remember it forever.”

“This feels like silk,” one teen said in reference to a fleece blanket.

“I really need this,” one young man said in reference to two pairs of Levi’s.

One excitedly professed, “This is what I wanted the most!” in reference to a set of professional chef knives.

“Thank you so much! This was the best thing ever!” I heard another say.

“I can’t believe you guys did all of this for us,” was a common remark from several residents.

Throughout the celebration, we received many hugs and thanks. These young people showed a tremendous amount of gratitude to us and our community partners who donated.

This is why I stress every year. I stress in order to bring the memories of Christmas to a young person who’s never celebrated before. I stress to bring tears of joy and feelings of excitement to young adults who deserve a wonderful Christmas. I stress to make these young folks feel special and loved.

My heart is so full and I have had many tears all day. God has blessed me to get to do what I do!

May you find joy this Christmas season!


Help Bring Holiday Joy to Our Youth

With your help, we can create a special holiday season for all of the youth at Omaha Home for Boys. Your donation today can help purchase a gift from our Holiday Wish List for a young man or woman at the Home who may otherwise go empty handed on Christmas. Our Holiday Wish List includes:

  • Gift cards for food and other essentials
  • Winter coats
  • Men’s and women’s socks
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Books