The Christmas season can be a difficult time for individuals especially following the loss of a loved one. This year, the Atlanta-based nonprofit organization, The Let Your Voice Be Heard Foundation, Inc, set out to make a difference by sponsoring a family affected by sexual abuse. The organization's founder, Kenni York, thought it a non-brainer when she came across the nomination of the Payne Family.
The Paynes' three grandchildren, two boys and a girl, have had a difficult childhood. In December of 2012 their mother was killed by their father leaving them seemingly parent-less. Sadly, before their mother's death the father would often sell the young girl in exchange for drugs. The children's maternal grandparents, the Paynes, have since taken in all three children, doing their best to care for them and strengthen them despite the loss of their mother.
"The story was heartbreaking," says York. "The loss of their mother just before the holidays...I know that this season can't be easy for them."
The organization's initial plan was to provide the children with presents and the grandparents with resources to help them in their efforts to heal their family from the pain sexual abuse and loss has left them with. But, during discussions with Mrs. Payne, the advocates learned of the family's wish to some day go on a family vacation.
"Why not do it all?" inquired DJ Sed "The Saint" Joseph, Programming Coordinator for The Let Your Voice Be Heard Foundation, Inc. "It seemed like a long shot, but why not shoot for the moon? Why not give them the basics of gifts and resources but also attempt to grant their one and only wish?"
For nearly a month the organization diligently pooled together their resources including creating a GoFundMe account soliciting donations in an effort to fund a vacation for the Paynes. Through generous offerings, including the donation of a timeshare in Florida, the nonprofit was able to turn what was once a dream into a reality.
On Saturday, December 2, 2017 the board members of The Let Your Voice Be Heard Foundation showed up at the Paynes' bearing gifts of all kinds and enough food for a hearty Christmas feast. But what was most touching to the family was the document nestled in a shiny red box that advised them of their resort stay at The Fountains in Orlando, Florida this summer.
"Oh my God!" Mrs. Payne screamed in astonishment upon receiving the packet and the financial gift for travel expenses. "Praise God! I will finally see a real beach! You are such a blessing!"
The Let Your Voice Be Heard Foundation, Inc is dedicated to providing resources and support to sexual abuse survivors and raising awareness of sexual abuse throughout the Atlanta Area. This was the organization's first year sponsoring a family for the holidays, but the founder promises that it won't be the last.
"This is only the beginning," says York. "Our goal is to do all we can whenever we can so that survivors are continuously lifted and encouraged."
If you're interested in assisting the organization, please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.