Editor's note: Light One Candle is an annual series sponsored by the Mail Tribune that focuses on an individual, group or agency that could use a helping hand during the holiday season. Once that need is filled, donations may be distributed to others in need.
This 27-year-old woman wants little else but happiness for her two young sons, who were sexually assaulted this past year by a trusted caregiver.
Already on a tight budget, the single mom spends extra money on gas to drive her boys — ages 5 and 6 — from their Ashland home to the Children's Advocacy Center in Medford for free counseling four times per week. A gas card would help her afford all the trips to Medford, which are expected to continue for some time.
The perpetrator's trial — a constant stress for the family — is scheduled for spring.
Playing together is one way the boys — just 10 months apart — can be simply kids again after the ordeal of police interviews and forensic exams. Since they came forward immediately after the crime, the police investigation identified another victim in a state where the perpetrator previously lived, said Susan Moen, executive director of the Jackson County Sexual Assault Response Team.
The two boys love advanced Lego sets and "Iron Man" toys, as well as arts and crafts. A gift card to a toy store or big-box store would be ideal, said Moen, while gift cards for clothing (sizes 6 and 7) also would help the family budget.
Buying the boys a bunk bed is their mother's big dream. It would give them space to play in the single, small bedroom they share, as well as a little more privacy when they sleep. Plus, she said, every kid loves a bunk bed.
Moen lauds the mother for seeking every opportunity to help her children. When they were toddlers, she took parenting classes at the Family Nurturing Center in Medford, enrolled them and herself in Jackson County's Parent-Child Interaction Therapy program and received scholarships for their after-school activities at Ashland Family YMCA.
"What a great mom she is," said Moen. "So many times we don't have appropriate parents."
The woman didn't ask for anything for herself, despite her birthday falling on Christmas, said Moen. If you would like to help restore some of her comfort and joy, please contact Moen at 541-840-0904.
Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 541-776-4487 or email@example.com.