Southern Indiana non-profits host a Christmas Party to help kids in need with trauma
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Two non-profit organizations were working to brighten the Christmas spirit this year and hosted a party and gift giveaway for kids in Southern Indiana.
For kids, there’s nothing like new toys, fresh bikes, and seeing Santa and his helpers.
But the process for both Bobby’s Bikes and the Savannah Smiles Foundation to be able to host a party like this wasn’t a walk in the park.
“Well we lost our brother Bob to COVID in April of 2020 and Bobby was intellectual disabled. He was also the biggest Santa out there,” Bobby’s Bikes Director, Debora McCoskey-Reisert sai.
Bobby couldn’t drive cars, so he stuck to bikes. He also loved to give back.
That’s why his sister, Debora McCoskey-Reisert, decided to start Bobby’s Bikes to honor him and to try to make the grieving process a little easier.
“I was broken after I lost Bobby. I didn’t think I would ever be able to smile again,” McCoskey-Reisert said. “Carrying him with me is the only way I can go forward. So, as long as I’m giving bikes away in his memory it will help me make it another day.”
Her loss led her to the Savannah Smiles Foundation, an organization founded by her childhood friend, Jennifer Arnold-Brazell.
She and her son started their non-profit in honor of her daughter Savannah, who died from addiction and mental illnesses a month before Bobby.
Arnold-Brazell adopted Savannah’s two children and realized there weren’t any resources in Southern Indiana for families battling addiction.
She decided she wanted to be that resource and is now looking to help children impacted by addiction.
“A lot of children who come from families that battle mental health and addiction have really had a rough road,” Savannah Smiles Foundation President, Jennifer Arnold-Brazell said. “Especially those who have lost parents or have been removed from the home. We’ve seen a little bit of every case scenario but these kids come with a lot of trauma, a lot of childhood trauma, so we just try to have fun.”
Arnold-Brazell says she serves almost 80 kids and was able to host about 45 of them on December 17th to enjoy food, games and Christmas gifts.
There efforts were not only able to create a little more holiday cheer, but to help these two women and their families heal from their respective wounds.
“So to be able to form this partnership and utilize Bobby’s memory and Savannah’s by helping these kids and put smiles on their faces just really again gives us purpose to all the struggle and grief that we’ve been through,” Arnold-Brazell said.
Two life-long friends using that grief change the lives of those around them.
Both Arnold-Brazell and McCoskey-Reisert say they run solely off fundraising and donations.
If you’d like to learn how to help, click or tap here for the Savannah Smiles Foundation, and here for Bobby’s Bikes.
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