Yep, they said it… Elves.
It is hard to believe, in a climate like San Diego, that the holidays are nearing, especially when beachgoers are still enjoying warm beautiful days. But at Home of Guiding Hands (HGH), they begin their preparations early… in July as a matter of fact.

You see, they have a tradition they hold near and dear to their hearts, the holiday festivities for their residents. These are individuals with developmental disabilities that range in age from 9 to 85 years old and live on very little means. Many of the residents are without families or do not have family members nearby.
Each year, HGH bands together with families, friends and businesses to provide a joyous and memorable holiday for the clients living in their 31 community-based homes. It is the charitable giving that makes the holidays special for these individuals.

The parties are hosted at the HGH Verbeck Resource Center and at the individual homes. Many of their clients love to socialize and visit with friends which makes the joint parties that much more fun. Every party receives a special visit from Santa who enters the room with jingle bells ringing and a bag of toys to be passed out to all of residents. The smiles on the client’s faces when he enters the room is priceless!
Karen could not wait to have her photo taken with Santa, although she did ask where Mrs. Clause was. Bob was especially touched that Santa came to his party – he immediately gave him a big hug. Jake dressed in his best holiday fashion in anticipation of the evening’s festivities. He and so many of the clients love unwrapping the presents that Santa brings.

This is all made possible by the generosity of “Elves.” Home of Guiding Hands would like your help with shopping for gifts, preparing a holiday meal, or simply making a donation and letting their staff handle the rest. And, you are invited to join in on the celebrations. If you would like to be an “Elf,” contact Jessica Brandon, Special Events Manager, at (619) 938-2854.

Home of Guiding Hands is located on Friendship Drive in El Cajon. They serve more than 3,800 people with developmental and intellectual disabilities to include Down syndrome, autism, epilepsy and cerebral palsy throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties.

For 52 years, they have provided a continuum of care starting at birth through the end stages of life. They offer customized individual care based on the strengths and abilities of each person. The defining philosophy that drives their organization is that all individuals deserve access to services that enable them to achieve optimal success in life. Respect and dignity guide their programming, encouraging individuals to dream and pursue fulfillment.
In addition to the residential services, HGH provides adult foster services, early childhood education, early start therapies, independent living, counseling, infant development assessments, tailored day services, transportation, and life planning. To learn more about HGH, visit their website at www.guidinghands.org.