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More than one hundred children in Schenectady have had holiday wishes fulfilled thanks to the New York State Police Forensic Lab.
A social media post from the NYSP reads as follows:
"It's the season of giving!
The NYSP Forensic Laboratory System, with the help of some family and friends, filled the holiday Wish Tags of 115 children through Things of My Very Own, in Schenectady. The staff collected basic items like clothing, bedding and hygiene items, and filled holiday wishes for toys, games, even a few bikes."
Comments from the public ranged from "(There) is a Santa Claus. Magical" to "Major Hat Tip!!!"
The holiday wishes of 115 children were fulfilled with the gifts through a program run by the non-profit Things of My Very Own. The group was founded in 2008 by Rayn Boncie and currently serves eleven counties in New York's Capital Region.
Boncie, who serves also as Vice President of the group, has earned numerous awards for her work including The President's Lifetime Achievement Award, which she received from President Barack Obama in 2010.
The self-described survivor founded the group to help children who are "impacted by extensive abuse and/or neglect" and those at risk of intervention from Child Protective Services with the goal of keeping children together with non-abusive family members and out of the foster care system when possible.
Children of all ages are helped through Things of Their Very Own, and some of the holiday wish tags are truly heartbreaking requests. In one posting from 2018 shown of the group's website a 16-year-old boy explains that his dad left and he needs to help support his mom. His wishes included sneakers and clothes so that he could get a job.
When children are moved out of an abusive situation, or thrust into a very vulnerable one, the move is often sudden and without warning. Without time to pack, many children are forced to leave many of their sentimental possessions and other items behind, creating a loss of comfort in an already uncomfortable and scary situation.
With the help of donations through others, like the New York State Police Forensic Laboratory System and their connections, a small but significant portion of that discomfort is alleviated.
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