FSGC staffer passionate about helping families have a happy holiday

kaleenaFamily Service & Guidance Center accountant Kaleena Harmer is giving Santa Claus a run for his money again this Christmas.

Kaleena took on the role of coordinator of Family Service & Guidance Center’s “Santa’s Little Helpers” adoption program seven years ago. She wanted to help ensure that hard-working, deserving FSGC client families have a nice Christmas.

“I love the joy and magic of the holiday season, and I want all of our clients to be able to experience that,” she explained. “I want them to be able to just be kids and not have adult worries for at least a little while.”

With the help of several FSGC work teams and community partners, Kaleena has pulled together gifts and much more for 50 client families who are struggling to make ends meet.

Kaleena said, “Each family gets a few gifts, everything the need for a nice Christmas dinner, a laundry basket of cleaning supplies and personal care items, like toothpaste and shower gel.”

“Kaleena is the key to those client families having a Christmas this year,” said Pam Evans, FSGC Director of Marketing & Development. “It’s no small task; it’s time-consuming. But she happily coordinates Santa’s Little Helpers on top of her busy everyday workflow. That shows you how important this project is to her.”

Kaleena acknowledges that Santa’s Little Helpers is a lot of work, but that’s a minor consideration compared to what it means to FSGC children and their families.

“The best part is, the look of excitement on kids’ faces when I wheel out a cartful of presents,” she said. “There’s also a feeling of gratitude and relief from the parents, especially when they see the food and cleaning supplies.”

“My favorite memory is about a little boy we delivered a bike to a few years ago,” she recalled. “There was no way to wrap or hide it. He watched as I pulled it out of the car, and once he realized it was for him, his face lit up. He couldn’t take his eyes off of it, he was so happy.”

And that joy is what Santa’s Little Helpers is all about. Heartfelt thanks to Kaleena for her hard work from all of us at FSGC!

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Did you know?

FSGC’s Families Supporting Recovery is a collaboration with the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare. IDDT treats teens with both mental health issues and substance use problems, addressing both at the same time. FSGC is the only mental health provider in the country that provides this innovative treatment.