A Small Step Toward Healing
The young leaders in our Teens on Target program had wanted to do a toy drive for a long time. They thought about it at Christmas time, but figured there were plenty of toy drives going on then. So, they waited until the spring to do theirs.
For kids who could use some fun and some toys, they reached out to Tammy Cloud and Yvette Mora in Youth ALIVE!’s Khadafy Washington Project, which supports grieving families in the immediate aftermath of a homicide in Oakland. Yvette immediately thought of a recent victim who had left behind a large family, young children of his own, young siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, all struggling with the sudden loss.
That’s the way it can be. A killing has many ripples. One homicide can affect entire large families, neighborhoods and communities. Even entire cities. Yvette and Tammy step in to show the shocked families that there is still love in Oakland. They show them what needs to be done and what support exists out there, shuch as the financial compensation available to victims and survivors from the Alameda County DA’s victim/witness program.
“They had no idea about the victims/witness office,” says Yvette. “Or that Tammy or I would be there with them at the funeral home and the funeral.”
When TNT came to them, Yvette thought specifically of the victim’s mom and the huge burden she was carrying. Some new toys might lighten that load just a little. There were seven kids all together, from ages 2 to 12, who could use a little uplift.
Between TNT’s programs at Castlemont High, Life Academy, our friends at Root Academy, some Youth ALIVE! donors and the staff at the Youth ALIVE! office, TNT collected dozens of games, stuffed animals, balls and other fun things. And on the Thursday before Easter, they invited the family to a TNT meeting at Castlemont to meet them and give the kids the toys.
“It would be just a little relief,” says Yvette, “but small things can make a big difference.”
Alex Lim, TNT Coordinator, says the younger kids were particularly excited about the toys. “It’s just one step for all of them,” says Alex, “along a long path to healing.”