Dear Families

We’ve all heard the saying, “Christmas is for Children.” Although the holiday season is meant to inspire joy and goodwill in everyone, maybe we look to children for the innate magic and hope in their hearts not just during the holidays, but all year through. At Families First, we remind ourselves to Begin With Children in everything we do. They are at the heart of our mission. Like beautiful, hopeful Bella.


At just 3 years old, Bella had known hardship every day of her little life. Poverty, homelessness, and violence toward her mother, Maria, was her familiar world. Maria escaped, determined to make a better life for Bella. Maria’s attempts to find safe shelter and stability, however, were often as traumatizing as what they’d left behind.

Then everything changed. They found Families First. Bella and Maria were given the support and tools to steadily turn life around. Bella bloomed at home and preschool, and the crippling fear and depression that plagued Maria began to dissipate. But one day Bella stopped responding to her mother’s voice.

Maria felt helpless once more as Bella began to withdraw. A Families First therapist knew exactly how to help, arranging a full hearing and educational evaluation that allowed her speech therapy, sign language courses, and hearing aids. Insurance arranged through the healthcare district gave Bella medical services from specialists at no cost.

“ I was scared inside, but just kept hoping to see my Mama smile again. And now she does. Every day.”

Maria simply says, “Families First saved our lives.”


For every story like Bella’s, there are hundreds more we could tell. Changing lives like Bella’s happens because of you. It’s hard to say this, but most years we only see $2,000 for children at Christmas. Please help us raise $5,000 or more before the end of 2023! Every dollar goes into Families First’s child-centered services. We are so grateful for you. Please give with the enclosed envelope or online at

Wishing you Hope, Peace, and Goodwill Always,

Julie Swindler, LCSW

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